Monday, January 15, 2018
The World Rightly Criticizes the Bad Acts of Iran and Pakistan, but Nobody Praises the Valiant Efforts of Tunisia
SOME OF THE REAL NEWS TODAY IS HAPPENING IN TUNISIA. But, few are paying any attention. While western media freaks out over the rather unimportant did-he-or-didn't-he remark of President Trump, he is actually doing his job, and right now, Tunisia needs a lot of attention. • • • TUNISIA FACES PROTESTS. It isn't easy to find US or European stories about Tunisia with a Sunday dateline. Malta Today online was one of the few outlets with up-to-date weekend news about what's happening in Tunisia now. Malta Today reported on Sunday that the Tunisian government has announced "social reforms amid days of protests...as over 800 people are arrested." The ongoing anti-austerity demonstrations, which began on January 7 and have led to the arrest of over 800 people, have led to emergency crisis talk at the presidential palace, with President Beji Caid Essebsi, political parties and trade unionists present. They formulated plans, which have been submitted to parliament, to reform medical care, social housing, and increase aid to the poor. Malta Today reported : "Mohamed Trabelsi, social affairs minister, said that the government was proposing a 170 million dinar (around €56 million) increase in welfare payments, which will affect about 250,000 poor and middle class families. He also made touched on plans for guaranteed medical care and a housing reform. The protests started after the government raised VAT and social contributions, and hiked the prices of goods in its 2018 budget. Some of the second wave of protests turned violent during the night, with the government accusing demonstrators of setting police cars on fire and attacking officials. A few people also tried to take over shopping malls and stores, and block streets." • Tunisia was the country where the Arab Spring started, and it has been seen by many as its only success. But, as The Washington Institute's (TWI) Sarah Feuer wrote last Friday : "The latest demonstrations will test the government of Prime Minister Chahed and the broader democratic experiment under way in the birthplace of the Arab Spring." TWI says : "The coming days will likely determine whether this unrest proves a momentary, if acute, bump in the road or a turning point in Tunisia's fragile transition. The protests come seven years after the uprising that toppled longtime dictator Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali and ultimately inspired a wave of revolts across the region, most of which devolved into chaos, violence, or authoritarian resurgence. Tunisia has thus far managed to avoid such a fate, carrying out two successful rounds of national elections, approving a new constitution widely seen as the most progressive in the Arab world, and beginning the lengthy and difficult process of transforming state institutions that previously served the interests of an elite few into bodies accountable to an entire citizenry." • Tunisia has had a hard time in transitioning from dictatorship to democracy -- an attack on the US embassy, a series of political assassinations, two high-casualty terrorist strikes that hammered the tourist industry, and an attempted insurgency in a town along the Libyan border -- all perpetrated by individuals with ties to extremist islamist groups with links to Libya. There was also a real struggle for power with Tunisia's main islamist party, Ennahda (Renaissance), that almost defeated the transition in 2013, but legislative elections in 2014 produced an unexpectedly workable alliance between Ennahda and the country's leading secular party, Nidaa Tounes (Call of Tunisia), which has brought relative political stability. • But, the economic situation in Tunisia is dire. Terrorists have gutted the critically important tourist industry. TWI states that "a December poll conducted by the International Republican Institute showed 89% of respondents described the current economic situation as "very bad" or "somewhat bad," the highest such percentage since the IRI began tracking Tunisian public opinion in 2011. And whereas in previous years Tunisians ranked unemployment as a leading economic concern, today a plurality consider the economic and financial crisis the single biggest problem facing their country." TWI gives some statistics -- unemployment is high (15% nationally and 30% among university graduates); inflation at 15% causing skyrocketing prices for staples such as meat and vegetables, the country's fiscal health has continued to deteriorate; a deficit constituting 6% of GDP, a public debt eating up half of GDP, and a currency that had lost a quarter of its value in just two years." • And, once more, austerity imposed from outside is a factor. In 2016, the IMF approved a four-year loan to Tunisia of $2.9 billion, in exchange for which the government agreed to reduce spending by shrinking the public sector (accounting for 50% of government expenditures), reducing wage increases, raising taxes, and implementing subsidy reforms that resulted in the price rises responsible for the current protests. These imposed austerity measures come at a time when a quarter of the Tunisian population reports having difficulty finding the means to feed itself. • But, according to TWI, the current protests, while widespread and superficially reminiscent of those in 2011, are different : "The same IRI poll that highlighted citizens' preoccupation with the country's economic travails also revealed a growing approval of [Prime Minister] Chahed government's performance in recent months, most likely in response to its anti-corruption agenda -- which some civil society organizations have deemed inadequate to the task. Chahed's personal favorability ratings also increased, from (an admittedly dismal) 21% in August 2017 to 34% in December....Further, the persistent chaos and violence in neighboring Libya and the region more generally will likely continue to suppress the appetite in most Tunisians for widespread social mobilization that could risk instability....