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Home / Spotlight / ‘They wish to win and they are prepared to die’: Lessons from 10 days with a …
‘They wish to win and they are prepared to die’: Lessons from 10 days with a …

‘They wish to win and they are prepared to die’: Lessons from 10 days with a …


GWEN IFILL: The American-led bloc fighting a Islamic State organisation suffered a blow progressing today.

U.S. Central Command released a matter observant that a Jordanian F-16 warplane crashed in Northern Syria. The jet’s commander was apprehended by Islamic State fighters. It’s a initial time a bloc use member has depressed into a jihadist group’s hands.

Apart from a high-profile slayings of American reporters and unfamiliar assist workers, brutality, and fast land grabs in Iraq and Syria, unequivocally small is famous about a classification also famous as ISIS or ISIL.

Tonight, we hear from one Westerner who usually spent 10 days inside Islamic State domain and lived to tell about it.

German author, activist, and former politician Jurgen Todenhofer did a clearly impossible. After months of negotiating over Skype, he won a created confidence pledge from Islamic State forces, extenuation protected thoroughfare by their territory, so he could investigate an arriving book.

Todenhofer and his son entered by a limit channel in Turkey and were taken to a Syrian city of Raqqa, a Islamic State’s chair of power, and afterwards to a Iraqi city of Mosul. They were firmly supervised, though authorised to fire interviews with Islamic State fighters and even prisoners.

MAN: What did they tell you?  What will occur to you?  Will we be giveaway one day?

MAN (through interpreter): They said, your supervision and we are prisoners of a Islamic State. And that’s what they said. They didn’t contend we will kill we or massacre you.

GWEN IFILL: The author also reported saying low-flying U.S. aircraft. He left Islamic State domain a few days ago and is now behind in Germany.

I spoke to Jurgen Todenhofer progressing today.

Mr. Todenhofer, appreciate we for fasten us.

I wish to start by seeking we since we motionless to go behind a lines with Islamic State forces.

JURGEN TODENHOFER, Author: Because we started to write a book about ISIS during a commencement of a year.

And after some months, we satisfied that there was no genuine authentic information. And, usually, when we write a book about Afghanistan, we go to Karzai, a president, Karzai, and we went to a Taliban, a leaders of a Taliban.

And we went to Iraq. we met a government. And we met a Iraqi resistance. we spent 7 days with them. So it’s my normal plan when we write something that we pronounce to both sides.

GWEN IFILL: You didn’t go by yourself. You went with your son. And what I’m extraordinary about was how we got in. Who do we call to get behind a force — a lines with ISIS forces?

JURGEN TODENHOFER: we called — we wrote to around about 80 German jihadists that were on Facebook.

I got about 15 answers. And with these 15 people, we started Skype conversations 7 months ago. And, during a end, dual were interesting. And with these dual people, we Skyped maybe 20 hours altogether. And we had prolonged discussions about their brutality, about their religion, and we had also prolonged discussions about a guarantee, since we pronounced we would usually come to a nation if we would get a transparent guarantee.

And we got a pledge from a bureau of a caliph. The problem was usually that it wasn’t totally certain if a pledge was unequivocally given by a bureau of a caliph. we couldn’t infer it. So a discussions continued. And during a end, we had a sense that a pledge was correct. And we started.

GWEN IFILL: So we kind of took a risk that this was genuine.

Did we have to make any pledges of devotion to a caliphate in sequence to benefit access?

JURGEN TODENHOFER: No, not one word, one certain word.

They knew that we had created several times unequivocally tough and vicious articles opposite I.S. They knew that we had met several times President Assad. They knew all that. And we told them. we said, we know, we have review what we have pronounced about you.

And they said, we don’t caring about your personal opinion.

GWEN IFILL: So, what were your impressions about how clever ISIS is?  There is some discuss here and around a universe about a range of a Islamic State forces, either it functions as a government, either it has a probity complement and what a ultimate idea is. What impressions did we take away?

JURGEN TODENHOFER: we got a sense that I.S. is many stronger than a Western politicians think.

