Al Qaeda, the Islamic State, and the Global Jihadist Movement: What Everyone Needs to Know®

Oxford University Press
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On the morning of September 11, 2001, the entire world was introduced to Al Qaeda and its enigmatic leader, Osama bin Laden. But the organization that changed the face of terrorism forever and unleashed a whirlwind of counterterrorism activity and two major wars had been on the scene long before that eventful morning. In Al Qaeda, the Islamic State, and the Global Jihadist Movement: What Everyone Needs to Know, Daniel L. Byman, an eminent scholar of Middle East terrorism and international security who served on the 9/11 Commission, provides a sharp and concise overview of Al Qaeda, from its humble origins in the mountains of Afghanistan to the present, explaining its perseverance and adaptation since 9/11 and the limits of U.S. and allied counterterrorism efforts. The organization that would come to be known as Al Qaeda traces its roots to the anti-Soviet jihad in Afghanistan in the 1980s. Founded as the Soviets withdrew from Afghanistan, Al Qaeda achieved a degree of international notoriety with a series of spectacular attacks in the 1990s; however, it was the dramatic assaults on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on 9/11 that truly launched Al Qaeda onto the global stage. The attacks endowed the organization with world-historical importance and provoked an overwhelming counterattack by the United States and other western countries. Within a year of 9/11, the core of Al Qaeda had been chased out of Afghanistan and into a variety of refuges across the Muslim world. Splinter groups and franchised offshoots were active in the 2000s in countries like Pakistan, Iraq, and Yemen, but by early 2011, after more than a decade of relentless counterterrorism efforts by the United States and other Western military and intelligence services, most felt that Al Qaeda's moment had passed. With the death of Osama bin Laden in May of that year, many predicted that Al Qaeda was in its death throes. Shockingly, Al Qaeda has staged a remarkable comeback in the last few years. In almost every conflict in the Muslim world, from portions of the Xanjing region in northwest China to the African subcontinent, Al Qaeda franchises or like-minded groups have played a role. Al Qaeda's extreme Salafist ideology continues to appeal to radicalized Sunni Muslims throughout the world, and it has successfully altered its organizational structure so that it can both weather America's enduring full-spectrum assault and tailor its message to specific audiences. Authoritative and highly readable, Byman's account offers readers insightful and penetrating answers to the fundamental questions about Al Qaeda: who they are, where they came from, where they're going-and, perhaps most critically-what we can do about it. What Everyone Needs to Know® is a registered trademark of Oxford University Press.
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About the author

Daniel Byman is a Professor in the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service and a Senior Fellow in the Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution. He is also the author of A High Price: The Triumphs and Failures of Israeli Counterterrorism.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Oxford University Press
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Published on
Jul 23, 2015
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Pages
240
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ISBN
9780190217280
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Language
English
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Genres
Political Science / International Relations / General
Political Science / Political Ideologies / Radicalism
Political Science / Security (National & International)
Political Science / Terrorism
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Our Most Dangerous Enemy

Think it's ISIS? Think again.

Iran is the terrorist powerhouse of the world—made all the more dangerous by the disastrous "nuclear deal" that restricts Iran's nuclear ambitions hardly at all.

The Iranian government is an open enemy of the United States—and of anyone who dissents from Shia Islam.

Iran confronts U.S. Navy ships in the Persian Gulf "on a near daily basis."

It executes more of its citizens than any other nation.

It is a country torn by hypocrisy—lectured by mullahs, and with brutally enforced Islamic religious laws, but rife with alcoholism.

Once America's ally, Iran now claims leadership of the global jihad, and the ayatollahs' aim is nothing less than world conquest for Islam.

In his extraordinary new book, The Complete Infidel's Guide to Iran, New York Times bestselling author Robert Spencer reveals:
How the Iranian "nuclear deal" is sheer capitulation to the mullahs, allowing Iran to inspect its own facilities and pursue nuclear weapons Iran's long-standing support for terrorists—including shocking evidence that Iran helped plan the 9/11 attacks Why Iran wants nuclear weapons—clue: it's not about deterrence American diplomatic folly—why the Obama administration has grossly underestimated the Iranian threat A new grand strategy: how Iran's Shi'ite terrorism might be contained and its threat to the United States reduced
The Islamic Republic is already at war with America. If we refuse to recognize that fact, we are only falling prey to the mullahs' campaign of duplicity.

