The Syrian regime is showing its true colors in the southern town of Deraa:
Syria’s government escalated its crackdown on antiregime unrest on Monday, sending tanks and armored vehicles into the southern city of Deraa, raiding homes and deploying snipers, according to activists and websites reporting on the country.
The military assault killed at least 35 people, dozens of them in Deraa, and sparked more condemnations of the regime of Bashar al-Assad. The regime also deployed members of the army’s fourth brigade—an elite unit headed by Mr. Assad’s brother Maher—and parts of the country experienced electricity and telephone service blackouts, according to eyewitness and activist accounts posted online.
The Assad regime’s decision to crack down harder after a weekend that saw 80 protesters killed puts more pressure on the international community to respond, even though many countries worry the regime could be weakening. Syria has had prickly relations with most of its neighboring countries, and remains technically at war with Israel. But those same neighbors also worry that upheaval in the country could spill over and destabilize the region if the Assad regime were to fall.
Because the region is so stable now.
When it comes to slaughtering his citizens, Bashar al-Assad has a lot to live up to: Back in 1982, Daddy killed between 10,000 and 40,000 citizens of the town of Hama in order to quell a Sunni-based Islamist rebellion. Facing stiff resistance in the city’s old quarter, the Syrian army withdrew, surrounded the town and barraged it with artillery fire for three weeks.
There are times it seems as though the Arab Middle East only exists to break the hearts of those optimists who believe things can’t get any worse.