[But] The events have also led to sparring between the political parties, with the prime minister and members of Ennahda accusing the Popular Front, the main bloc of leftist opposition parties in the legislature, of instigating the demonstrations for political gain. Whether the protests expand henceforth will partly depend on the degree to which such accusations resonate with the Tunisian public." • President Obama let Tunisia fade from his view in 2011 -- in 2017, the US needs to do better. TWI suggests that US policymakers should focus on and reward Tunisia's relative success in an otherwise turbulent region with an emergency aid package to send a strong signal of support to the struggling Arab democracy, as well as close coordination with the IMF and Tunisian officials for the timing of future reforms, to mitigate their austerity effects. TWI also states : "Moreover, the Trump administration should consider three measures to help Tunisia emerge from the current period intact: one economic, one security related, and one political...the United States has guaranteed $1 billion in loans to Tunisia, facilitating much-needed access to international capital markets. In October 2017, Tunisian officials indicated they plan to request an additional loan guarantee in the amount of $500 million. Previous agreements vaguely stipulated that the Tunisian government would direct funds to economic development. This time, Washington should approve the request but tie the guarantee to more explicit and detailed pledges from Tunisian lawmakers that they will invest the funds in infrastructure and small business development in the country's neglected interior regions. A key component of US security assistance to Tunisia has come in the form of police training. The initial returns on this investment were apparent in 2016, when a similar outbreak was met with police restraint -- widely seen as a product of US (and French) training and credited with preventing the protests from spiraling out of control...continued training of the police -- especially units serving in the country's interior -- will be crucial. Finally, US policymakers should work closely with their Tunisian counterparts to help prepare the country for local elections, now scheduled for May....establishing mechanisms of local representation and governance would bring Tunisians a measure of accountability and a greater say in decisions concerning local economic development, two outcomes that would reduce the likelihood of future unrest." • • • TUNISIA AND EUROPE. Losing Tunisia to islamic terrorists and Libyan tribal-based gangs would put them only 155 kms, or 96 miles away from Sicily in Italy. You can already travel to Tunisia from Italy by car ferry -- Palermo, Trapani, Civitavecchia, Genoa and Marseille to Tunis. • The European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) has published a report about Tunisia, noting that it "has attracted increasing attention for the revival of its migration route toward Italy. 4,500 people from Tunisia reached Italy in 2017 -- a fourfold increase on last year, with more than 3,000 arriving between September and mid-October." ECFR suggests that the primary cause for the uptick is Tunisia’s deepening socio-economic and political challenges. Some in Europe leadership roles suggest that Tunisia could be a transit partner for migrants headingtoward Europe. But, says the ECFB, it is "hard to see how Tunisia could become a key partner in managing migration coming from sub-Saharan Africa" when new data shows that Tunisia is in fact still an origin, rather than a transit, country, with the spike in arrivals from Tunisia not related to the Italy-Libya deal that restricted migration from Libya. : "While migrants arriving through Libya are mostly sub-Saharan Africans and Bangladeshis, the ones arriving from Tunisia are mostly Tunisians....there is little correlation between the Italian-Libyan agreement and the rise of arrivals from Tunisia." According to the ECFB, the spike is NOT due to Tunisian authorities letting more migrants through in order to extract more money from Italy in exchange for stricter controls -- the Tunisian government is actively fighting illegal migration, and has arrested close to 1400 illegal migrants this year, and has already signed agreements with Italy to regulate migration and facilitate returns. But, despite these measures, the number of Tunisians arriving in Italy are rapidly increasing -- in September and October, more than twice as many Tunisians