Libyan Leader Blames Tunisian Uprising on WikiLeaks

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Muammar Qaddafi with Vladmir Putin.Photo: Wiki

Chaos in Tunisia has overthrown longtime authoritarian leader Ben Ali, and his replacement has already stepped down, too. Now Libya's Muammar Qaddafi, the de facto leader of the country since a coup in 1969, is blaming Julian Assange. Qaddafi claims cables leaked by WikiLeaks detailing the spending habits of Ben Ali and his family were planted by ambassadors to push along the Tunisian uprising. (Unlikely.) The cable he's referring to was sent by the U.S. embassy in Tunis, describing Ben Ali's family as corrupt and a "quasi-mafia." Qaddafi also questioned the motive of the Tunisian rebels, yet seems to understand it exactly: "[The uprising] is for what?" he asked. "In order to have someone to become president instead of Ben Ali?" Of course, let's not forget that Qaddafi might have a personal grudge against WikiLeaks, since it ruined his intimate relationship with a voluptuous nurse.

Meanwhile, U.S. State Department spokesperson PJ Crowley is denying that WikiLeaks had a role in the uprising. "Tunisia is not a Wiki revolution," Crowley tweeted. "The Tunisian people knew about corruption long ago. They alone are the catalysts of this unfolding drama."

Qaddafi could also be worried about his own place in this world. The Telegraph points out: "Libya also suffers from many of the same problems facing Tunisia: a relatively educated population facing large unemployment." In his speech, Qaddafi said: "Tunisia now lives in fear." So thus far, the Libyan leader seems to be trying to stay ahead of any growing resentment within his country, by scaring Libyans out of revolting, and reportedly testing small measures to try to keep them happy.

Muammar Gaddafi condemns Tunisia uprising [Telegraph UK]
Libyan leader Moammar Khadafy blames WikiLeaks, ambassadors for uprising in Tunisia [NYDN]
[PJCrowley/Twitter]