The Secret History of al Qaeda

By Abdel Bari Atwan

During the last ten years, journalist and al-Qa'ida specialist Abdel Bari Atwan has cultivated uniquely well-placed resources and accumulated a wealth of knowledge approximately al-Qa'ida's origins, masterminds and plans for the longer term. Atwan unearths how al-Qa'ida's radical departure from the vintage terrorist/guerrilla blueprint has enabled it to outpace much less adaptable efforts to neutralize it. The fanaticism of its warring parties, and their willingness to kill and be killed, are matched through the leadership's opportunistic recruitment recommendations and complex knowing of psychology, media, and new expertise - together with using the net for education, aid, and communications. Atwan exhibits that faraway from committing acts of violence randomly and indiscriminately, al-Qa'ida assaults ambitions in keeping with a decisive layout underwritten by way of unwavering endurance. He additionally argues that occasions in Iraq and Saudi Arabia are watershed moments within the group's evolution which are making it extra harmful through the day, because it refines and appropriates the concept that of jihad and makes the suicide bomber an everlasting characteristic of an international holy conflict. whereas Osama bin encumbered and Ayman al-Zawahiri stay al-Qa'ida's figureheads, Atwan identifies a brand new form of chief made attainable by way of its horizontal chain of command, epitomized by means of the brutal Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi in Iraq and the bombers of London, Madrid, Amman, Bali, and in other places. Scholarly, analytical, goal, it's also intensely readable, being via a long way the easiest publication at the subject.' Tony Benn 'This is a must-read publication for someone drawn to realizing our more and more frightening world.' Gavin Esler 'What shines out ... is a profound wish to examine and demonstrate the reality. clever and informative.' Jason Burke, dad or mum 'Deeply researched, good stated and entire of attention-grabbing and fabulous analyses. It calls for to be read.' Peter Bergen, writer of Holy conflict, Inc

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The suicide belt was once pioneered by way of the Tamil Tigers in 1991. a tender girl named Dhanu assassinated Indian best Minister Rajiv Gandhi, impending him with a garland of plant life. rather than putting it around his neck she blew herself up besides him. simply as al-Zarqawi’s al Qaeda within the Land of the 2 Rivers may do twelve years later, the Tamil Tigers made yes such assaults have been captured on movie for recruitment and evaluate reasons. In Iraq the vast majority of suicide assaults originate from al Qaeda within the Land of the 2 Rivers and are conducted mostly now not by means of Iraqis yet by way of zealous recruits from everywhere in the Muslim international who're flooding to Iraq of their enormous quantities with just one goal in brain – martyrdom. usually those younger males have had no army education and can't even deal with a gun. The Salafi-jihadi umbrella staff Jaish Ansar al-Sunnah (JAS) has additionally conducted numerous suicide assaults and the Shi‘i cleric Moqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi military has been recognized to hold out suicide missions, yet simply in extremis and whilst an identical outcome can't be acquired through extra traditional capacity. nearly all of the insurgents are secular ex-Ba‘th or military individuals, who're against suicide bombings and like traditional technique of assault – often with snipers, ambushes or RPG bombardments. On nine November 2005, despite the fact that, 3 Iraqi nationals believed to were despatched by way of al Qaeda in Iraq, conducted suicide assaults on 3 motels in Amman, Jordan. of the bombers have been simply twenty-three years outdated, pointing to a brand new phenomenon – the ‘sanctions generation’, home-grown Iraqi suicide bomber. those are youngsters who grew up below the serious hardships inflicted by means of US sanctions following the 1st Gulf struggle. They have been extra conversant in Islam than their mom and dad as a result of Saddam Hussein’s coverage within the Nineteen Nineties permitting Islam to exert extra effect in way of life. ‘This iteration are extra open to jihadi persuasions,’ Dr Haitham Zubaidi, an Iraqi educational now dwelling in London, explains: ‘They have tasted the humiliation folks oppression and listened to the demands revenge usually voiced in mosques. ’ so much suicide assaults pre-11 September have been aimed toward army, monetary or administrative goals – so-called ‘hard targets’. concentrating on civilians in housing compounds, eating places, nightclubs, mosques, and so forth – ‘soft objectives’ – has been proven to weaken well known help for al Qaeda (this used to be most obvious in Saudi Arabia in 2003 and 2004). although, al Qaeda within the Land of the 2 Rivers has a unique, even more ruthless presence, first imposed by way of the past due al-Zarqawi, and demonstrates overall indifference to ‘collateral damage’. occasionally a suicide bomber probably aiming for an army objective detonates upfront or inaccurately, suggesting that the suicide bomber’s own hope for martyrdom is extra compelling than the meant strategic effect of his or her motion. extra lately in Iraq, besides the fact that, al Qaeda has followed a brand new coverage – that of widening the scope of ambitions it considers valid to incorporate Shi‘is, hence vastly expanding the possibilities of a sectarian civil struggle.

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