The really worrying thing about Syria is that it really is a regime that is fundamentally incapable of providing a better life for its citizens because of the limited nature of natural power base and the rampant corruption in its economy (never mind democratic rights). I think the ongoing winter that followed the Damascus Spring has shown there is little chance that the regime will gradually open up. So where does that leave Syria? With a third generation of Assads? It's a sad situation: probably the only thing that can save Syria is an end to its conflict with Israel (i.e. the return of the Golan Heights.)
Also, this week's roundtable discussion at Creative Syria: What should the United States and the other relevant regional powers do to stop the bloodshed in Lebanon?