Tunisia – War of the Paradigms

A new piece of information has arrived that allows a more detailed military analysis:


General Rachid Ammar has been speaking his mind and from that we can see how the weapons systems are being aligned.

With reference to previous documents – war is a science and is won by weapons systems. At some level Ammar has control of all of Tunisia's important weapons systems so you have to watch him extremely carefully.

First of all the background. The street riots in the previous weeks led to fatal event. Ben Ali – who nominally had control of all of Tunisia's weapons systems – ordered the deployment of some of them – and unfortunately for him, Ammar was honorable enough to refuse part of the order. This was a fundamental mistake by Ben Ali. Rule number 1 of Dictatorship 101 is that you ensure that everyone is sufficiently scared that they would never do something like that. Saddam had properly organized his dictatorship. Refusing to obey an order will lead to your wife being raped by the state. If that isn't enough to keep people in line, then there's plenty more where that comes from. It is for this reason I have written that it would be good if you could forgive your enemy – they were in a tough situation too.

You could argue that Ammar shouldn't have taken the job – since it involved supporting a cruel dictator. The trouble with that is that it won't actually achieve anything for anyone. He'll just be replaced with someone worse. Gorbachev and Yeltsin similarly worked their way through the system as communists only to crush it from within. We can be thankful that Ammar took the job because at a crucial point in world history, he literally changed the world.

However, Ben Ali wasn't born yesterday and had loyal forces at hand to go and arrest him, which they did. I don't have the details yet, but that arrest probably triggered soldiers who were personally loyal to Ammar (rather than the state) to effectively change sides and support what was now effectively a military coup by Ammar.

At that point in Tunisia's “civil war”, Ammar no longer reported to anyone. He was effectively the new head of state. Different people are motivated by different things. Ammar could have spun some line of bullshit and remained military dictator of Tunisia. However, he didn't do that. As far as I can tell, his loyalty is to the Tunisian constitution. It was never to Ben Ali.

Different people operate according to different paradigms. A child can clearly see that the sun revolves around the earth. Only later a far more complicated scenario is explained that causes a paradigm change.

Ammar's paradigm doesn't seem to have any problem with a constitution that allows 23 years of cruel dictatorship. It was only Ben Ali going too far by trying to slaughter citizens that he objected to. If he had been given a lesser order of “restore order by whatever means necessary” he probably would have deployed the troops (in fact, that's exactly what he agreed to) and they would have taken any shooting-civilians initiative themselves. In Ammar's paradigm (and that prick Sarkovy of France for that matter), order is paramount. Not human freedom. Order. Chaotic scenes are not good. Things need to be worked out via the constitution like happens in all other countries.

I operate from a different paradigm, as do the people on the streets every day. That paradigm is that I wouldn't even wipe my arse with a constitution that allows 23 years of cruel dictatorship.

As an aside, I wouldn't wipe my arse with the UN Charter either, and the whole concept of “international law” (a law that allows Ben Ali to murder and still have an equal voice at the UN instead of being arrested as – you know – a friggin murderer!!!) is to me a cruel joke. But half of my countrymen (I'm Australian) treat the UN very seriously indeed and have a deference to the UN to authorize force as if it is some sort of moral authority. We both have trouble understanding how the other can possibly live under their paradigm. A bit like a child being incredulous that anyone would dispute that the sun went around the earth.

So at some level you had a 3-way civil war in Tunisia:

1. Ben Ali loyalists

2. Constitution loyalists

3. Freedom loyalists

Number 1 was quickly taken care of by number 2. So those arrests and serious battles between security forces you've been hearing about are that 1 vs 2 clash, and 2 easily won since the military is far more powerful than internal security forces once the military is united behind a particular leader (Ammar).

Let's take a diversionary look within America. I remember Rosie O'Donnell appearing on her show “The View” saying “what does it take to get impeached in this country?” with regards to Bush. Ie she genuinely thinks that Bush is some sort of criminal. There are people on the other side who think that she is bordering on “enemy combatant” herself. What we have here are (near-violent) paradigm clashes. They are not unique to Tunisia by any stretch of the imagination.

A. To someone like Ammar, the whole idea of street protesters using some sort of intimidation to get members of the government sacked (completely unconstitutionally) is close to terrorism – and we should not surrender to terrorism.

