Political Ambiguity Breeds Violence

Tunisians are split into two general camps: what might be called the 'idealists,' who refuse to rest until every last relic of the old regime has been stripped away, and the 'realists'' who fear that, however imperfect and in need of reform the existing institutions may be, instability and lack of governance could open the way for either the military or the barely-ousted regime to take power. 

Tunisia vibrated with palpable euphoria in the days after mass protests forced Zine El Abidine Ben Ali to decamp to Saudia Arabia.

A few short weeks on, utopic expectations of a sweeping break with the old regime are colliding with concerns that the country is edging towards political and economic crisis.

"There's a big discussion underway between those that are concerned that genuine revolution be realised, and those that are really concerned that the power vacuum will lead to chaos," says Michael Willis, a lecturer at Oxford University's School of Oriental Studies.

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