2011: The Year of the Fallen Despot
The death this week of North Korea's Kim Jong Il marked the latest departure from the world stage of a long-serving, autocratic, and eccentric ruler. Several such figures — plus the leader of the world's most notorious terrorist group — saw their hold on power come to an end in 2011. Four of them fell amid protests spawned by the Arab Spring movement. Two were killed at the culmination of long manhunts.