The Complete Infidel's Guide to Iran exposes the true nature of the threat, lays out what America must do to defeat it, and gives you all the information you need about America's least understood yet potentially most lethal foe.

Ever since the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, fighters from abroad have journeyed in ever-greater numbers to conflict zones in the Muslim world to defend Islam from-in their view-infidels and apostates. The phenomenon recently reached its apogee in Syria, where the foreign fighter population quickly became larger and more diverse than in any previous conflict. In Road Warriors, Daniel Byman provides a sweeping history of the jihadist foreign fighter movement. He begins by chronicling the movement's birth in Afghanistan, its growing pains in Bosnia and Chechnya, and its emergence as a major source of terrorism in the West in the 1990s, culminating in the 9/11 attacks. Since that bloody day, the foreign fighter movement has seen major ups and downs. It rode high after the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, when the ultra-violent Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) attracted thousands of foreign fighters. AQI overreached, however, and suffered a crushing defeat. Demonstrating the resilience of the movement, however, AQI reemerged anew during the Syrian civil war as the Islamic State, attracting tens of thousands of fighters from around the world and spawning the bloody 2015 attacks in Paris among hundreds of other strikes. Although casualty rates are usually high, the survivors of Afghanistan, Syria, and other fields of jihad often became skilled professional warriors, going from one war to the next. Still others returned to their home countries, some to peaceful retirement but a deadly few to conduct terrorist attacks. Over time, both the United States and Europe have learned to adapt. Before 9/11, volunteers went to and fro to Afghanistan and other hotspots with little interference. Today, the United States and its allies have developed a global program to identify, arrest, and kill foreign fighters. Much remains to be done, however-jihadist ideas and networks are by now deeply embedded, even as groups such as Al Qaeda and the Islamic State rise and fall. And as Byman makes abundantly clear, the problem is not likely to go away any time soon.
An authoritative guide to the rise of the Islamic State and its senior leadership.

How did the Islamic State grow from regional terrorist group to a brutal multinational bureaucratic machine? What are its goals? How can it be stopped?

In 2014 the Islamic State seemingly appeared out of nowhere, routing Iraqi forces, conquering Iraq's second-largest city, boldly announcing the establishment of a caliphate, and declaring itself the Islamic State (IS). Today, IS controls thousands of square miles and is attempting to govern millions of people.

In this definitive guide to the Islamic State and its senior leadership, Charles R. Lister traces its roots from the release of its notorious father figure, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, from a Jordanian prison and the group's formation in Afghanistan in the late-1990s, and finally to its stunning maturation in Iraq and Syria.

The West knows IS through its unrelenting propaganda war, with its deft use of social media and videos of horrific acts. Lister shares details of IS's sophisticated revenue machine, attempts at governing, and its formidable military.

With IS knocking on the doors of Lebanon, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia, Lister's portrait helps us understand what to expect next and recommends a course of action to defeat IS, extinguish extremism, and encourage a tolerant Islam across the Middle East.

This book includes a Who's Who in the Islamic State's senior leadership.

From the foreword by Ahmed Rashid

"The Islamic State is the best basic understanding available of the ISIS phenomena and how to deal with it."

The product of painstaking research and countless interviews, A High Price offers a nuanced, definitive historical account of Israel's bold but often failed efforts to fight terrorist groups. Beginning with the violent border disputes that emerged after Israel's founding in 1948, Daniel Byman charts the rise of Yasir Arafat's Fatah and leftist groups such as the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine--organizations that ushered in the era of international terrorism epitomized by the 1972 hostage-taking at the Munich Olympics. Byman reveals how Israel fought these groups and others, such as Hamas, in the decades that follow, with particular attention to the grinding and painful struggle during the second intifada. Israel's debacles in Lebanon against groups like the Lebanese Hizballah are examined in-depth, as is the country's problematic response to Jewish terrorist groups that have struck at Arabs and Israelis seeking peace. In surveying Israel's response to terror, the author points to the coups of shadowy Israeli intelligence services, the much-emulated use of defensive measures such as sky marshals on airplanes, and the role of controversial techniques such as targeted killings and the security barrier that separates Israel from Palestinian areas. Equally instructive are the shortcomings that have undermined Israel's counterterrorism goals, including a disregard for long-term planning and a failure to recognize the long-term political repercussions of counterterrorism tactics.
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