I have met a Taliban several times, their leaders. we was in a Algerian war. we met a Front Liberal — National Liberation, that knocked down a French. we have seen very, unequivocally clever riotous troops.

But we consider I.S. is a strongest we met, since they have an that is incredible. And they think, they trust that they have a chronological mission. And this goal is to destroy all a religions besides a 3  religions, besides a Jews, a Christians and a Muslims, a Muslims in I.S. style, that means to destroy all a Muslims that are not — who are not democratic.

A Muslim who is approved has, as they told me, to be killed since he puts laws done by male above laws done by God. And if they make these beheadings, they don’t have a feeling that they do something bad. They think, yes, we do it. It is necessary.

GWEN IFILL: There is many review as good about a liquid of unfamiliar fighters from a United States and other places. Did we see justification of that?

JURGEN TODENHOFER: we consider a unfamiliar fighters play, generally in Syria, a unequivocally critical purpose in Syria; 70 percent of a fighters are foreigners.

And, in Iraq, 30 percent are unfamiliar fighters. And these unfamiliar fighters are eager too. we was — we spent a dual final days of my stay in a kind of recruitment house. It’s a initial residence where a people from Europe or from a United States arrive. And we met French people.

I met U.K. people. But we met also Americans. we met Americans from New Jersey. we met people from a Caribbean who had usually upheld their law examination and who cite to quarrel in a Islamic State, instead of being a successful lawyer.

And each day, some-more than 50 people arrived usually in this recruitment center. And they have several. So they can remove a hundred group in one day. It doesn’t matter.

GWEN IFILL: You spent time in Iraq and in Syria, in Raqqa and in Mosul. Was there a disproportion in what we saw in those dual places?

JURGEN TODENHOFER: Here, we usually can give an impression.

I had a sense that, in Mosul, their support is stronger, since in Mosul now, we have usually Sunnis, since a Shias, a Yazidis and a Christians have been killed or forced to flee, and that in Raqqa, Bashar al-Assad is still during slightest as clever as I.S.

That is what I.S. fighters told me. And Assad is operative also with a trick. He is still personification — profitable salaries to his people in Raqqa and it seems to work. So Raqqa — a conditions in Raqqa is not unequivocally clear.

GWEN IFILL: How does I.S. compare, in your impression, to al-Qaida?

JURGEN TODENHOFER: Al-Qaida is a non — an dull torpedo beside I.S. I.S. is many stronger. There is no comparison.

Al-Qaida has never been as strong, even in a times of Osama bin Laden, has never been as clever as al-Baghdadi. And even if this al-Baghdadi, this so caliph will die, a subsequent one will come, since they have — they consider that they have this chronological mission. And they see that a West doesn’t have a successful strategy. There is no strategy.

You can't bomb, we can't hit down these 5,000 fighters, I.S. fighters in Mosul in a city of 3 million inhabitants, residents, since they don’t live in one unit or in one residence or in dual houses or 5 houses. They live in opposite apartments, in each apartment, one or two. They don’t hang together.

So we can't torpedo a whole city of Mosul usually to quarrel down 5,000 fighters. And if we send your troops, even your best troops, we consider they would have unequivocally small chances to quarrel in a riotous quarrel in a large city, since an American soldier, even your best soldier, a Marines or special forces, they wish to come home. They wish to survive. But these people wish to die. They wish to win and they are prepared to die.

GWEN IFILL: For many Americans, their usually bearing to ISIS is what they do to Western hostages. How did we get out?  How were we not taken warrant and killed?

JURGEN TODENHOFER: we had this guarantee.

And a pledge of a caliph is a many critical request that we can have in this country. we had to fear, we think, many some-more a bombardments by a Syrians and also by Americans. Some Americans’ airplanes infrequently have been very, unequivocally low.

And when a driver, who was a Secret Service guy, was pushing between Raqqa and Mosul, he was always examination by a window to see if American drones were following us. So, we consider my risk to be beheaded wasn’t too high. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have gone.

GWEN IFILL: Jurgen Todenhofer, appreciate we so many for fasten us and revelation us your story.

JURGEN TODENHOFER: Thank we unequivocally much.

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