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Uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt have brought down long-standing dictators but the road to full democracy is not straightforward. In Yemen, President Saleh's position is now weak but the influence of pro-democracy campaigners is even weaker, as tribal forces and members of the existing elite jockey for power. Bahrain's repression of demonstrations was severe, and supported by other Gulf monarchies, while western criticism was muted. In Libya, the outcome of the military intervention by NATO is not clear. Syria's fierce repression of dissent is causing increasing concern but, as long as the armed forces stay broadly loyal, the regime will probably survive. Elsewhere, regimes are not thought to be threatened. but taken together, the uprisings are a political earthquake for the region.


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