There are probably only a handful of men in the Arab world who would not have been fascinated by, and even enjoyed, the last moments of Muammar Gaddafi. They are the Middle East's remaining autocrats.
Muammar Gaddafi attends the opening of the Arab Summit in Damascus, March 2008
No great filial loyalty was felt for the 'Brother Leader', let alone friendship among the leaders of North Africa and the Levant.
He had consistently lampooned the Arab League and occasionally even plotted against its kings and presidents.
But as the world has watched the last moments of Col Gaddafi with morbid fascination, men like Syria's Bashar al Assad would have probably run from the room in horror.
It is not the face of Col Gaddafi they see battered and pleading, not his blood that soaks the shirt, not his desperate eyes - the face they see looming out of the television screen is their own.
Yemen's Ali Abdullah Saleh had a close call when he was targeted in a bomb attack when he was visiting a mosque which badly burned his upper body.
The Long Rule Of 'Mad Dog' Gaddafi
Colonel Gaddafi was the longest-serving leader in Africa and the Arab world, having ruled Libya since he toppled King Idris I in a bloodless couple in 1969 - Sky News charts his rise to power and infamy.
'Mad Dog' Muammar Gaddafi
He was flown out of the country he has ruled for three decades to hospital in Saudi Arabia.
To the surprise of many commentators, he recently chose to return to his country which is now engulfed in what is both a revolution against his rule and also a civil war, pitting rival tribes against one another.
Al Qaeda has exploited this chaos and attempted to get a grip on parts of the country - attracting several attacks by American drones.
The most recent 'success' against what the US calls a 'high value target' has been Anwar al Awlaki - the American born al Qaeda propagandist who had inspired numerous recent terrorist plots.
Mr Saleh has repeated his offer to leave his country under the terms of a deal brokered by Gulf states, which would guarantee his physical well being and immunity from prosecution.
Many people, certainly many Libyans, will feel it right that a despot dies. And it does not matter how. But in time, I wonder if they will recant. Summary execution by an angry mob is no way of easing the birth pangs of a fledgling nation. Execution is wrong, in my view, whether it happens in Missouri or Misratah.
Read Sky presenter Colin Brazier's blog
On Friday - perhaps after seeing events in Libya - he called for the United States to join in offering such guarantees.
But it is in Syria where the most nerves will be felt. The Assad family is from the Alawite community, which makes up about 10% of the country's population.
It has ruled by putting Alawites in the top levels of the country’s security services and armed forces.
A Shi'ite branch of Islam, the Alawites have relied heavily on Iranian military equipment and training to maintain their grip on power.
So far Mr Assad has offered piecemeal concessions which have been met with derision by his opponents on the streets - mainly because his community may feel that it has little chance of surviving in a post revolutionary Syria.
An NTC fighter looks into the drain where Col Gaddafi was found
Col Gaddafi was found in a drainage pipe before being dragged through the streets
And there are very few prospects for any western intervention in support of Syria’s revolutionaries as there was in Libya.
This would explain why Mr Assad has decided, for the time being, to dig his heels in rather than meet the demands of a population against which he has deployed tanks and snipers for many months.
Syria has been given the soft treatment by the Arab league which called for the no-fly zone to be imposed in Libya - mostly out of fear of Iran. But also because of Syria’s central geographical location in the Middle East.
If a revolution succeeded there, it could be difficult to stop it spreading to neighbouring Jordan and down into Saudi Arabia.
Key to the future of Syria is its northern neighbour, Turkey. A Nato member, it once controlled the region when it was at the centre of the Ottoman empire.
Today it is a major transhipment point for arms to Syria. So far Turkey has done little more than make aggressive diplomatic protests over events in Syria - but there may come a time when it decides to cut Syria’s artery to Iran.
If it does - as Syria's revolutionaries hope - Mr Assad may recall the images of Col Gaddafi pulled from a drain and Saddam Hussein dragged out of a hole in the ground, and choose a safe exile over a bloody and humiliating end
Sam Kiley, security editor