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The popular uprising that drove Tunisia’s aging, autocratic president from power Friday was an earthquake not just for that North African nation of 10 million people but for the Arab world as a whole. Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, 74, ruled his country in much the same way as the strongmen who govern neighboring Algeria and Libya, as well as key U.S. allies such as Egypt and Jordan - by jailing or exiling opponents, censoring the media and stifling civil society.

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