arrived in Italy as arrived in the first eight months of the year, but, according to the ECFB, "these numbers are nothing compared to the influx of more than 25,000 Tunisians in 2011, nor compared with the total arrivals in Italy this year (so far 114,062, mostly from West African countries)." And, the idea that Tunisia would make an ideal partner for processing African migrants attempting to reach Europe-- that Tunisia could serve as a hub for European 'hotspot’ processing centres for sub-Saharan migrants, although often discussed in European meetings on migration, won-t work, says the ECFB, because Tunisia "simply doesn’t have any legal framework regulating the status of refugees and asylum seekers. NGOs and humanitarian associations, among them the UNHCR, have continuously called for a law on the issue, and its absence surely represents an obstacle to a common policy of asylum....A policy aimed at hosting -- even temporarily -- large numbers of sub-Saharan migrants in Tunisia could exacerbate unrest and lead to crisis." • What should Europe do? THe ECFB's suggestion is : "The EU should therefore focus its energies on supporting Tunisian socio-economic development. What is urgently needed is a clear political vision putting Tunisia at the center of its Mediterranean agenda. One of the mistakes of recent years has been the EU’s tendencies to sing the praises of Tunisian democratization. True, it has achieved a good level of procedural democracy, but there are still many critical problems related to the economy and political instability. While US policy in Tunisia is almost exclusively focused on security (the Trump administration plans to cut aid for Tunisia from over $177 million per year in 2017 to $54.5 million by 2018), Europe has the opportunity to choose a more holistic strategy. Investments should be made in micro-projects aimed at developing the most remote areas that still suffer from lack of access to basic services, in programs aimed at reforming Tunisia’s bureaucracy and its security sector, and in incentives for the creation of new mechanisms of governance. Creating a law on asylum is one of the most urgent measures that Tunis should undertake in order to better coordinate its efforts with European partners. But Europe should acknowledge that Tunisia is currently too fragile to serve as an effective migration partner at this stage." clearly, the ECFB agrees in large part with The Washington Institute -- recognize that Tunisia is still a fragile country working toward democratic institutions; help Tunisia build its infrastructure, especially in internal security and migration-related areas; and provide economic aid that will focus on the small towns and villages where much of the economic distress is being felt. This is not such a great leap of faith for the US and Europe when we consider that Tunisia is the only Arab country roiled by the Arab Spring that is actually making efforts to stabilize itself under democratic principles. A successful Tunisia transition would be a flagship for the rest of the Arab world still struggling with the aftermath of the 2011 Arab Spring crisis. • • • IRAN LOOMS. Tunisia may seem like a tiny spot on the Arab map, but consider the other events grabbing US and EU attention. • While Iran is not an Arab nation, we should note that President Trump announced Friday that he will extend waivers for Iran nuclear sanctions, keeping alive the landmark Obama-era deal for at least another few months -- but Trump said this is the "last chance" to fix the pact before the US withdraws. Reuters laid out Trump's ultimatum. In a stern statement, Trump said he's waiving the sanctions to secure European allies' agreement to address the "terrible flaws" in the 2015 deal negotiated by his predecessor : “Despite my strong inclination, I have not yet withdrawn the United States from the Iran nuclear deal. Instead, I have outlined two possible paths forward : either fix the deal’s disastrous flaws, or the United States will withdraw. This is a last chance. In the absence of such an agreement, the United States will not again waive sanctions in order to stay in the Iran nuclear deal. And if at any time I judge that such an agreement is not within reach, I will withdraw from the deal immediately. No one should doubt my word." While President Trump’s proposal to revise the 2015 deal is likely to be met with resistance from European nations, the Foreign ministers of Britain, France and Germany met with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Brussels this week and decided they want to “protect” the deal against any decisions that could undermine it. President Trump's demands include immediate inspections at sites by international inspectors, ensuring Iran “never even comes close” to possessing a nuclear weapon and denying Iran paths to nuclear weapons forever (not 10 years as under current law). White House officials said Friday that if the President can deny Iran a path to nuclear weapons “forever,” Trump would be “open to remaining in such a modified deal. This would not entail direct negotiations with the Iranians, but would be something the US works out with European partners only,” a White House official said Friday. The President said : "Those who, for whatever reason, choose not to work with us will be