Ссылки, добытые из этой ссылки:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/us-embassy-cables-documents/218324 - гастрономическое описание обеда у президента (без сникерса в лапе не читать!)
http://wikileaks.ch/cable/2008/06/08TUNIS679.html - оценка коррупции
http://mideast.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2011/01/02/tunisia_s_protest_wave_where_it_comes_from_and_what_it_means_for_ben_ali - статья Кристофера Александера в Foreign Policy (еще до отставки Бен-Али)
Картина, надо сказать, получается чем-то до боли знакомая:
According to Transparency International's annual survey and Embassy contacts' observations, corruption in Tunisia is getting worse. Whether it's cash, services, land, property, or yes, even your yacht, President Ben Ali's family is rumored to covet it and reportedly gets what it wants.
President Ben Ali's extended family is often cited as the nexus of Tunisian corruption. Often referred to as a quasi-mafia, an oblique mention of "the Family" is enough to indicate which family you mean.
Most Tunisians grudgingly accepted Ben Ali's heavy-handedness through the 1990s. Authoritarian rule was the price they paid for stability that could attract tourists and investors. Ben Ali was an effective, if uncharismatic, technocratic who beat back the Islamists, generated growth, and saved the country from the unrest that plagued Algeria.
Over the last five years, however, the fabric of Ben Ali's authoritarianism has frayed. <...> Its methods became less creative and more transparently brutal. The government seemed less willing to at least play at any dialogue with critics or opposition parties. Arbitrary arrests, control of the print media and Internet access, and physical attacks on journalists and human rights and opposition-party activists became more common. So, too, did stories of corruption -- not the usual kickbacks and favoritism that one might expect, but truly mafia-grade criminality that lined the pockets of Ben Ali's wife and her family.
Tunisia has built a reputation as the Maghreb's healthiest economy since Ben Ali seized power, as market-oriented reforms opened the country to private investment and integrated it more deeply into the regional economy. Annual GDP growth has averaged 5 percent. But the government's policies have done little to address long-standing concerns about the distribution of growth across the country. Since the colonial period, Tunisia's economic activity has been concentrated in the north and along the eastern coastline.
However, nothing in the country's history or its current state of affairs makes it easy to believe that the protests will lead quickly to a coherent, unified opposition movement with a clear message, a charismatic leader, and a national support base. Additionally, another long, slow slide toward chaos could simply set the stage for another Ben Ali -- another unelected president who seizes power at the top and changes little below it.