In July 2009, the US Embassy in Tunis takes a long look at a "troubled" Tunisia: President Ben Ali is aging, his regime is sclerotic and there is no clear successor. Many Tunisians are frustrated by the lack of political freedom and angered by First Family corruption, high unemployment and regional inequities. Extremism poses a continuing threat. Compounding the problems, the GOT brooks no advice or criticism, whether domestic or international. Instead, it seeks to impose ever greater control, often using the police.
New Zealand and the United States have secretly re-initiated full intelligence collaboration, 25 years after it was first suspended. The revelation was first reported by New Zealand's Sunday Star-Times weekly newspaper, which has obtained 1,490 diplomatic cables from the US embassy in Wellington, courtesy of WikiLeaks