Tyrants such as Muammar Gaddafi and Saddam Hussein seal their own fate. At Dictator Watch, using Burma’s ruling junta (turned civilians as of the last election) as an example, Roland Watson explains.
Imagine what the generals of Burma will face when the country goes free. First, they may be killed. In the turbulence of the transition itself, there is a good possibility that they will be attacked, either by their fellow officers, through a coup, or by the people. Secondly, if they are not killed they will be arrested. They will almost certainly be subjected to war crimes prosecution, and end up as inmates in facilities such as Insein Prison, where for decades they have held and tortured dissidents. Thirdly, they and their family and friends, will lose all or a large portion of their wealth. Not everything can be hidden in a bank in Singapore. The businesses that they think they own will be nationalized.
… they will lose it all.
Or as Daniel Drezner at Foreign Policy writes:
Simply put, when leaders have expectations of a violent demise if they lose power, they have a more powerful incentive to use force to stay in power. So, congrats to Libya, but this is simply going to harden the hearts of Bashir Assad and others out there determined to stay in power through any means necessary — including instigating cross-border conflicts.