Eric Harroun, Phoenix Vet Who Fought With Rebels Against Syrian Regime, Remains Jailed
|Eric Harroun (right).|
While politicians like President Obama and Senator John McCain continue to call for military action against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, an Army veteran remains in jail for fighting against the same regime.
Eric Harroun, a 30-year-old Phoenix native, faces life in prison for allegedly providing material support to a terrorist organization and conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction -- charges he was indicted on in June, before there were public calls for American military action in Syria.
Again, Harroun and the U.S. government list the same enemy, but Harroun's looking at life in prison.
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Harroun initially was arrested in March after he was accused of fighting in Syria on behalf of Al-Qaeda, although the details of the case tell a radically different story.
The FBI had been well aware of Harroun since around 2010. Seven years earlier, Harroun had been honorably discharged from the Army after sustaining some sort of brain injury in a car accident. It's unclear the extent of his injury, although his attorney has said he suffers from headaches and memory loss.
At some point, Harroun developed an interest in the Middle East, and the FBI was aware that Harroun started traveling around the region. Court filings from federal prosecutors suggest Harroun may have participated in the Egyptian Revolution of 2011, a citizen uprising involving many types of people.
But it appears that the FBI watched Harroun a lot more closely when he went to Syria in January of this year and started fighting against the Assad regime, alongside the Free Syrian Army.
Harroun didn't really make a secret of this, as he posted videos and updates on social-media websites. In one, Harroun says, "Bashar Al-Assad, your days are numbered . . . Where[ver] you go, we will find you and kill you."
That statement's probably not too upsetting to the U.S. government, as President Obama has been urging military action over Assad's government gassing to death more than a thousand people.
Harroun also voluntarily submitted to interviews with the FBI -- four times.