The Upheavals in Egypt and Tunisia: Ben Ali’s Fall

Issue Date July 2011
Volume 22
Issue 3
Page Numbers 5-19
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Tunisia’s Jasmine revolution took academics and policymakers by surprise. In hindsight, declining socioeconomic conditions, intensifying authoritarianism of the ruling regime, and public dissatisfaction with the growing corruption of the president’s extended family suggested that the country was ripe for revolution. Other factors contributing to revolutionary change included the literal and figurative spark of Mohamed Bouazizi’s self-immolation; the regime’s decision to employ deadly force against protestors; the widespread use of cellphones and social media, most notably Facebook; the role of youth and other civil society groups; and the military’s pivotal decision to side with the protestors. International actors, especially the United States, played a facilitating role.