Noting that Tunisia did not just have a Twitter revolution, Doyle McManus writes:
Now that the dust has settled, it’s clearer that Tunisia’s upheaval, like all revolutions, arose from local circumstances that don’t foretell what will happen anywhere else. Ben Ali’s government was a family-run kleptocracy; the economy was stagnant; and most important, he had failed at a dictator’s first job: securing the loyalty of the armed forces. Next door, Algeria has corruption, unemployment and demonstrations too, but its armed forces are the core of its government and unlikely to switch sides. An old-fashioned lesson for revolutionaries: It’s nice to have Twitter, but it’s even nicer to have the army on your side.
The Economist makes a similar point:
There is another way in which Tunisia’s experience could prove subtly inspiring. “The one constant in revolutions is the primordial role played by the army,” said Jean Tulard, a French historian of revolutions, in an interview in Le Monde. So far Tunisia’s army, kept small to forestall coup attempts, has won kudos for holding the fort, and not playing politics. Yet it is the army which is believed to have persuaded Mr Ben Ali to leave. Perhaps a few generals elsewhere in the Arab world are thinking that they, too, might better serve their countries by doing something similar.
Meanwhile, in Tunisia, some of the police are switching sides.
Al Jazeera reports:
Thousands of demonstrators, including police officers, lawyers and students, have taken to the streets of Tunisia’s capital in another day of upheaval in the North African country.
While many protesters are continuing to demand the dissolution of the interim government, police officers who have also joined the protests are seeking better working conditions and an improvement to what they call unfair media portrayal.