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Saudi Arabia: Fleeing, Tunisian Ex-President Ben Ali Lands in KSA

Categories: Middle East & North Africa, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Breaking News, Governance, Human Rights, International Relations, Migration & Immigration, Politics

This post is part of our special coverage of Tunisia Revolution 2011 [1].

On Friday, shortly after now-former president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali fled Tunisia, bloggers and Twitter users began debating [2] where his plane would land.  Some figured he'd head to France, while others thought the UAE would be his destination.  As it turns out, Ben Ali's final destination [3] was Saudi Arabia–the same nation that hosted Ugandan dictator Idi Amin [4] after the fall of his regime.

@ollieleach [5] caught on [6] immediately:

So Tunisia's President's cropped up in Saudi Arabia. The Idi Amin approach to exile… interesting.

@weddady [7], noticing a trend on Twitter, commented [8] on the response of the Saudi people to Ben Ali's welcome in their country:

Interesting: #Saudi [9] tweeps organizing on twitter 2 ask their government not to take in Ben Ali after rumors of him heading there #sidibouzid [10]

Indeed, Saudi Twitter users have spoken up about their thoughts.  @radicalahmad [11] asserted [12]:

Dear beloved people of #TUNISIA [13]: i am from #saudi [14] and i asure you that getting#benali [15] to land in #jeddah [16] does not represent us #NOTINMYNAME [17]

@Dima_Khatib [18] reminded her followers [19] that the decision to welcome Ben Ali to Saudi Arabia was not one made by the Saudi people:

Please guys I say it again. No need to attack Saudis for receiving Ben Ali. They have nothing to do with Royal Family decisions #Saudi [9]

Finally, blogger Saudi Jeans, celebrating along with Tunisians, expressed displeasure [20] with his country's decision to welcome Ben Ali:

Today was a huge, huge day for Tunisia. After four weeks of street protest, president Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali fled the country. This is probably the first time we witness an Arab leader toppled by his own people. Very happy for the Tunisian people, and very proud of them. I’m especially thrilled for my friends Sami bin Gharbia [21] and Slim Amamou [22], who worked tirelessly for years to see this day. The only thing that annoyed me was that Saudi Arabia welcomed the ousted dictator to find refuge in our homeland. But for now, let’s just live this historical moment. Here to a domino effect all over the Middle East.

This post is part of our special coverage of Tunisia Revolution 2011 [1].