Today, nowhere is the Arab revolt more white-hot than in Syria. President Bashar al-Assad has been in power for 11 years; his father ruled for nearly three decades before him. Both controlled their country with an iron fist, and a largely effective one, too. But now the question has become: Can Assad last</a>? His massively fearful security state has been brutal against protesters, but with the killing of a 13-year-old boy setting off even more popular fury, Assad's strong-arm strategy is looking as if it may be on a collision course with history.