The Syrian Nightmare

By Jeffrey Goldberg

Every liberal interventionist bone in my body is on alert after reading summaries of the UN report on human rights abuses committed by the regime of Vogue cover boy Bashar al-Assad. I realize that Western intervention is folly, and yet, if I were a member of the Arab League (and I'm not, btw), I would be arguing vociferously for armed intervention to stop this evil. Read it and weep:

- Children were also tortured, some to death. Two well-known cases are those of Thamir Al Sharee, aged 14, and Hamza Al Katheeb, aged 13, from the town of Sayda in the Dar'a governorate. They were seized and allegedly taken to an Air Force Intelligence facility in Damascus in April. They did not return home alive. The injuries described in the post-mortem report of Thamir Al Sharee are consistent with torture. A witness, himself a victim of torture, claimed to have seen Thamir Al Sharee on 3 May. The witness stated that "the boy was lying on the floor and was completely blue. He was bleeding profusely from his ear, eyes and nose. He was shouting and calling for his mother and father for help. He fainted after being hit with a rifle butt on the head."
- Testimonies were received from several men who stated they had been anally raped with batons and that they had witnessed the rape of boys. One man stated that he witnessed a 15-year-old boy being raped in front of his father. A 40-year-old man saw the rape of an 11-year-old boy by three security services officers. He stated: "I have never been so afraid in my whole life. And then they turned to me and said; you are next." The interviewee was unable to continue his testimony. One 20-year-old university student told the commission that he was subjected to sexual violence in detention, adding that "if my father had been present and seen me, I would have had to commit suicide". Another man confided while crying, "I don't feel like a man any more".

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2011/11/the-syrian-nightmare/249159/