Understanding al Qaeda

2019-03-05

in Daily updates

I’m now halfway through Ali Soufan’s Anatomy of Terror: From the Death of Bin Laden to the Rise of the Islamic State. Like his earlier Black Banners it’s both informative and accessible, going into considerable detail on the motivations and internal deliberations and conflicts of jihadi terror groups. While Black Banners was much more about Soufan’s personal story, Anatomy of Terror is structured around the lives of a succession of important figures in the emergence of al Qaeda and the Islamic State, including Saif al-Adel and Abu Museb al-Zarqawi.

It’s important history to understand, especially from the perspective of analyzing western foreign and security policy over the last 15 years or more. I’ll post some especially interesting quotes one I get through with the book.

This sort of reading, which doesn’t relate directly to my teaching, coursework, or research, is a vital form of relaxation for me. It’s intellectually engaging and complex, but for me doesn’t produce much of an emotional response. I also find that I get through it very efficiently, in frustrating contrast to things which I really need to read but sometimes struggle to get through every paragraph and page of.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

anon May 17, 2019 at 4:10 pm

How many of the people who have run America’s War On Terror since 2001 have any notion of al Qaeda’s real history or motivations?

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