Why? ‘The image’ makes one important difference from 1982; it has contributed for example to the Arab League mission, which (though ultimately a failure) pressurised the regime for a while, and it has contributed now to the UN mission, which (though under severe threat: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2012/04/2012416182434265775.html
) promises to have a stronger effect still.
So I remain somewhat optimistic; I think that there is every chance that the democratic revolution will succeed, at least in getting rid of Assad. I think that, under the glare of the world’s view, with UN observers, with people rising up across the nation and demonstrating, the regime will start finally to crack before too long. Some of them will look for a way out – and they may well sacrifice the venal Bashar, as their way out.