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.
In June 2008, the US Embassy in Tunis takes a full and frank look at corruption in Tunisia. It "is getting worse" and it starts at the top: "President [Zine El Abidine] Ben Ali's extended family is often cited as the nexus of Tunisian corruption....Seemingly half of the Tunisian business community can claim a Ben Ali connection through marriage, and many of these relations are reported to have made the most of their lineage."