OFTEN in politics it comes down to one man. In Syria, it is Bashar al-Assad. Everywhere we travelled in Syria last week the president’s name was invoked. “Bashar must go!” was the constant refrain in impromptu protests we saw in neighbourhoods in Damascus and Homs. At other times on some streets, Syrians would whisper tersely: “We can’t talk to you.” Then with a gesture of a knife slitting their throat, they would add: “Bashar would kill me”.