In The Dictator's Handbook, particularly in chapter 2 ('Inimitable You'), we stress that part of the dictatorship game (a major part) is projecting an air of invincibility and unassailable power. In other words, look and act like an all-seeing, all-knowing autocrat, and most of the populace will fall in line -- some out of power worship, others out of fear. Mobutu, Idi Amin, even Hitler, Chaplin mustache and all, projected this kind of lethal power despite physical shortcomings (take it from us, Amin fans, it's a shortcoming if you look like you'd fit nicely in a Santa suit). Then, of course, there is Bashar Assad.
He certainly looks right on for an accountant at a small midwestern aluminum washer firm, but as a dictator? No uniform, no sunglasses or medals, no epaulets. Worse, the recent reports out of Syria (direct from our forum) -- which claim that the rebels have been able to target his personal convoy -- betray all the tell-tale signs of weakness, the later denials notwithstanding. In a true dictatorship, no one should even think of aiming missiles at your car.
It's too early to tell, but usually these indications of weakness point toward only one conclusion -- a unpleasant one for any autocrat who lets the mask of power slip.