siding with the Iranian regime's nuclear ambitions, and against the people of Iran and the peaceful nations of the world." Meanwhile, the Trump administration is trying to secure a fix from Congress on the requirement for Trump to address Iran's compliance every three months. The President noted he was “open” to working with Congress on bipartisan legislation regarding Iran, but that any bill he signs must address human rights abuses and censorship in Iran, and support to designated Iranian weapons proliferators. • Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Friday, in announcing new, targeted sanctions against 14 entities and people, including the head of Iran’s judiciary : “The United States will not stand by while the Iranian regime continues to engage in human rights abuses and injustice. We are targeting the Iranian regime, including the head of Iran’s judiciary, for its appalling mistreatment of its citizens, including those imprisoned solely for exercising their right to freedom of peaceful assembly, and for censoring its own people as they stand up in protest against their government.” Mnuchin said the Treasury will also target Iran's ballistic missile program and destabilizing activities, which he says Iran "continues to prioritize over the economic well-being of the Iranian people." Mnuchin was clearly referring to the protests have rocked Iran recently. But, of course, Iran’s government attacked the US, Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom for supposedly instigating further protests, calling them “enemies of Iran.” Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif slammed the Trump administration on Twitter : "Trump's policy & today’s announcement amount to desperate attempts to undermine a solid multilateral agreement, maliciously violating its paras 26, 28 & 29. JCPOA is not renegotiable: rather than repeating tired rhetoric, US must bring itself into full compliance - just like Iran." • Reuters quoted analyst Richard Nephew, who says whether Trump’s conditions could be met depended on whether he wants a face-saving way to live with the nuclear deal with the political cover of tough-sounding U.S. legislation, or whether he really wants the deal rewritten. Nephew, a former White House and State Department Iran sanctions expert, said legislation could be drafted that might appear to assuage Trump’s concerns but that getting Iran to agree to allow unfettered international inspections or to no time limits on the nuclear deal’s restrictions is impossible. Nephew said Trump appears to be looking for the deal to be rewritten in Congress, saying : ”That’s not going to happen. If we were walking on a ledge before, now we are on a tightrope.” • The Jersualem Post reported on Sunday that Iran's president said the United States had failed to undermine a nuclear deal between Tehran and major powers, and hailed the accord as a "long-lasting victory" for Iran. The JP was quoting Iranian state television. President Hassan Rouhani said in a speech, broadcast live on state TV : "The American administration has failed to undermine the nuclear deal....Trump, despite his repeated efforts, has failed to undermine the accord....The deal is a long-lasting victory for Iran." • The Washington Institute has a dire opinion : "If Trump seizes on the unrest and demonstrations as a pretext to re-impose nuclear-related sanctions, he will do so alone : The Europeans have made clear that they will continue to abide by the deal -- especially because Iran is fulfilling its obligations under its terms. There is room for the President to impose new non-nuclear sanctions and gain European support for them, particularly if they understand this may keep the US in the JCPOA." The TWI states : "Preserving coalitions for dealing with the Iranian challenge in the region will remain important. The costs of Iran’s adventurism in the region have produced a backlash among the Iranian public; this is the moment in which demonstrating that Iran is alone internationally becomes more important than ever. It sharpens the contradictions within Iran and compels the leadership to think harder about whether it can continue to invest so heavily in Syria, Hezbollah and the other shiite militias, the Houthis, Hamas and Islamic jihad. Our [US] policy should be designed to raise those costs -- something that can be done without walking away from the JCPOA." As with Tunisia, the TWI sees regional economic and governance help as critical : "The break between the Saudis, the Emirates and Bahrainis on the one hand, and Qatar on the other, is damaging the effort to counter Iran’s destabilizing policies in the region -- and not only in the sense that it allows the Iranians to exploit the differences, as it is doing by cozying up to the Qataris and providing alternatives on trade and commerce to what is now blocked with the Saudis et al. In another, more profound sense, the Iranians are using shiite militias to try to fill the vacuum in areas where ISIS has been defeated in Syria and Iraq. Should they continue to impose a sectarian, exclusionary approach, one that oppresses Sunnis and denies them rights, they will recreate the conditions that produced ISIS in the first place. To avoid the 'son of ISIS' from re-emerging in these areas, with all that may mean for us, the