Al-Nusra commander claims to have received support from the West via western-backed partner nations. Whether or not it’s true, it’s worth considering.

It might be hogwash. But an Al-Nusra fighter tells a German reporter that, essentially, the West is behind them. But, also, ISIS and there’s more, too. There’s no doubt that Al-Nusra has a substantial amount of Western weapons and equipment via the rebels. The Nusra fighter and supposed commander told the German newsman quite a bit more than the West is behind them, according to

“A militant jihadist commander said that US weapons are being delivered to Jabhat Al-Nusra by governments that Washington supports, adding that American instructors were in Syria to teach how to use the new equipment.”

“Yes, the US supports the opposition [in Syria], but not directly. They support the countries that support us. But we are not yet satisfied with this support,” Jabhat al-Nusra unit commander Abu Al Ezz said in an interview with Koelner Stadt-Anzeiger newspaper from the city of Aleppo. According to the commander, the militants should be receiving more “sophisticated weapons” from their backers to succeed against the Syrian government.

See the video of the interview here:

Al-Nusra interview

The article included an overview of the interview, as follows:

“For those pressed for time, below is a summary of what the Al-Nusra commander said:

  • They are directly supported by the US
  • They received tanks and other heavy weaponry via Libya and Turkey
  • They got officers and experts from the US, Israel, Turkey inside Aleppo
  • The commanders of IS are led by Western intelligence
  • They are against cease-fires and aid deliveries
  • “The U.S. is on our side”

In the full interview, the commander notes that “The fight is difficult. The regime is strong and gets support from Russia,” the jihadist explained. Al Ezz said that Jabhat Al-Nusra “won battles thanks to TOW rockets. Due to these rockets, we reached a balance with the regime. Our tanks came from Libya via Turkey, joined by the [BM-21] multiple rocket launchers,” he said.””

If true this is an interesting and problematic revelation. Instead of Al-Nusra and FSA flirting and sharing fighters on purpose or not, this is direct support by way of a third party. It’s possible that, if US officials are aware of partner nations directly supporting Al-Nusra. The fact they changed their name might play a role. Also, the partner nation may not know. If the partner country is unaware of the group’s affiliation or past affiliation with Al-Nusra (Because extremist groups lie about their ties) it might be problematic to tell them they’re making a mistake as we have a formal arrangement. We can encourage our partners and provide advice. However, they make their decisions. Our patience is wearing thin with our allies, and it’s reasonable to assume trust is not at an all-time high, besides for relations with Jordan. But, even then, there are issues reported at the tactical level with mishandled aid. Furthermore, if the U.S. had knowledge that groups have extremist ties but ascertained them in a way that might compromise identities, sensitive collection methods or technology, or political precautions they can’t tell them directly. Also, Turkey has a prominent political role to play in the region and the world. Both economically and for security. Additionally, the NATO status makes it difficult and could cause drama to accuse them of nefarious activity. Because it is supposed to be one team, one fight. There could be a myriad of reasons for a third party misevaluation of ground forces could lead Western supplies and training into the wrong hands. However, there’s no way Nusra is supported. Equal zero chance that the West is backing them. These are outrageous claims.

Let’s hope this has nothing to do with Al-Nusra’s rebranding strategy. If so, Al-Nusra has perfected marketing akin to the “Pepsi generation.”

The fact this the only indicator of who you’re working with is what you see, observe and your gut feeling. That human sign that tells you most of what you need to know about someone. It feels as though we’re using a variant of Tinder for picking rebels. Tinder is not how we win this.

This civil war is beyond control, and we cannot afford to pick sides without our equities being misplaced. We might want to rethink and reevaluate virtually every program associated with the war in Syria. The prospect of Syria becoming the next Afghanistan would be dangerous for global stability.

Featured image courtesy of