The altered aura of the Arab state

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — When feeling nostalgic and prideful, Cairenes note that their beloved city has long been called “Uum Ad Duniya,” or “Mother to the World.”

This week, they can also boast that the ancient Egyptian capital is giving birth to a new Middle East.

Whether Egyptians’ unprecedented popular revolt — which has electrified Arabs from Muscat to Morocco — leads to genuine democratic reforms or not, the uprising and other exceptional developments in recent weeks have suddenly catapulted the Arab world into a period of perilous uncertainty and turbulent change.

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