Trump administration must marshal the resources from the states to help provide for local reconstruction, security and governance. Local populations and forces can do more to resist the Iranian/shiite militia push, provided they receive tangible support. But the divisions among the Gulf Cooperation Council not only make that more difficult, they create a distraction from the central challenges in the region -- whether it is Iranian expansionism or the danger of ISIS re-emerging in a different guise. Even though the United States maintains a large, highly sophisticated air base in Qatar, al Udeid, and the Qataris largely pay for it, we should not be neutral in this imbroglio. Saudi Arabia is engaged in a national transformation project in which we have a high stake in its success. And whatever Saudi clerics may have done in the past, they are no longer spreading an intolerant, violent ideology that justifies terror against non-believers. One cannot say that about Qatar; from hosting the Moslem Brotherhood and members of Hamas to financing jihadi groups in Syria and Libya, Qatar belies its commitment to fighting terror." TWI says that while the US depends on the al Udeid air base, it cannot be a get-out-of-jail-free card for Qatar : "We should identify what we consider to be most important in terms of changing unacceptable Qatari behaviors. This does not mean accepting everything that the Saudis, Emiratis, Bahrainis and Egyptians may demand, but it does mean making certain that Qatar no longer plays a double-sided game of supporting us in practical ways -- especially with the al Udeid base -- while continuing to provide financial support and a platform for legitimating radical Islamist ideology." • Former Ambassador Dennis B. Ross, who served as special assistant to President Obama and is a co-founder of United Against Nuclear Iran, is the William Davidson Distinguished fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy who wrote the Iran / Qatar article. Ross says : "Given the challenges in the Middle East, the Trump administration needs partners. Working with the Europeans and our Arab friends is essential if we are to counter destabilizing Iranian activities and guard against the emergence of a radical ISIS successor. Managing the JCPOA on one hand, and ending the impasse involving the boycott of Qatar on the other, offer a basis on which to achieve our critical goals in the region." • • • THE PAKISTAN FAILURE. The BBC reported on Sunday that Pakistan's defense minister Khurram Dastgir Khan has announced that he has suspended intelligence sharing with the US -- the latest twist in the US-Pakistan row. The BBC asks : "But how much does it matter? Relations between Washington and Islamabad have been in the spotlight since US President Donald Trump's New Year's Day tweet, where he accused Pakistan of 'lies and deceit.' Since then, Washington announced it would halt all security assistance to Pakistan, and Pakistani politicians have been quick to express dismay -- with the foreign minister saying that the two aren't allies anymore, and the army chief saying he feels 'betrayed.' But behind the rhetoric, both sides are actually responding more cautiously than you might expect. US officials have said that the suspension in security assistance is temporary, and that funds may still be reimbursed on case-by-case basis, depending on measurable co-operation extended by Pakistan. Meanwhile, few expect Mr Khan's announcement to be of more than of just symbolic value. That's because Pakistan has already limited much of the intelligence it shared with the US over the last two decades." • The US and Pakistan have a relationship dating back to the era when Pakistan was founded after the Partition of 1948. In the early 1950s, American aid arrived to help Pakistan's economic and security needs. Between 1959 and 1970, Pakistan provided a base near Peshawar for the CIA to use as a listening post for radio transmission intercepts from the Soviet Union. During the 1980s, the two countries co-operated closely in the Afghan war, which was mainly fought from Pakistani soil by Afghan guerrillas organized and trained by Pakistani military's intelligence arm, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). But a conflict of interest between the two countries emerged after the 9/11 attack on the US. The Americans set up a physical presence in Afghanistan and began to use Pakistan as its supply route as well as a source of ground intelligence. The arrangement seems to have been that the US would use technology -- such as communication intercepts and drones -- for intelligence gathering, and Pakistan would provide human intelligence. The value of the relationship was that islamist militants, the chief adversary of the US, were concentrated in the border region of northwest Pakistan and could only be defeated with Pakistan's help. The BBC states that the problem developed "during the 1980s when Pakistan learned to use these groups to wipe out Indian influence from Afghanistan." Since Pakistan could not afford to lose that leverage, "Pakistan publicly announced that it was siding with the US-led coalition in Afghanistan," but in reality it created conditions for those groups to "infiltrate Pakistani territory and carve out sanctuaries in its Federally