Enemy recruits traitors with victim strategy


An American who says he went to fight U.S. forces in Afghanistan told interrogators that about the time he became an al Qaeda member he came across several Belgian and French militants.

Belgian counter-terrorism sources said the group traveled to Pakistan's tribal areas at the beginning of 2008, also intent on fighting in Afghanistan.

The Europeans -- four Belgians and two French citizens, all of North African descent -- were recruited, Belgian police say, by Malika el Aroud and Moez Garsallaoui, a married couple who had long enjoyed a notorious reputation among European counter-terrorism services.

El Aroud's previous husband, Abdessattar Dahmane, had assassinated Ahmed Shah Massoud, the head of the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance, in a suicide bombing attack ordered by Osama bin Laden two days before 9/11.

When CNN interviewed the couple in 2006, El Aroud showed how she administered a pro-al Qaeda Web forum called Minbar SOS, which included pro-al Qaeda postings and propaganda videos. Read how al Qaeda is now operating

Belgian investigators say the Web site played an important role in the radicalization of members of the French-Belgian group.

One of them was a 25-year-old Frenchman, Walid Othmani. He was arrested on his return to Europe from Pakistan and is now in French custody. Belgian prosecutors told CNN Othmani has been charged in France with participation in a criminal conspiracy with the aim of preparing a terrorist act.

"I don't think I would have left to fight jihad without viewing these videos [on Minbar] ... it made me aware that the European media were hiding things about the situation in Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan," Othmani told French interrogators, according to Belgian legal documents obtained by CNN.

According to Belgian counter-terrorism officials, Garsallaoui, a Tunisian citizen, recruited some of those who traveled to Pakistan in person in Brussels, but relied on the Internet to recruit others.


One of the elements of the enemy recruiting has always been to portray themselves and Muslims as victims. You could see the same portrayals in early bin Laden al Qaeda videos. They are not above using faked atrocities and they make no attempt to put facts in context.

They certainly don't show the mass murder of fellow Muslims in their "involuntary" martyrdom operations. Those who are sucked in by the deceit and become traitors to their own countries deserve little sympathy. They must have been looking for such an excuse to begin with.


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