Arab World: Where is Ben Ali Headed to?

This post is part of our special coverage of Tunisia Revolution 2011.

Now that ousted Tunisian president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali has fled the country, the question on everyone's mind is: Where is he headed to?

Netizens are putting their money on any one of the Arab Gulf Countries – which comprise of the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Oman.

Angry Arab News, a blog maintained by As'ad Abu Khalil, notes:

Aljazeera is reporting that the plane of Bin Ali is now heading to a “Gulf country.” Let me GUESS: which states habitually provides haven to ousted dictators??

In a follow up post, he adds:

Al-Arabiyya says that Bin Ali plane is going to Qatar, while Aljazeera implies that his plane is going to Dubai

Egyptian columnist Mona Eltahawi tweets:

How many bets #Qatar takes in #BenAli because it was 1 one of 1st to acknowledge toppling and is a pro at playing all sides? #Sidibouzid

Saudi Wafa Aljohani urges Gulf Arabs to stand up:

كل خليجي رجاء يكتب هذه الرسالة لاخوتنا في تونس: أنا خليجي وارفض استقبال بلادي وحكومتي للطاغية المجرم بن علي #sidibouzid #tunisia #Arabs
Every Gulf national should write this message for the sake of our brothers in Tunisia: I am a Gulf national and I refuse that my country and government receive the criminal tyrant Ben Ali

And Samar Dahmash Jarrah adds:

عزيزتي السعودية،قبلت من قبل اكل لحوم البشر عيدي امين،ارفضي الان مصاص دم اهل تونس #sidibouzid
Dear Saudi Arabia, You have previously welcomed the cannibal Idi Amin, please refuse the vampire who has sucked the blood of Tunisians now

Egyptian A Naje jokes:

بن على هيقعد يلف بالطيارة كدا لغاية ما البنزين يخلص ويقع في البحر
Ben Ali's plane will continue to fly until it runs out of fuel and falls in the sea

Fellow Egyptian Mohammed Mansour tweets:

طائرة بن على فى الغالب متجهة الى دبى …. عند المدام #BenAli #sidibouzid #tunisia #AREN
Ben Ali's plane is most probably on its way to Dubai .. so that he can be reunited with his wife

He continues:

والله مش بعيد مبارك يعرض على بن على ان يستضيفه فى مصر . اصلهم اخوات فى الديكتاتورية . و شرم الشيخ كبيرة #BenAli #sidibouzid #tunisia #Egypt

I wouldn't be surprised if Mubarak suggests to Ben Ali that he hosts him in Egypt. They are brothers in dictatorship and Sharm el Sheikh is huge

Along similar lines, top french blogger and lawyer @MaitreEolas tweets :

France terre d'asile : on a accueilli Khomeiny, Bokassa, Mobutu, Duvallier, on va bien recevoir Ben Ali ?

France, asylum country: we've welcomed Khomeiny, Bokassa, Mobutu, Duvallier, we can make room for Ben Ali, can't we?

Dima Khatib confirms that France shut its door to Ben Ali and notes:

Sarkozy probably thought: can't receive this guy (Ben Ali) in France. With so many Tunisians living here I would have my own #SidiBouzid :)

Meanwhile, in Bahrain, the chatter on where Ben Ali is continues.

He's heading 2 Dubai RT @Sabeeka_A: الجزيرة تقول ان في اخبار ان بن علي رايح دولة خليجية !! @HalaEbrahim @NaseemF نروح قلالي عند المطار ننطر؟
@Sabeeka_A: Al Jazeera says Ben Ali is going to a Gulf country!! @HalaEbrahim @NaseemF shall we go to Galali, near the airport and wait?

Ali Fareed responds:

He's heading 2 Dubai

And Abdurahman Warsame, in Qatar, concludes:

news that Ben Ali's airplane landed in #dubai. #tunisia

However, Egypt Tarek Amr has a better solution. He quips:

Doesn't Ben Ali use Dopplr or Foursquare so that we can know where he is heading to? #Tunisia #LBS ##Sidibouzid

This post is part of our special coverage of Tunisia Revolution 2011.


  • I love the sense of humor of Arab tweeps :)

  • Ben Ali has gone to Saudi Arabia.

  • […] after now-former president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali fled Tunisia, bloggers and Twitter users began debating where his plane would land.  Some figured he'd head to France, while others thought the UAE […]

  • […] blogerzy i użytkownicy Twitter zaczęli debatować [pl.] nad tym gdzie wyląduje jego samolot.   Niektórzy myśleli, że udał się do Francji, inni […]

  • […] Zine El Abidine Ben Ali Tunesië was ontvlucht, begonnen bloggers en Twitter-gebruikers een discussie [en] over waar zijn vliegtuig zou landen. Sommigen verwachtten dat hij naar Frankrijk zou gaan, […]

  • […] jan: Saoedi-Arabie: Vluchtende Tunesische ex-president Ben Ali land in Saoedi-Arabië 14 jan: Arab World: Where is Ben Ali Headed to? [en] 14 jan: Tunisia: Celebrations Welcome the End of Ben Ali's Rule [en] 14 jan: Tunisia: Ben […]

  • […] post: Arab World: Where is Ben Ali Headed to? · Global Voices Share and […]

  • […] Tunisia dell'ex presidente Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, blogger e utenti Twitter hanno iniziato a discutere [en, come tutti gli altri link di questo post eccetto dove indicato] sulla possibile destinazione […]

  • […] Tunisia dell’ex presidente Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, blogger e utenti Twitter hanno iniziato a discutere [en, come tutti gli altri link di questo post eccetto dove indicato] sulla possibile destinazione […]

  • I read the following about Ben ali

    The ‘most notorious’ family member of the former dictator of Tunisia, Ben Al, billionaire Belhassen Trabelsi is likely hiding out with his family in Canada, Tunisians in Montreal claim. They are sharply critical of the Stephen Harper government for the lack of cooperation in apprehending the fugitives, claiming that Ottawa has also been slow to move to freeze criminal assets here.

    “We expect the government not to let these people flee Canada,’ said Haroun Bouazzi, who’s part of a Montreal based Tunisian solidarity collective. We’re so scared they’ll go somewhere where there’s no chance they’ll be extradicted to Tunisia.” They plan demonstrations at the Canadian Parliament next Wednesday.

    The RCMP claimed Wednesday that an international Interpol alert does not constitute an arrest warrant under Canadian law. However, Interpol has already made clear its standard practice is to forward formal extradition requests via diplomatic channels once arrests have been made.

    Canada’s Immigration Minister, Jason Kenney, hinted Wednesday that Trabelsi has permanent residency status and would not simply be removed “through standard immigration procedures.” I can’t comment on individuals because of the Privacy Act, but I can tell you that some members of that family are in Canada as permanent residents and they have a legal right to be here.”

    Tunisia has issued an international arrest warrant for Trabelsi, who is charged with illegally acquiring property and other assets and illegally transferring funds. He’s also charged with illegal arms trafficking, and is described as ‘one of the biggest fish in the Ben Ali pond’.

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