For the past forty years the story of the Middle East has been simple. The news images flashing across our TV screens from the Middle East provoked anger, outrage and, sometimes military action from the international community. But now the handful of dictators who ruled over hundreds of millions of people with an iron fist are locked up, exiled, fighting for their lives or buried in unmarked graves, leaving behind countries in turmoil. Saddam Hussein, Assad, Ben Ali, Muammar Gaddafi and Hosni Mubarak all lived lives of cartoonish excess, stalked their own people, snatched them from their beds and murdered them before their children. The West propped these men up because, so the story went, the alternative was states falling under the influence of the communist block or later into the arms of radical Islam.