A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Ammar Steps Down as Tunisia's Army Chief

If you followed the link in my previous post you may know this already, but the Chief of Staff of Tunisia's Army, Gen., Rachid Ammar, has announced his retirement.

During the Tunisian Revolution, the Armed Forces played a decisive but not terribly visible role. Ammar refused to use the Army against the demonstrators, but once the revolution was successful, the Army played no prominent role. (See my post, "Pay No Attention to the Man Behind the Curtain," from 2011.) More recently he has been criticized for the Army's role in returning former Qadhafi Prime Minister Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi to Libya, and the Army's failure to defeat jihadi rebels in the Jebel Châambi region near the Algerian border.

Ammar reportedly asked to take retirement; he is 66. He made it clear that he had not been dismissed, but would not agree to stay on.

1 comment:

David Mack said...

The army is the institutional hero of the Tunisian Revolution. (There are also many individual heroes, ranging from street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi to elder statesman Beji Caid Essebsi.) Early on, the military made clear it would not be there to keep Ben Ali in power by killing demonstrators, but it provided just enough muscle to prevent Tunisia from dissolving into a nightmare of insecurity. History will treat Ammar kindly.