B. To someone like me, those street protesters are the most beautiful people in the entire world and the streets will not be surrendered until precious freedom is secure and anyone who opposes the forces of freedom is complete scum (“get out RCD scum”).

You can see from inane utterings from western politicians appealing for calm that they are either in category A or neutral.

I don't have polling figures but I would guess that the world (individuals) are split 50/50 into category A and category B.

Ammar considers himself to be a guarantor of Tunisia's freedom. The people on the street know the history of the Middle East (and indeed everywhere else until relatively recently) that these things normally result in one dictator replacing another dictator. The RCD stacking the government with their own is a “clear” sign that this is not going to end well, and so the protesters stay in the street as if their lives quite literally depended on it.

Now let me do a quick fisking of Ammar's words, so that we can see the paradigm clash in action. I normally use hyperbole in my debates, so please allow for that:

“TUNIS: Tunisia's army chief on Monday warned that a "power vacuum" in the country could lead to dictatorship”

Look around YOU IDIOT. You ALREADY have a friggin dictatorship. Nobody elected that doofus you have as PM. His hands are stained with the blood of Tunisians and he must stand trial for his crimes and be executed. And you should be too if you support this prick!

“as the government prepared a major cabinet reshuffle”

Reshuffle? Yeah, we know how that's going to go. Switching around RCD members doesn't fool anyone. Please stop treating us as fools. We know you are trying to monopolize power and have no intention of holding elections. We're going to get another 23 years of dictatorship unless we make a stand against you and your lies.

“after thousands rallied in the capital.”

Freedom fighters. Truly beautiful and brave patriotic Tunisians. You RCD pricks are like flies on a piece of shit compared to them.

"Our revolution, your revolution, the revolution of the young, risks being lost ...”

It hasn't even been won yet, as you well know, you scurrilous prick. You are trying to prevent us from gaining freedom so that you can monopolize power. Perhaps you can explain why for the last 8 years you have been serving Ben Ali – assisting him in oppressing the Tunisian people - instead of slitting his throat when you had a chance. Dishonest scumbag. Multiple people in the German army made an attempt to assassinate Hitler. You didn't even make one attempt you coward. We're the brave ones standing up for freedom the way you never did.

“There are forces that are calling for a void, a power vacuum.”

That's a complete lie as you well know. Can you name ONE person who wants a power vacuum? Nevermind 1%. I dare you to go and ask a random sample of the protesters whether they would prefer a government of technocrats or anarchy. You dishonest toe-rag. Go ahead. I don't need to jury-rig this. I know exactly what is in the hearts of my comrades who are facing down the automatic weapons you and your goons are using against us.

“The void brings terror, which brings dictatorship,"

False and dishonest premise that we want a void.

“the popular general said the army would act as a "guarantor" for the revolution”

That would be fantastic if true. Have you started getting the security forces to swear allegiance to the people instead of the regime? If so, I can't say I've really seen any evidence of that. Perhaps the FUCKING TEARGAS in my eyes is obscuring my vision or something?

Another FUCKING OBVIOUS thing to do to guarantee freedom is to ensure that there are ZERO FUCKING RCD members in the government. As opposed to – EVERY SINGLE ONE other than the FUCKING YOUTH SPORTS MINISTER.

“that ousted president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and would also respect the constitution.”

Respect the piece of shit paper that has oppressed us for 23 fucking years. Tell me this is a really really sick joke. You know, like the most sophisticated black humour EVER.

“He appealed to protesters to let "this government or another one" work.”

That's exactly what we FUCKING WANT you MORON. Read my fucking lips - “ANOTHER ONE”. One that isn't laced with the same sad fucks that have oppressed us for – I don't know – 23 FUCKING YEARS OF MISERY.

“Ammar is hugely popular in Tunisia”

He hasn't yet ordered the troops to “restore calm” though. And he's still letting the police do his dirty work anyway.

“as the opposition says he was sacked by Ben Ali in the final days of the regime for refusing to shoot on protesters and is rumoured to have then played a crucial role in pushing out Ben Ali.”

So why stop at one fucking RCD member then? These people were worse than the fucking Nazis.

“He has since apparently been reinstated by the new interim leadership.”

Ah yes, the “old boy's club”. If only we had our share of the armed forces we'd ram a bayonet into your cold dead heart.

