It wasn’t a great year for dictatorial bombast. A day after his speech promising to fulfill his term and hand over power only when he was ready, Hosni Mubarak stepped down, reportedly under pressure from his own military. Libya’s rebels took Tripoli a little over a week after Muammar Qaddafi assured the “rats” that their end was near and the leader met his own bloody end on Oct. 20. (Qaddafi, at least, did fulfill his promise to die on Libyan soil rather than flee.) Syria’s Bashar Assad may still be hanging on to power, but after months of protests and with his country on the brink of civil war, his assurances that Syria was insulated from the uprising seen elsewhere in the Arab world seem absurdly optimistic now.
Dictators weren’t the only ones making bad predictions in 2011. View a slide show from Foreign Policy magazine on the worst predictions of the year.