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The world after Mubarak

Experts debate what happens next in Egypt and the countries around it In his retirement, Dwight Eisenhower admitted that the biggest foreign policy mistake of his presidency had been not supporting Anthony Eden over the Suez crisis. How right he was. If Arab nationalism had been strangled in its cradle in 1956 by the vigorous

‘This is our city now’

It’s strange how quickly a revolution becomes ordinary. For decades, Egypt was the quintessential Middle East police state, but now the sight of freshly sprayed ‘Fuck you Mubarak’ graffiti seems normal. Cairo’s famous traffic gridlock is long gone; the shops are shuttered. Amid the protestors in Tahrir Square, dozens of young and middle-aged men are picking

Aims of the brotherhood

Make no mistake: the Muslim Brothers’ vision for Egypt is a frightening one Hosni Mubarak should be given credit for at least one achievement in his three decades in power: his deft exploitation of Washington’s fears about the Muslim Brotherhood. There is, in fact, no evidence that the Brotherhood has ever been able to count

The dominoes rally

First Tunisia, then Egypt. Whatever next? The laws of the Arab world are supposed to prohibit any domino effect: the military is supposed to be too strong, the governments too unresponsive. But these laws no longer hold now that two of North Africa’s most deeply entrenched leaders have been unsettled by popular protests. The ‘Arab

Talk like an Egyptian

Few of us understand what is going on at the dusty end of the Med. There may be a few chinstrokers who cup, in their wizened palms, a concise comprehension of the Cairo crisis — see pages 14 to 18 — but the rest of us struggle for something to say. Vivid reporting has been

Speak to me

Critics have been predicting the death of the public lecture ever since Johannes Gutenberg got his printing press going in 1450. Why bother negotiating the market-day crowds in downtown Mainz to hear someone read from the Bible, when you can sit by the fire in your parlour and read your own copy? The same argument

There is no alternative

Stand-up comedians: is there anything they can’t do? Not only do they make up a huge proportion of chat-show guests — and of chat-show hosts — they also present Horizon, give us guides to the night sky, utterly dominate panel shows and regularly pop up on Question Time. Recently, they even set up their own

Less time, less crime

I have a confession to make. In 18 years in government, I have never come up with a policy that was instantly popular. Today, as Justice Secretary, my job is to mend Britain’s broken prison system and make it less expensive. My proposals have prompted widespread criticism, not least from The Spectator, which said recently

The hangover from hell

If a drunken woman and a drunken man have sex, our legal system treats the man as a rapist. That’s wrong — and patronising Imagine, for a moment, that you’ve had a few sherries. Perhaps, even, more than a few; perhaps you have enjoyed that most pernicious of doses: the one that leaves you on