First of all I use the Tag in Wikileaks not only the origin to get the cables I want, the Tag feature will help you to see what other embassies and countries say about the country I am following. Second of all GOT is the government of Tunisia. Third there are no much cables from the U.S embassy in Tunis , may be the Wikileaks has not released yet more cables , may be we should not compare with a country like Egypt whose main western alley is States with Tunisia whose main western alley is France. “I bet the French cables got very real interesting details.There are in total 11 cables related to Tunisia with direct and indirect mentions in the available released batch. I will cover this time 5 cables and insh Allah in the next post I will cover the rest.
The first direct mention of Tunisia in the cables was in a secret one that sent on 30th March 2006 from the U.S embassy in Paris to Washington D.C and the U.S embassies in Tunis, Algiers and Rabat. This cable was mainly about French terrorism investigation judge Jean Francois Ricard and his promotion and transfer to the ministry of defense. The mentions of Tunisia comes in the last paragraph in the cable about the intelligence sharing relations between France and the Maghreb countries that Ricard spoke about with the U.S embassy staff. Ricard said that the int’l sharing was strained because the Tunisian government did not like that France had become then little outspoken about human rights in the country. The embassy staff made a comment that the France was still outspoken than the States when it comes to human rights issue in Tunisia.
The second mention of Tunisia is the first cable sent from the U.S embassy in Tunis to the State department in D.C . It was sent on 17th of October 2006 and the fun with Laila Ben Ali film starts from here. This cable was about Suha Arafat and how she and her daughter had acquired the Tunisian nationality. Do you remember when we found out Suha Arafat was kicked out of Tunisia suddenly and people began to speculate the reason !!? This cable and another one will answer your questions about this affair. Anyhow back to October 2006 Suha Arafat got a Tunisian passport and the U.S embassy speculated the reason why she acquired it. The embassy stated that Suha had lived in Tunisia even before her marriage to Arafat as the PLO was centralized in Tunisia for a while there and later returned back to Tunis after Arafat’s death where her daughter attended an American school in Tunisia. First the U.S embassy denies the rumor that Suha got the nationality after her marriage Belhassan Trablasi , the brother in law of Ben Ali, Laila’s brother.
|Belhassan in his golden days|
Back to the cable now the U.S embassy had a theory on why Suha had got then a Tunisian passport : either she would run for the parliament ‘unlikely’ or she would start a non agricultural project as Tunisian law foreign participation totally in the non exporting service industry can exceed 50%. ‘Most likely as she founded an international school earlier that year in Tunisia’
|Laila Ben Ali on the left of Zahwa Arafat in her father's funeral|
The fourth cable about Tunisia was the sequel of the Suha Arafat Tunisian passport drama , her Tunisia citizenship was revoked and she was kicked off the country in the worst way ever and rumors were all over the Arab world. The cable was sent on November 7th , 2007 from the U.S embassy in Tunis to the State department in D.C. The cable discussed the different reasons or theories behind why Suha was kicked out of the country and these theories included very juicy details :
- Suha Arafat claimed that she did not approve how Laila interfered to close the prestigious and well renowned private Bouebedelli school because it represented a huge competition to their newly private international school “Carthage” “This is according to Suha who lost about 2.5 million euros in this school “
- Suha was the one actually behind the closure of Bouebedelli school because she used the name of Laila without her knowledge !! “It is highly doubted theory , even the embassy dismissed it”
- Suha Arafat asked Gaddafi for money and the later could not believe that Ben Ali let the widow of Arafat beg for money like that and thus he called the “Zine” and blamed him ; knowing Gaddafi we could imagine that the blame was crazy tough one to the level that Ben Ali kicked out Suha in the worst way ever with a public scandal. Of course there is no smoke without fire because Gaddafi bought that villa for Suha in Malta.
- She took huge amount money from the first family and they had enough.
- She married Belhassan Al-Trablesi without the approval of Laila
What we learn from these two cables is that both the Ben Alis and Suha are scum !!
The fifth cable was sent on March 13, 2008 from U.S Embassy in Tunis to State department in D.C. The secret cable was about the meeting between Ben Ali and NEA assistant secretary David Welch. This cable shows you a glimpse how the States did not give damn to the black human rights record of Tunisia “Blacker than Ben Ali’s hair dye to be precise !!” and how Ben Ali knew what would please the States. Welch asked Ali for two requests : to interview Noureddine Taam who was identified as terrorist and to promise that the Guantanamo prison Tunisian detainees would be treated good !! “as if they really cared !!” Of course Ben Ali said big ok on the requests of Welch and he praised the American attitude towards his country unlike some countries and their embassies “France” which ignored his efforts in counter-terrorism and bring the human rights issues now and then. This cable showed us that Ben Ali was among the channels U.S used to communicate with Gaddafi despite he did not want to be a regional player in the region. According to Ben Ali the problem was not in Gaddafi but at some of his ministers whom he got rid off !! Ben Ali approved the Annapolis conference and he also promised not to go to the Arab summit in Damascus as long as there was no Lebanese president.
|Suha and Rania "Corbis"|