Synopses & Reviews
Al Qaeda is the most dangerous terrorist movement in history. Yet most people in the Americas and Europe know very little about it, or their view is clouded by misperceptions and half truths. If the first rule of war is to know your enemy, then we have a long way to go. This important book fills this gap with a comprehensive analysis of al Qaeda --the origins, leadership, ideology, and strategy of the terrorist network that brought down the Twin Towers and continues to threaten us today.Bruce Riedel is an expert on the Middle East and South Asia, with thirty years of intelligence and policymaking experience. He was actually in the White House Situation Room during the 9/11 attacks, serving as special assistant to the president and National Security Council senior director for Near East Affairs. He draws on this insider experience in profiling the four most important figures in the al Qaeda movement: Osama bin Laden, its creator and charismatic leader; ideologue Ayman Zawahiri, its Egyptian coleader and principal spokesman; Abu Musaib al Zarqawi, leader of al Qaeda in Iraq until his death in 2006; and Mullah Omar, its Taliban host. These profiles provide the base from which Riedel delivers a much clearer understanding of al Qaeda and what must be done to counter it.Th e Search for al Qaeda reviews how al Qaeda was created and developed, presenting authoritative and chilling background on The Manhattan Raid, but Riedel focuses more closely on what has happened to it since that awful day. He outlines al Qaeda's ultimate goals, which are to drive America out of the Muslim world, to destroy Israel, and to create a jihadist caliphate larger than the Ottoman Empire at its height. The profiles and subsequent analysis reveal the network's multipronged strategy for accomplishing those goals: - Draw America into bleeding wars like the one that drove the Soviets from Afghanistan.- Build a safe haven for al Qaeda in Pakistan.- Develop other franchises in the Islamic world that can overthrow pro-American regimes.- Conduct more Western attacks along the lines of 9/11 or the transit bombings in Madrid and London.The book concludes with a strategy for dealing with --and defeating --this most dangerous menace.
"Riedel, senior fellow at the Brookings Institute and senior adviser on the Middle East to three past presidents, reviews how al-Qaeda has flourished since the September 11 attacks with 'franchises' mushrooming around the world. The author surveys al-Qaeda's origins, workings and key members and introduces fresh information about the organization's ideology and future plans. Riedel warns against conflating the war against al-Qaeda with the current war in Iraq ('the president chose to declare war not on al Qaeda, but on 'terrorism,' a concept that he and Vice President Dick Cheney arrived at by confusing 9/11 with Saddam Hussein's Iraq') and demonstrates how U.S. actions compound 'the public's ignorance and vulnerability.' He argues that concentrating forces in Iraq has diverted attention and presence from Afghanistan and Pakistan, the hotbeds of jihadist organization, and suggests redirecting the military back to the 'badlands' of the Afghan-Pakistan border while offering economic aid to forestall the extremism that thrives in destitute areas. Riedel's argument in favor of greater U.S. involvement in the Arab-Israeli peace process is persuasive, and his prescriptions are well-evidenced, unfailingly sound and refreshingly sensible." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)