Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
September 26, 2016

Todenhöfer: Interview With Al-Nusra Commander "The Americans stand on our side"

This interview by Jürgen Todenhöfer was first published in German on September 26 2016 by the Kölner Stadtanzeiger, the major newspaper in the Cologne region. (The interview was copied and translated to English by Bernhard for educational and academic purposes.)

Interview with al-Nusra commander "The Americans stand on our side"

By Jürgen Todenhöfer

It was the seventh trip by my son Frederic and me to the civil war country Syria. We were there for 13 days. Words can only barely describe the extend of damage and suffering on both sides.

We conducted the interview ten days ago with a commander of the al-Qaida branch "Jabhat al-Nusra". Abu al-Ezz reported quite openly about his financiers Saudi-Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait. We were able to exactly research the identity of the man and know practically everything about him.

Interview in the stone quarry in Aleppo

The interview was arranged by a rebel from Aleppo. I have had contacts to Syrian rebels for years. It was conducted outside of Aleppo in a quarry in direct sight- and shooting-distance of Jabhat al-Nusra and could only be reached safely by a member of al-Nusra.

His fighters were partially not masked, i.e. easily identifiable. Part of his statements were nearly verbally confirmed shortly thereafter by a mufti in Aleppo. Other assertions about the lack of interest of rebels towards a ceasefire and an international aid-convoy also bore out. Just like his predictions about planned military activities in several cities of Syria.

Abu al-Ezz, commander, says about Jabhat al-Nusra (al-Qaeda): "We are one part of al-Qaeda. Our principles are: Fighting vice, pureness and security. Our affairs and our way have changed. Israel, for example, is now supporting us, because Israel is at war with Syria and with Hizbullah.

America also changed its opinion about us. Originally "IS" and us were one group. But "IS" was used in the interests of big states like America, for political reasons, and was steered away from our principles. It became clear to us that most of their leaders work with secret security services. We, Jabhat al-Nusra, have our own way. In the past they with us, they were our supporters.

Our aim is the downfall of the dictatorial regime, the tyrannical regime, the regime of the apostate. Our aim is the conduct of conquests, like [the great Arab general] Khaled ibn al-Walid made them. First in the Arab world and then in Europe."

Part 2 - The Interview by Jürgen Todenhöfer with the rebel commander Abu al-Ezz

Jürgen Todenhöfer: How is the relation between you and the United States? Does the U.S. support the rebels?

Abu al-Ezz: Yes, the U.S. support the opposition, but not directly. They support the countries which support us. But we are not yet satisfied with this support. They should support us with highly developed weapons. We have won battles thanks to the "TOW" missiles. We reached a balance with the regime through these missiles. We received the tanks from Libya through Turkey. Also the "BMs" - multiple rocket launchers. The regime excels us only with their fighter jets, missiles and missile launchers. We captured a share of its missile launchers and a large share came from abroad. But it is through the American "TOW" that we have the situation in some regions under control.

To whom did the U.S. hand those missiles before they were brought to you? Were those missiles first given to the Free Syrian Army by the U.S. and from there to you?

No, the missiles were give directly to us. They were delivered to a certain group. When the "road" was closed and we were besieged we had officers here from Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Israel and the United States.

What did those officers do?

Experts! Experts for the use of satellites, missiles, reconnaissance work, thermal surveillance cameras ...

Were there also American experts?

Yes, experts from several countries.

Including Americans?

Yes. The Americans are on our side, but not as it should be. For example we were told: We must capture and conquer "Battalion 47". Saudi Arabia gave us 500 million Syrian pounds. For taking the "al-Muslimiya" infantry school years ago we received from Kuwait 1.5 million Kuwaiti dinar and from Saudi Arabia 5 million U.S. dollars.

From the governments or from private persons?

From the governments.

The fight is difficult, the regime is strong and it has support from Russia ...?

We will fight until the downfall of the regime. We will fight Russia and the West because the West does not stand on our side. The West only sends us mujahedin, it facilitates the way of those fighters. Why doesn't the West support us properly? We have many fighters from Germany, France, Great Britain, America, from all western countries.

You have many fighters from Europe in Aleppo with the "al-Nusra front"?

Many, many, many!

How many?


What do you think about the ceasefire?

We do not recognize the ceasefire. We will reposition our groups. We will undertake in the next, in a few days an overwhelming attack against the regime. We have rearranged all our armed forces in all provinces, in Homs, Aleppo, Idlib and Hama.

You do not want those 40 trucks with aid supplies to bring those into the eastern part of Aleppo?