“Education Minister Taieb Baccouch, a government spokesman”

Seems to be a typo there. “Oppressive goon number 7 ...”. There. Fixed it for you.

“told AFP that a cabinet reshuffle involving at least six ministerial posts was currently under discussion and could be announced later on Monday or on Tuesday.”

Hey – what happened to that running joke about “experienced politicians” that the country couldn't survive 6 months without? You mean you're going to shuffle say the minister of trade into the minister of interior? Won't that means we end up with that crucial experience? I mean, it must take 6 years to properly train a member of the FUCKING GESTAPO.

"In total there will be a minimum of six, if not more, posts vacant and this will definitely necessitate a cabinet reshuffle, possibly between now and tomorrow," he said in an interview a week after the government was announced.”

Get out RCD!!! “shuffle in” some new faces and “shuffle out” YOUR STINKING HIDES.

“Five ministers have already announced their resignation from the government.”

Thank God some members of the RCD are honorable. There's hope yet for some sort of reconciliation.

“There were some violent scenes at a demonstration in the city centre earlier as security forces fired tear gas and sealed off the area with barbed wire.”

You fucking Nazi scum. We're not doing anything more than asking for our fucking human rights.

“Some protesters threw stones, charged police lines and smashed a police car.”

Ok, but who went first? Regardless, our freedom is on the line here. If we fail now, you're going to round us up an persecute each of us individually, just like happened to our comrades in Iran. You fucking Nazis are the same the world over.

“"Resign scum!" the protesters chanted in front of the prime minister's offices”

Damned right!!! Horrya horrya - Karama watanya!!! (“freedom freedom - pride of citizens” for those who don't keep up with the slogans of freedom fighters the world over).

“after hundreds spent the night staking out the building”

The most beautiful of the beautiful people on the WHOLE FUCKING PLANET.

“in defiance of a curfew kept in place”

Yes, we're well aware of the fact that you FUCKING NAZIS haven't changed your spots ONE FUCKING IOTA. Did you ever consider that it should be the fucking RCD that are subjected to curfew (if not firing squad) rather than the freedom-fighters of Tunisia who should be getting a new medal of honour given to them for every fucking day they stand guard at freedom's door?

“in a bid to restore order”

Where “order” is code word for “fucking dictatorship” you fucking scurrilous pricks. You're not fooling anyone.

“amid continuing turmoil.”

The turmoil is caused by you fucking Nazis oppressing the freedom-loving people of Tunisia. Horrya horrya - Karama watanya!!!

“Many of the protesters had made their way to the capital from the impoverished rural parts of Tunisia where the uprising began and held up pictures of victims of Ben Ali's bloody crackdown in recent weeks.”

The difference between good and evil couldn't be starker. Choose your side people!!! Want to live on your knees or die on your feet?

“Most primary schools also remained shut despite a government order to re-open after teachers called an "unlimited" strike in protest against the national unity government installed after the end of Ben Ali's 23-year rule.”

Fuck me dead. Teachers aren't normally my ideological soulmates – too much “lefty scumbag” in them for my liking – but hey, if we can make common cause on guarantee basic human rights I'll take my chances with them.

“Teenagers in their final year of school returned to classes as expected and some universities are to start re-opening on Tuesday.”

A once-off cost of even one fucking year of delayed education is a ridiculously small price to pay for freedom. Do you know how many years it took to win fucking WW2 against Nazis just like you?

“Schools and universities were shut down by Ben Ali in a bid to stop anti-regime protests widening.”

Fuck me dead and hit me for six. Students on the right side of freedom for a fucking change?

“The General Union of Tunisian Workers (UGTT), which called the teachers strike, has refused to recognise the new government because it keeps in place important figures from the ousted regime including Prime Minister Mohammed Ghannouchi.”

Common cause with the fucking reds under the bed. Is this still planet earth?

“Many Tunisians feel the same”

Another typo there. Correct English is “All decent Tunisians feel the same”

“and have kept up daily protests”

You are a testament to the human race! If I was in the (US?) military I would say “semper fi”. But since I'm not, I'll just say “now or never you truly truly beautiful people”.

“calling also for the destruction of Ben Ali's RCD party.”

Geez, the typos are thick and fast today. Correct English is “Nazis on the Meditteranean”.

“Others say it is time for calm.”