Administered Tribal Areas, along the border with Afghanistan." Subsequently, while Pakistanis provided information to help the US take out or capture several al-Qaida leaders in its tribal region, the BBC sqys "no major Taliban or Haqqani network leaders -- whom Pakistan was using as its proxies in Afghanistan - were ever given away. The only exception is the 2010 capture of Taliban's top military commander, Mullah Biradar. But many believe Biradar's removal from the scene suited elements in the Pakistani establishment as he had been holding secret peace talks with the Afghan government, which had drifted closer to India." • President Trump entered the Pakistan fray on New Year's Day, tweeting : "The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!" The BBC is of the opinion that Trump is calling out a siutuation in which Pakistani intel no longer matters : "But while all the elements Pakistan considers 'noxious' to its interests have been pushed over the border into Afghanistan, the 'friendly' elements remain unharmed, and sightings of important Taliban commanders are not infrequent in main Pakistani cities...and even the capital Islamabad....there's little the US can hope to gain from continued intelligence sharing with Pakistan. And by the same measure, there's little Pakistan can withhold from the US which otherwise it would be willing to share. The only way Pakistan can create difficulties for the US is by closing overland supply routes to Afghanistan. But so far it hasn't indicated it could do that....it may raise transit fees of US supplies, or create hurdles from time to time to delay their delivery. It's a sign of tensions and a show of retaliation - but hardly as drastic as the show of rhetoric from both sides would have you believe." • Breitbart's John Hayward wrote on January 1 : "If the complete termination of US foreign aid does indeed become official policy, it would be a far more dramatic step than withholding all or part of America’s $255 million in military assistance to Pakistan, a measure reportedly under consideration by the administration over the past few days after Pakistan refused to allow US interrogators access to a captured terrorist from the hostage-taking Haqqani network." As early as last August, President Trump said the “next pillar” of his strategy for battling terrorism would involve a “change in our approach to Pakistan.” Trump accused Pakistan of giving “safe haven to agents of chaos, violence, and terror....We can no longer be silent about Pakistan’s safe havens for terrorist organizations, the Taliban and other groups that pose a threat to the region and beyond." Hayward reported that the Trump administration withheld $50 million in military aid to Pakistan over the summer because "it felt Islamabad was not doing enough to bring down the Taliban and the Haqqani Network. Pakistani military spokesman Major-General Asif Ghafoor warned the United States against taking “unilateral” military action on its soil and denied his country was not doing enough to fight the Taliban and its allies, promising that the results of Pakistan’s counterterrorism operations would be “seen in subsequent years and months.” • Pakistan is an anomaly among nations that seem to be fighting terrorism. A nuclear nation, disliked and perhaps feared by its much larger neighbor India, never truly with the West and not entirely with the terrorist networks that use it, corrupt and always bordering on a collapse of democratic underpinnings because of its very conservative islamic population pockets, Pakistan is at odds with everyone. President Trump may do well to call out the grievous errors in Pakistan's relationship with the US, but he will probably not change the tangled mass of conflicting threads that hold Pakistan together and that it uses for its own rather tunnel-visioned approach to diplomacy. • • • DEAR READERS, there are many countries in the North Africa-Middle East region that honestly need help. They are the small nations fighting to avoid the Iran-Saudi Arabia confrontation while they try to deal with overloads of refugees who arrived when escaping ISIS was the predominant regional theme. Jordan comes to mind. So do the Kurds of the Kurdistan area trying to stay free of both Iran and Iraq while maintaining their right to exist that is being challenged by Turkey because of the Turkey-PKK guerrilla war. • But, Pakistan and Iran do not fit that mold. They seed animosity, terrorism, and use the US and its allies either as a punching bag to be destroyed in the case of Iran or in order to scoop up all the benefits the US and its allies are willing to provide. • And, with all the media space and diplomatic noise being used up on Iran and Pakistan, there is little space or thought left for Tunisia -- the little country that cast off the fetters of dictatorship and is struggling along its difficult path to full popular democracy. Much like the child who always gets good school marks and causes no trouble, Tunisia is ignored while the world deals with the bad guys. Sad. A little help with the accompanying media and official praise would certainly bolster Tunisians, but it would also send a message loud and clear that countries that help themselves will also receive the international help for things they cannot provide for themselves.