TUNISIA: Smooth Coup

In the dark of night last week, 300 French soldiers surrounded the house of Tunisian Prime Minister Mohammed Chenik. According to the French version, Chenik, an irreconcilable nationalist, was dressed and waiting when the police arrived. According to Chenik's son, the Prime Minister was rudely awakened "like a common murderer," and forced to dress in front of his captors. Either way, everyone agreed on what happened next. A plane left Tunis at dawn bearing Chenik and three other nationalist ministers to detention at a kerosene-lighted oasis hotel at Kebili, in the North African desert.

The coup had been smoothly engineered...

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