We all want calm. We can have calm if the fucking Nazis are replaced by technocrats and there are immediate and substantial checks and balances put into the system immediately and we get some independent oversight from Turkey because I trust democratic Turkey more than I trust the Nazi Party of Tunisia, who I don't trust further than I can throw them.

“"We have to make the democratic process real and irreversible and at the same time guard against the violence and anarchy that threaten our country," Rachid Sfar, a former prime minister, wrote in an editorial in La Presse daily.”

Ab-so-fucking-lutely. Our demands are not unreasonable. None of us want violence and anarchy. But we want even less having the Nazi jackboot put back on our throats after just a couple of fucking weeks of freedom.

“Ghannouchi, in place since 1999, says he will resign only after”

That's code word for “only after I've consolidated an irreversible grip on power that will be passed from me on to my son and then my son's son ad infinitum like in every other fucking Nazi state in the area, right”? Why are you being so firm on staying in power instead of being so firm on protecting with your FUCKING LIFE the hard-won freedom of the Tunisian people?

“the state's first democratic elections since independence from France in 1956.”

Doesn't that like FUCKING SCARE YOU??? If there is ZERO FUCKING HISTORY of democracy why the fuck do you expect us to take “don't get your panties in a twist, just trust us, when have we ever let you down before?” as an answer you condescending pricks?

“He said the vote could be held within six months but has not set a date.”

Best not to set a date. That way in 6 months from now you can say “oh, didn't I mention – 6 months in dog-months. Me and my sprog are here until the year 2700 – we're creating a great dynasty for Arabs to look up to in millenia to come”.

“France has been criticised”

Criticized? The fucking President should face a firing squad for what he did.

“for offering support to Ben Ali and President Nicolas Sarkozy said it had "underestimated" the anger of the Tunisian people.”

You racist prick. You really are a fucking racist scumbag. Did you really think these beautiful Tunisian people were happy living in squalid conditions that not even French DOGS would be subjected to? There is literally more legal protection for French dogs than there EVER was for the Tunisian people. And you expect us to not be angry? You condescending racist prick. I hope one day I can meet you across a battlefield and watch your head explode as I plant a dum-dum bullet in it. You fucking scum. You're worse than the fucking RCD. At least the fucking RCD never pretended to be sophisticated intellectuals like you French politicians like to think of yourself. I'd rather have the honesty of the Nazis than having insult added to injury by your fucking riot police on the wrong fucking side of the fight for freedom.

“French state prosecutors also opened an investigation into the Paris real estate assets of the Ben Ali family after activist groups filed a civil suit estimating he had amassed five billion dollars (3.6 billion euros).”

You fucking condescending pricks. You should be opening a fucking investigation into your own fucking president's malfeasance at a critical point in human history.

“Ben Ali fled to Saudi Arabia on January 14 amid a wave of protests.”

At least the Saudis are honest about being willing to harbour any old despot looking for a new home. They do not and never have pretended to be European sophists like Sarkozy. And news for you Sarkozy. It's not just Tunisians who hate your guts. I know an Australian who is FUCKING LIVID too.

“Tunisia's new transition government has since unveiled unprecedented democratic reforms including allowing full media freedoms, releasing political prisoners and registering political parties that were banned under Ben Ali.”

Yes, I agree. There has been progress. I'm not denying that. But the great danger is that these changes will be reversed. This is the freedom of the Tunisian people we are talking about. The greatest people in the whole fucking world. You do NOT treat that with anything but the UTMOST FUCKING CARE.

“The movement against Ben Ali began after a 26-year-old fruit vendor, Mohammed Bouazizi, set fire to himself to protest police abuses.”

What a waste of a freedom fighter that was. I would have liked to stand should-to-shoulder with this honourable man against the Nazi scumbags like Ben Ali and Sarkozy.

“The Arab world's first popular revolt in recent history has inspired copycat self-immolations in Algeria, Egypt, Mauritania and Morocco.”

Hey guys. Be careful with this. Every situation is different and needs to be independently analyzed. It's nothing short of a fucking miracle that Tunisia managed to free itself from the shackles of this cruel regime. An accidental set of events occurred.

“There have also been calls for Tunisia-style protests in Sudan and Yemen.”

Please don't get your hopes up, folks. Weapon systems obey the Laws of Physics and have no concept of good and bad.

Ok, what a long fisking! Didn't realise the article was so long.

