Authoritarian regimes in the Middle East may be dull, but at least they’re predictable. Take the recent announcement by Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak’s official spokesman that the ailing dictator will stand again for election in 2011. By that time he will be 83 years old and will have already been in power for three decades. One popular theory has it that, during what will presumably be his final term, Mubarak will finally name his neo-liberal banker son, Gamal, as vice president, a position purposefully left vacant until now. Thus the son will inherit the throne of the father, albeit on the back of fraudulent elections.
In Egypt on the Brink, Tarek Osman charts the major political, social, economic and religious developments in his home country from 1952, when Gamal Abdul Nasser overthrew the monarchy, to the tediously repressive