We have demands. As longs as the regime is positioned along Castello road, in al-Malah and in the northern areas we will not let those trucks pass. The regime must retreat from all areas in order for us to let the trucks pass. If a truck comes in despite that, we will arrest the driver.

Why did a few of your groups pull back a kilometer or 500 meters from the Castello road?

The regime used highly developed weapons against us. We received a backlash. That is why we silently retreated, to recover and to attack the regime anew. But this attack must lead to the downfall of the regime.

So that was a trick, a military tactic?

Yes, it was a military tactic.

Was the aim of this tactic to receive food or the reallocation of fighters?

We did not agree to the ceasefire.

Does that hold only for the al-Nusra Front or for all other groups, the rest of your allies?

The applies to all our integrated groups, who are our allies.

Islamic Front, Islamic Army?

They are all with us. We are all the al-Nusra Front. A groups is created and calls itself "Islamic Army", or "Fateh al-Sham". Each group has its own name but their believe is homogeneous. The general name is al-Nusra Front. One person has, for example, 2,000 fighters. Then het creates from these a new group and calls it "Ahrar al-Sham". Brothers, who's believe, thoughts and aims are identical to those of al-Nusra Front.

Is that your own opinion or also the opinion of higher management levels?

That is the general opinion. But if someone comes to you and makes you a 'moderate fighter' and offers you to eat and to drink, will you accept that or not?

450,000 people were killed in this war. I have been to Aleppo and Homs. Many parts are destroyed. If the war continues the whole country will be destroyed. Millions will die. ... In Germany we once had the 'Thirty Years' War' ...

We are now only 5 years at war, that is comparatively short!

Would you accept someone from the Assad-regime within a transitional government?

We accept no one from the Assad-regime or from the Free Syrian Army, which is called moderate. Our aim is the downfall of the regime and the founding of an Islamic state according to the Islamic sharia.

The people of Aloush, who traveled to Geneva for negotiations, accepted a transitional government.

There are Syrian mercenaries. Aloush fights with the al-Nusra Front. The groups Turkey houses and from which the Free Syrian Army was created have earlier been with al-Nusra Front. These people are weak people, they received a lot of money, they sold themselves. They must follow the orders of their sponsors.

The "Islamic Army and the "ISlamic Front" negotiate in Geneva

Because their leaders were produced in the West. They are counseled and paid by western secret services and the secret services of the Gulf states to fulfill the aims of those countries.

We are here at the most forward observation point of the Sheik Said area. This are is under our control. Behind those houses and al-Majbal are regime soldiers. Our armed forces are 200 meters from here.


You can read the original German version of the interview at the Kölner Stadtanzeiger

Posted by b on September 26, 2016 at 11:33 UTC | Permalink

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@99 smuks, 'Parts of German political and economic elite are getting nervous. Had hoped for real agreement between Russia and US, now see risk of real escalation, plus uncertainty due to US elections.'

Hope you're right. It seems there must be a split between Europe (Germany, the rest will follow) and the USA if the US wars are not going to engulf us all.

Posted by: jfl | Sep 27 2016 2:24 utc | 101

James, of course I've been following "Bellingcat" and his follies. I was just wondering if any blogger had breached the topic yet, re: these false-flag backstage props("Russian" bombs") likely originating from post-coup Ukraine. Aside from the bomb detritus being obviously planted in these terrorist "ground zeros" to implicate the brutality of Russia, as policy, whether it be "barrel bombs", "chemical weapons canisters" or "Soviet bombs", the actual likely origin of the parts themselves seems relevant and elucidatory wrt the current state-sponsored global terror threat.

Posted by: sejomoje | Sep 27 2016 2:31 utc | 102

@102 sejomoje.. i thought the article by patrick armstrong was pretty good.. the comments added to it's value.. someone had brought up bellingcat here a week or so ago wanting feedback.. mine was it is a propaganda shop.. i guess they used to be pretty good at it, but it seems they are slipping badly.. maybe the uk/us isn't paying them as much anymore?

Posted by: james | Sep 27 2016 2:37 utc | 103

Posted by: Laguerre | Sep 26, 2016 6:24:21 PM | 81

Actually me as a German am glad that the Euro Zone is printing more Euros than Germany under Merkel would have printed Deutsch Marks by government spending. Without the Euro and France austerity in Germany would have been much worse.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 27 2016 2:46 utc | 104

jfl@98 - Thanks, jfl. Interesting. I'm largely ignorant of the Bosnian/Serbian thing. The only two things I recall about it were 1) according to the MSM, we (the U.S.) liberitated and freedomized some folks because we're good like that, and 2) a British sergeant and his commanding officer, Lt. Gen. Michael Jackson, likely prevented WWIII by refusing orders from then NATO Supreme Allied Commander, U.S. traitor Gen. Wesley Clark, to attack the contingent of Russians holding the Pristina airport.

