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Morning roundup: Iraq, Tunisia, and the Arab soul

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Stopping them is now in the hands of the Shiite-dominated government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, which has a lot of work to do to convince Iraq's general Sunni Arab population that his government will serve their interests as well as those of his coreligionists.

Tunisia's uprising/revolution appears to be entering a quieter phase. Protests were smaller and scattered today, exiled opposition politicians have returned home, and the old guard who served departed Tunisian strongman Zine El Abdine Ben Ali (who has begun his career in exile in Saudi Arabia) try to figure out how to hand on to their positions.

What comes next is hard to say. US Ambassador Gordon Gray made rather tentative remarks about the outlook to Al Jazeera."I think what we have in Tunisia is a situation where ... this democratic expression is a work in progress... And it's a new phenomenon and it's something that people are doing without very much experience."

In fact there's been little democratic expression at all so far aside from the street power that pushed out Ben Ali. Tunisia's interim government is led by the same men who helped secure his rule, and a constitution and electoral system that served his dictatorship remain in place.

Will that change or will the pressure ease off enough to convince interim Prime Minister Mohammed Ghannouchi and his friends to reach for the brass ring after making mostly cosmetic concessions? We'll see.

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