Hopefully that served to illustrate the huge divide between the paradigms, rather than barring me from getting a French tourist visa should I ever want to visit (again!). :-)

Now let's say things continue as they are. You can perhaps understand the fear and anger of the people on the streets. But the new leaders believe they have done quite a lot (true) especially relative to anything the region has ever seen ever (but that's a pretty crap standard to be comparing to at all – why can't we be better than French dogs – hell – why can't we go all the way and get the human rights standards that French humans demand for themselves?). And failing to acknowledge this perhaps shows that the protesters aren't seriously wanting to do anything other than cause chaos, and that is unacceptable in a civil society too.

The people in charge are all operating in Paradigm A. The ones who operated in Paradigm B simply resigned since they “realized” this was all a farce and didn't want their name put to a clandestine suppression of the Tunisian people.

If push comes to shove, and the army is ordered to act against the people, the most likely outcome is in fact that the army will remain united and dispell them. Ie don't get your hopes up too much. Once the killing starts, it will end up being a self-fulfilling prophecy as “in for a penny, in for a pound” occurs.

Although having said that, I wouldn't expect the Tunisian military, in the current environment, to open fire on people sitting down with their head bowed waiting to be shot execution-style. Ie something Ghandi-like. Note that this only works when the “oppressor” isn't really that oppressive, which is at least what it is supposed to be on paper. If you tried that tactic against Saddam he would have had a great belly-laugh.

So perhaps that is something to try? Ie if you want to kill me, then get it over and done with. If I don't get my freedom guaranteed now, well, fuck it, this can be my contribution to reducing greenhouse gases.

If you take that attitude, I expect that the Tunisian military won't be able to bring themselves to do anything. If they are ordered to do something, they would instead consider it to be their honour to protect the beautiful people of Tunisia and change sides. In Beijing in 1989 the Beijing soldiers couldn't bring themselves to open fire. They broke down and cried instead as they were given flowers. The Chinese dictatorship needed to withdraw the Beijing soldiers and replace them with goons from the more backward areas of China to find people willing to pull the trigger on children singing songs.

I believe in your situation you have Beijing soldiers, or – more likely - Russian tank commanders – ie who will change sides once arriving on the scene and protect the good and brave citizens of Tunisia.

But no-one really knows until the order is given. No-one knows who has the numbers. This is one of the many times that the outcome of war is unpredictable.

Ideally you want to finesse your way out of this situation. Appeal to the Ammar that your demands are reasonable. Meet him halfway or something. Set up a win/win situation. E.g. agree that you will only come out onto the streets every Sunday, and that it will be a peaceful demonstration and that if there is any sign of the goons in the RCD going back on their word at any step in the process, then you will be back in force. EU monitors for the elections, and if they report any sign of foul play anywhere, all bets are off, and we're back on the streets.

Honestly, there's no good solution to this problem, within the given constraints (ie no external trustworthy hard power running on Paradigm B). I have found in my experience that I'm not the world's greatest diplomat. Perhaps someone with psychology skills can better explain how to bridge the gap between A and B. Note that it is really worth finding some happy compromise, as with the data at hand, I honestly believe that the old regime plus Ammar are sincere that they will hand over power to a democracy. So you don't want to die due to a misunderstanding. Obviously I can't guarantee that though. The Turks can guarantee it though if they put it in writing that they will ensure on their honour that you will be truly free in 6 human-months from now.

Wouldn't it be nice if all humans could get a 6-month guarantee and not just the Tunisians? But let's start with what can realistically be done now - and celebrate that blow for freedom - rather than mourn all those we were forced to leave behind.

Oh – another idea – now that you have media freedoms your non-violent protest is actually likely to be covered (and thus soldiers are more likely to either remain neutral or change sides rather than go down in history as the Butchers of Tunis).

Open this up to Anonymous to comment – they might be able to bridge the paradigms where I can't really do so. If Ammar would negotiate maybe we can hammer something out. The trouble is that (seeming) unwillingness to negotiate is exactly the sort of reason why you can't leave the streets in the first place.

I wish there was something I could do but I am unable to change the paradigm of my own countrymen any more than I can change the paradigm of a communist so I don't expect to have any more luck with your Paradigm A-ers.

I can tell you how Turkish planes can create freedom just by flying above loyalist Tunisian troops though. That enters the “war is a science” paradigm.