Not sure if the U.S. ever thanked Gen. Jackson and his troops properly for preventing our nuclear annihilation at the hand of one of our own military leaders, so thanks guys. Good work. Sorry about sado-neocon Clark. He has... issues.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Sep 27 2016 3:25 utc | 105

The actual fabrication of "Al Qaida" and subsequent mujahideen (jihadis) goes back to the KLA and Bosniak auxiliaries trained and equiped for the dismantling of Tito's Yugoslavia then moved to Afghanistan amalgamating with local pashtuns and rebranded as "Taliban" to be eventually swung back to Irak post-invasion seeding what would become ISIS once they were done liquidating Gaddafi's Libya..

Mind you this is all "original research" (according to Wiki's standard ;)

The whole GWOT is simply perpetuating an undefeatable shape shifting enemy for imperial purposes.
These are the requirements of the Service. We really are in Orwellian times..

Posted by: Lozion | Sep 27 2016 3:44 utc | 106

@105 PW, 'Not sure if the U.S. ever thanked Gen. Jackson and his troops properly for preventing our nuclear annihilation at the hand of one of our own military leaders, so thanks guys. Good work'

Looks like the Brits appreciated him ...

Upon his return to the UK, Jackson was promoted to full general and appointed Commander-in-Chief, Land Command, the second-most senior position in the British Army. After three years as Commander-in-Chief, Jackson was appointed Chief of the General Staff (CGS), the professional head of the British Army, in 2003

There's a link in that Fort Russ piece to an interview with Chomsky in 2006, that can refresh all our memories on the dawn of the R2P era and the R2P 'intellectuals'.

@106, Lozion

I hadn't realized that al-CIAduh was created before Afghanistan. I'll have to look it up.

Posted by: jfl | Sep 27 2016 4:39 utc | 107

I am guessing that some folks have seen this article here on MoA and copied/reposted it everywhere on the Web. It's already appeared in places like ZH and RT. Just a matter of time before it's full mainstream.

Good work everyone, except the Websayanim - you boys DAHUF and advise Shuki with the HQ their Al Qaidah embedded command in Aleppo been compromised by an retard talking to a Kraut

Posted by: Quadriad | Sep 27 2016 5:10 utc | 108

Finally an article that can settle an old bet in my favor.

My bet was that ISIS split from Al Qaida as ISIS was an rogue American/Turkish/Saudi joint venture, whereas the parent AQ has been Israli gun for hire outfit working false flag contracts for the highest bidder (eg. US Deep State for 9/11), so somewhat more ethical than ISIS (eg. an alternate universe neo-Yeltsinite Russia could have potentially hired Al Qaida / Mossad to false flag their "homeland" for their own purposes).

Not as crackpot as I myself thought my craziest theory was at the time.

Posted by: Quadriad | Sep 27 2016 5:18 utc | 109

@32 "It's hard to know what audience Powers is trying to reach in that speech. Other diplomats at the UN? US elites? The Western public? My guess is that this is just a feel-good measure by the Obama administration: we have to do something."

The target audience is the Western public generally and the American public specifically.

Remember, the people reading this and similar blogs are not representative of the average Westerner who gets his or her information solely from the corporate and public mass media, i.e. the propaganda arm of the ruling elites. Many, if not most, Americans think Iran and Hezbollah are allies of ISIS and AQ, think Wahhabi is something that comes with their sushi and feel awful about that demonic eye doctor Assad slaughtering innocents with "barrel bombs" while the democratic and freedom loving Saudi princes valiantly support the Syrian opposition in their brave struggle to bring freedom and democracy to the Syrian people.

The fact is that Al Qaeda, which was used as an excuse to curtail rights and civil liberties, expand the reach of the state into people's lives and wage wars that killed hundreds of thousands of Muslims, is now fighting the good fight for Uncle Sam and his bullying pal Benji Israel...and nobody seems to notice. Or they just don't care. These are the people who have no critical faculties to act as bullshit detectors and they will swallow Power's beef patty and not even notice the funny texture and awful aftertaste. Besides, Syria is far far away and Americans have a hard enough time parsing the idea that there is a world outside of America's borders.

It's going to be a nasty 4-8 years of President Trump (I don't think he'll win) or President Clinton (she will win...I am sure of it). And in today's identity politics über alles climate you can be sure valid criticism of President Clinton and her top female underlings (Nuland, Power and whatshername) will be jumped on by the Guardian, CNN, NYT etc. as the mad ravings of misogynists and self-hating women. Add to that the looming economic collapse and there's a good chance blood will flow down the gutters of European streets once again and this time it will stain the streets and avenues of the "homeland" red as well.

