Ex-American Soldier Accused of Joining Terrorist Group in Syria Left Trail of Videos
March 29, 2013, 6:27 pm
Ex-Soldier Accused of Joining Terrorist Group in Syria Left Trail of Videos
By LIAM STACK
As my colleague Scott Shane reports, a former American soldier was charged on Thursday with fighting alongside a rebel group linked to Al Qaeda on the battlefields of the Syrian civil war.
The soldier, Eric Harroun, 30, was arrested on Wednesday after arriving at Dulles International Airport outside Washington and charged in Alexandria, Va., on Thursday with “conspiring to use a destructive device outside the United States.”
He is accused of entering Syria in January and fighting alongside the Nusra Front, which was designated a terrorist organization in December 2012 and is accused of ties to Al Qaeda in Iraq. It is one of hundreds of rebel militias that have emerged over the last two years to battle the government of President Bashar al-Assad, whose family has ruled Syria for four decades. The conflict has so far claimed more than 70,000 lives.
Mr. Harroun, a Phoenix native who served in the United States Army from 2000 until 2003, has been far from discreet about his activities in Syria, posting at least three videos of himself with Nusra fighters to YouTube and speaking with two journalists based in Israel for Foreign Policy magazine.
The authors of the Foreign Policy article, Ilan Ben Zion and Greg Tepper, wrote that in online communications with Mr. Harroun, “he seemed paranoid about being tracked by U.S. and Israeli intelligence agencies” and referred to the men with anti-Semitic slurs.
I think whatever the State Dept had planned (if there was a plan) for Syria has gone FUBAR.