Rachid Ammar

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Rachid Ammar
in 2011
Born 1947 or 1948
Sayada, Tunisia

Rachid Ammar, or Rchid Ammar (Arabic: رشيد عمار‎‎)(born 1947 or 1948) was the chief of staff of the Tunisian Armed Forces.[1]


Born in either 1947 or 1948, Ammar is from Sayada, a small town on the coast of Tunisia.[2]

Ammar was promoted to chief of staff from the rank of colonel when the chief of staff, Abdelaziz Skik, was killed in a 2002 helicopter crash,[3] which is considered mysterious by several soldiers and journalists[who?] who have also hold Ben Ali's government responsible. The same helicopter crash also killed five colonels, four majors and two lieutenants.(one casualty was the Military Security Service leader colonel El Arbi Ghazali).[2][4]

Ammar was a member of the joint chiefs of staff and was received along with other members of the council by Ali at a ceremony during the summer of 2010. There, Ammar was promoted by Ben Ali from the rank of divisional general to that of corps general.[5]

On 25 June 2013, Ammar announced his retirement due to harsh criticisms.[6]

Tunisian revolution[edit]

On 13 January 2011, Ammar refused to follow the orders of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, then president of Tunisia, to shoot protesters participating in the 2010–2011 Tunisian protests.[1] He responded to the Presidential order with, "Agree to deploy soldiers to calm the situation, but the army does not shoot the people."[2]

Ben Ali then sacked Ammar for not obeying his order and put him under house arrest.[2][7] On 14 January, Ben Ali fled Tunisia and Ammar was reinstated by Mohamed Ghannouchi.[2][8] On 15 January, The Economist Online reported that the Tunisian military was being led by Ammar.[8] The New York Times reported there was speculation that Ammar would take over the country and become president.[9] The Egyptian newspaper Almasry Alyoum reported that the embassy of the United States had told Ammar to take control of Tunisia if the country became politically unstable.[10]


  1. ^ a b Kirkpatrick, David D. (15 January 2011). "Power in Tunisia Changes Hands 2 Times in 24 Hours". The New York Times. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Samy, Ghorbal (16 January 2011). English Translation "Rachid Ammar, homme fort de la Tunisie: " L'armée ne tire pas "" Check |archiveurl= value (help). Rue89. Archived from the original on 19 January 2011. Retrieved 19 January 2011. 
  3. ^ Maher, ed. Joanne (2006). The Middle East and North Africa 2007 (53 ed.). London: Routledge. p. 1076. ISBN 978-1-85743-390-6. 
  4. ^ "Tunisian army chief dies in air crash". BBC. 1 May 2002. Retrieved 16 January 2011. 
  5. ^ Loua (25 June 2010). "President Ben Ali Receives Members of the Higher Armies Council". Retrieved 16 January 2011. 
  6. ^ "Tunisian Army chief of staff announces resignation". Asharq Alawsat. 26 June 2013. Retrieved 3 July 2013. 
  7. ^ "Tunisia protests: Live bullets fired in central Tunis". BBC. 13 January 2011. Retrieved 16 January 2011. 
  8. ^ a b "A Dictator Deposed". The Economist Online. 15 January 2011. Retrieved 16 January 2011. 
  9. ^ Kirkpatrick, David (16 January 2011). "Two Officials Tied to Former President Are Held in Tunisia". The New York Times. Retrieved 16 January 2011. 
  10. ^ "Tunisian officer: Washington tells dismissed chief of staff to 'take charge'". Al Masry Al Youm. 16 January 2011. Retrieved 17 January 2011.