I can't predict the future of course but my intuition is uncomfortably reliable. I really wish it wasn't.

Great blog, btw, apologies for the ramble.

Posted by: Temporarily Sane | Sep 27 2016 9:48 utc | 110

Just published: Video of the Todenhöfer interview with AQ commander

Posted by: b | Sep 27 2016 11:25 utc | 111

US senator Richard Black from VA apologizes about the Der Ezzor massacre in a letter to the Syrian UN ambassador

Posted by: virgile | Sep 27 2016 12:03 utc | 112

ISIS forces ex-Baath professionels

I still think this theory likely. Same as Baath used secular socialism against Iran they used Salafism - getting paid by Gulf countries and support from Turkey for the ethnic cleansing of Syria and Iraq.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 27 2016 13:18 utc | 113

Well,yeah,Trump massaged the Israelis,but the picture of the two shaking hands ,for the first time ever,showed Yahoo with no smirk on his face when greeting his usual US lackeys,and Trump was the alpha male in the photo.
A more important photo was M Obomba hugging the shrub.I mean really,change we could believe in.Jesus.

Posted by: dahoit | Sep 27 2016 13:22 utc | 114

Blame-shifting US establishment style.
FP article puts blame on Qatar as if they're the only ones. How conveeenient! Any American citizen trying to pay attention via basic US media faces a con game like Three Card Monte.

Foreign Policy- the Case Against Qatar

I was searching back through Google for western media reporting about Deir Ezzor and could not find much of anything. But I did find a CNN article and YES the US officials did use the word "regret" (which means never having to say you're sorry).

Posted by: Curtis | Sep 27 2016 13:50 utc | 115

@110 TS, ' Add to that the looming economic collapse and there's a good chance blood will flow down the gutters of European streets once again and this time it will stain the streets and avenues of the "homeland" red as well. '

Funny you should mention economic collapse ...

Deutsche Bank plunge sparks talk of “Lehman moment”

“The DoJ is asking for 10 times more from Deutsche than they asked from any of its US peers, with no disclosure—it is extortion,” Davide Serra, the founder of a company which invests in the debt of European banks told the Financial Times.

The decision by the EU to impose a €13 billion payment on Apple for back taxes over a deal with the Irish government which brought strong opposition from major US corporations and the US treasury.

The row over Apple was followed by statements from Germany and France that have virtually ended negotiations over the US push to establish a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) to cover its trade and financial dealings in Europe. Together with the Trans Pacific Partnership, covering the Asian region, but excluding China, the US regards the TTIP as crucial to maintaining its position of global economic dominance.

But earlier this month German finance minister Sigmar Gabriel rendered negotiations dead in the water, declaring that “we as European naturally cannot submit to American demands.”

The crisis over Deutsche Bank points to two interconnected processes. First, far from having been resolved, all the contradictions of the global financial system that exploded eight years ago not only remain, but have worsened. Second, that despite all rhetoric about cooperation and collaboration issuing from major economic summit meetings of world leaders, the global economy and financial system is increasingly becoming a battleground of each nation against all.

So the US is going all out to make Germany knuckle under? They don't need 'friends', or even vassals any more ... they need slaves?

This could be a step taken too far, already ... no matter what they do now to try to recover.

Posted by: jfl | Sep 27 2016 13:56 utc | 116

Does Todenhöfer translate as death dealer?

Posted by: jfl | Sep 27 2016 14:00 utc | 117

@110 Powers was reinforcing an old mantra for the benefit of the Western public. 'Barbarism' is something the West gave up long ago but evil Russians do all the time i.e. we are civilized, they never will be.

I think most Americans see the Middle East as an endless bunch of crazies killing each other....and they don't care so long as it stays 'over there'.

Posted by: dh | Sep 27 2016 14:33 utc | 118

In the FP article comments, there is some wisdom especially that Qatar does not deserve sole blame for chaos in the Middle East. It's more of "pot calling the kettle black" when all are guilty of this. Bad/strange bedfellows one and all. (But we do take information ammunition where we can and details of Qatari involvment are welcome.)

How Former Treasury Officials and the UAE Are Manipulating American Journalists
(to push anti-Qatar stories)

Posted by: Curtis | Sep 27 2016 15:05 utc | 119

Hey b @111, might you update your post and add a link to the video you did with the English subtitles?

Posted by: h | Sep 27 2016 15:47 utc | 120

@111 thanks b... i can't read german though! the story is true enough clearly..

