The Secret History of Al Qaeda

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University of California Press, 2006 - History - 256 pages
3 Reviews
Drawing on unparalleled access to Osama bin Laden and his key associates, journalist Abdel Bari Atwan gives an incisive and timely account, the clearest we have so far, of the rise of the notorious terrorist organization, al Qaeda. In this lively narrative, the author establishes what al Qaeda is or has become, what it wants, what its capabilities are, and how the West can answer its complaints and challenges.
The only Western-based journalist to have spent time with Osama bin Laden, Atwan begins with an engrossing personal record of his 1996 trip to visit al Qaeda's founder and guide at his Tora Bora hideout. He takes an in-depth look at bin-Laden, presenting a nuanced portrait of the man and a description of his development as the prime exponent of jihad today. Atwan reveals how al Qaeda's radical departure from the classical terrorist/guerilla blueprint has enabled less adaptable efforts to neutralize it. The fanaticism of its fighters, and their willingness to kill and be killed, are matched by the leadership's opportunistic recruitment strategies and sophisticated understanding of psychology, media and new technology--including the use of the Internet for training, support and communications. Atwan's outspoken London-based newspaper al-Quds al-Arabi, of which he is Editor-in-Chief, has been the vehicle of choice for the release of many al Qaeda electronic communiqus.
The Secret History of al Qaeda reveals events in Iraq and Saudi Arabia as watershed moments in the organization's evolution that are making it more dangerous by the day. Atwan efficiently charts how the concept of jihad is being refined and appropriated, how a new kind of leader has been made possible by al Qaeda's horizontal chain of command, the making of the suicide bomber as a permanent feature of a global holy war, al Qaeda's economic strategy, and how the war in Iraq has transformed that country into a breeding ground for the most ruthless and militant al Qaeda fighters to date.
Copub: Saqi Books Drawing on unparalleled access to Osama bin Laden and his key associates, journalist Abdel Bari Atwan gives an incisive and timely account, the clearest we have so far, of the rise of the notorious terrorist organization, al Qaeda. In this lively narrative, the author establishes what al Qaeda is or has become, what it wants, what its capabilities are, and how the West can answer its complaints and challenges.
The only Western-based journalist to have spent time with Osama bin Laden, Atwan begins with an engrossing personal record of his 1996 trip to visit al Qaeda's founder and guide at his Tora Bora hideout. He takes an in-depth look at bin-Laden, presenting a nuanced portrait of the man and a description of his development as the prime exponent of jihad today. Atwan reveals how al Qaeda's radical departure from the classical terrorist/guerilla blueprint has enabled less adaptable efforts to neutralize it. The fanaticism of its fighters, and their willingness to kill and be killed, are matched by the leadership's opportunistic recruitment strategies and sophisticated understanding of psychology, media and new technology--including the use of the Internet for training, support and communications. Atwan's outspoken London-based newspaper al-Quds al-Arabi, of which he is Editor-in-Chief, has been the vehicle of choice for the release of many al Qaeda electronic communiqus.
The Secret History of al Qaeda reveals events in Iraq and Saudi Arabia as watershed moments in the organization's evolution that are making it more dangerous by the day. Atwan efficiently charts how the concept of jihad is being refined and appropriated, how a new kind of leader has been made possible by al Qaeda's horizontal chain of command, the making of the suicide bomber as a permanent feature of a global holy war, al Qaeda's economic strategy, and how the war in Iraq has transformed that country into a breeding ground for the most ruthless and militant al Qaeda fighters to date.
Copub: Saqi Books
  

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The secret history of al Qaeda

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In the last two years, quite a few books have been published about al Qaeda and its leader, Osama bin Laden. Most shed light on our understanding of how al Qaeda emerged as a potent threat to regimes ... Read full review

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Terrorism: Reality of Invisible Balance of Power
Naveed Ahmed
In his book, Invisible Balance of Power, published in 2005, Sajjad Shaukat has taken present ‘different war’ as an interaction of
‘state terrorism’ led by the United States and the ‘group terrorism’ by the Al Qaeda or Islamic militants. A number of authors have written books about the 9/11 tragedy, but ground realities developed in accordance with the book. After seeing the main title, some people think that the book is against the US-led western allies, but without any prejudice, he has discussed both the sovereign and non-sovereign entities on parallel lines in this research-based book. On the one hand, he pointed out Al Qaeda’s ambush attacks, targeted killings, beheadings etc., while on the other, he mentioned special operations by the US forces in Afghanistan and Iraq, and CIA-tortures cells in various small countries. In this regard, missile strikes by the drones on Pakistan’s tribal areas and elsewhere amounts to state terrorism, which are being responded by the internal backlash. Shaukat proves that both the warring parties kill innocent civilians through ruthless terror.
Giving references of the power-theorists like Machiavelli, Morgentahu, Kissinger etc., Shaukat has written that power factor or use of force has failed in this different war which took origin from the privileged and unprivileged status quo.
Shaukat introduced new ideas about the issues relating to the Islamic ideology, Jihad, Western World, liberalism, power diplomacy on the Third World by the US-led major countries, globalization, harsh conditions by the IMF and World Bank, causes of suicide attacks etc.
Author’s future observations like a prolonged war, failure of military paradigm by the state actors, increase in US cost of war, more terrorism, failure of NATO in Afghanistan, plane plot in UK, the defeat of Israel in 2006 war by the Lebanon-based Hezbollah, international financial crisis, warlike situation between America and Iran, Syria and Israel including other developments like Israeli attacks on Palestinians, similar forms of state terrorism in the Indian-held Kashmir, occupation of Iraq’s areas by the Jihadists-ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) proved correct.
Indicating the failure of coercive diplomacy, the author also predicted that that in case of a protracted war with the insurgents, the US bargaining leverage would reduce on small countries. It happens so, as North Korea, Venezuela, Iran, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Cuba and Turkey have rejected American undue pressure on a number of issues and matters. Besides, Russia and China have stood together to cope with the US-dominated world order, and now, strongly favour a multi-polar world. America’s decision not to attack Syria in 2013 due to Moscow’s stand, and Russian control of Crimea might be cited as example.
Shaukat also gave positive suggestions to the US, but President Obama did not act upon. Therefore, war on terror has resulted into more implications, giving a blow to the larger economies of the US and other developed nations.
Emphasizing the solution of key disputes like Kashmir and Palestine which remains breeding grounds of terrorism, the book suggests that realism (power factor) must be reconciled with idealism, which is essential for world peace and geo-political interests of the US-led developed countries and those of the small countries also by reforming the system of the UN. Shaukat warns that otherwise, “Invisible Balance of Power” will culminate into “clash of civilizations.”
It is due to the present scenario of terrorism—which already pointed out by the author that the publisher reprinted the book after nine years.
Author: Sajjad Shaukat -ISBN, 9690019589
Published by: Ferozsons, 60 Shahrah-i-Quaid-i-Azam, Lahore, Pakistan
Publisher’s Email: support@ferozsons.com.pk
www.@ferozsons.com.pk
 

Contents

Acknowledgments
8
Preface
9
Inside the Lair With bin Laden at Tora Bora
15
Osama bin Laden
39
Holy Warrior
64
Human Bombs and the Concept of Martyrdom
89
CyberJihad
120
Al Qaeda in Saudi Arabia
150
Al Qaeda in Iraq
179
The Future of al Qaeda
219
Notes
237
Bibliography
241
Index
242
Copyright

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About the author (2006)

Abdel Bari Atwan, a Palestinian, has lived in London for thirty years and is Editor in Chief of Al-Quds al-Arabi.

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