Deraa protests“The Syrian government is struggling to contain a week-old uprising in the southern city of Deraa, the deepest popular unrest since president Bashar al-Assad took office a decade ago. . . . Syrian officials, clearly unnerved, have flown thousands of security forces into the city and brutally cracked down on demonstrators.”

. . . reports Gregg Carlstrom at Aljazeera. The latest from MSNBC:

The main hospital in the Syrian city of Deraa received the bodies of at least 25 protesters after Syrian forces launched a relentless assault on a neighborhood sheltering anti-government activists.

Carlstrom again:

At the same time, though, he has made a few conciliatory gestures to protesters, like releasing the children whose arrests . . . for writing pro-democracy graffiti . . . helped spark the protests, and sending a delegation of government ministers to meet with protesters. . . . Popular protests have been slow to kick off in Syria, where many have bitter memories of former president Hafez al-Assad’s brutal repression of opposition groups in Hama.

Hama, of course, was the city that the senior Assad attacked in response to violent uprisings by the Muslim Brotherhood and killed 7,000 to 35,000, including about 1,000 Syrian soldiers. In addition, cyanide gas was reportedly used. Yes, a city — the fourth largest — in his own country!

In other words, thank goodness for small favors, Syrians. In fact, you should be counting your blessings. Your president only seems to be suffering sociopathic symptoms, or of Antisocial Personality Disorder, as it’s called in more recent editions of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Whereas his father was a textbook case.

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