Posted by: james | Sep 27 2016 15:54 utc | 121

just watching Daily Press Briefing September 26, a reporter asks(20:31, approx) tool Toner about the Todenhoefer interview. Fascinating antics ensue.

Posted by: ruralito | Sep 27 2016 16:07 utc | 122

Moscow Makes Public Full Text of Russia-US Deal on Syria -

Link to Russia-US deal at Russian Foreign Ministry site -

Posted by: h | Sep 27 2016 16:22 utc | 123

@122 Toner got rid of that one like a hot potato. 'Poppycock' he said.

Let's see if this link works....

Posted by: dh | Sep 27 2016 16:23 utc | 124

@123, haha, Firefox tried to block me from looking at the site. Says it's "insecure". Had to jump through a few hoops to get to it.

Posted by: ruralito | Sep 27 2016 17:22 utc | 125

I have a simpler explanation about this interview. The supposed commander of the al-Nusra Front, "Abu al-Aaz", is nothing more than an agent of the al-Assad regime. You just put a covert agent in front of a right-wing German journalist, who does not speak Arabic and is eager to belief any conspiratorial theory and then tell him all he wants to hear, thereby "confirming his own beliefs founded in made up facts". Then you provide this "commander" with a simple alibi from a "mufti in Aleppo", who "corroborates" the same story. That's all you need. The reality, is even more simple than you think... Todenhofer was set up by the Syrian government and he eagerly fell for it. It is such a simple trick that it may blow in his face if it were repeated and hammered by major News outlets worldwide. That is why Sputnik or even RT only offer a brief excerpt and not the entire interview. They don't want to be accused of having fall for such a simple trick or even of having instigated it when the ruse is discovered, and it certainly will if they were to publish this interview in its entirety, thereby soliciting a response from other major news outlets. Just common sense, folks. A commander of the al-Nusra Front (which, by the way, changed its name to Jabhat Fateh al-Sham more than a month ago -and it sounds quite weird that he appears not to be aware of it) will not speak freely to a German journalist revealing key tactical, political and strategical war secrets; much less casually revealing who provides them with key weapons necessary to win the war. If he tried to do that he will have his head cut off instantly by one of his commanders or any and all of his jihadi brothers in arms.

Posted by: Simply Me | Sep 27 2016 18:59 utc | 126

I have a complicated explanation for this interview.
I suspect that a significant proportion of influential German citizens are fed up with living the nightmare portrayed in Axel Brot's 2007 Asia Times 3-part series, Germany, The Re-engineered Ally.

If they're sick of being told how to run Germany, by a bunch of ignorant and uncultured Yokels from AmeriKKKa, who could blame them?
Not sure what it means, yet, but Germany is cracking down on Facebook/borg and the info it has collected in Germany. Faceborg is objecting to Germany's demands...

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Sep 27 2016 21:11 utc | 127

#126 Simply You Hillary

You seem to know a whole lot about Al Nusra/Al Qaida/Fatah Al Sham/Whatever The State Dept told them to rename themselves to.

How come?

Have you been embedded in Al Qaeda? Have you been the liaison/giving out instructions?

Anyway, why are you assuming that Al Nusra works and operaters exactly as clandestinely and in the manner the Western Defense services should be working? Why are you assuming they are looking for the exact same quality in individuals (secretiveness, dishonesty?). Are you telling us that YOU KNOW Al Qaida/Al Nusra, and that they would NEVER allow their commanders to spill the beans this way?

Anyway, if you are not just a NATO troll branding utter bull*it as "common sense", and know al Nusra as well as you imply you do (better than career Journalists who have interviewed many extremists over their decades of work), then WHY ARE YOU STILL NOT BEING QUESTIONED AT GITMO, MOHAMMAD/ARIEL?

Posted by: Quadriad | Sep 27 2016 21:32 utc | 128

#126 ho ho ho

One more question for the Simply Me Neocon Jewslim.

If Al Qaida/Al Nusra is "too competent" to allow field commanders to "spill the beans", how come this "Assad's spy" slipped through, and have you executed them yet?

If not, aren't you just utterly full of shit, my NATOISIS precious?

Posted by: Quadriad | Sep 27 2016 21:36 utc | 129

So are we thinking the content is correct and truthful but the interview staged?

Posted by: Pvp | Sep 28 2016 5:29 utc | 130

@Posted by: Petri Krohn | Sep 26, 2016 9:34:21 AM | 9
Appreciate all the work you do

Posted by: Cresty | Sep 28 2016 18:30 utc | 131

I was enthusiastic about this paper and share it but I came across that:

Jurgen Todenhofer fabricates the interview … ?

Posted by: Remy | Sep 29 2016 16:02 utc | 132

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