The Search for Al Qaeda: Its Leadership, Ideology, and Future

Brookings Institution Press
2
Free sample

Al Qaeda is the most dangerous terrorist movement in history. Yet most people in the West know very little about it, or their view is clouded by misperceptions and half truths. This widely acclaimed 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 draws on decades of insider experience—he was actually in the White House during the September 11 attacks—in profiling the four most important figures in the al Qaeda movement: Usama bin Laden, ideologue and spokesman Ayman Zawahiri, former leader of al Qaeda in Iraq Abu Musaib al Zarqawi (killed 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 its goals, as well as what must be done to counter and defeat this most dangerous menace.

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About the author

Bruce Riedel is a senior fellow in the Foreign Policy program and the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution. He served in the U.S. intelligence community for nearly thirty years, and at the request of President Obama, he chaired an interagency review of policy toward Afghanistan and Pakistan for the White House that was completed in March 2009.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Brookings Institution Press
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Published on
Jun 1, 2010
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Pages
186
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ISBN
9780815704522
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Language
English
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Genres
Political Science / General
Political Science / Political Freedom
Political Science / Terrorism
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Bruce Riedel
Pakistan and the United States have been locked in a deadly embrace for decades. Successive American presidents from both parties have pursued narrow short-term interests in the South Asian nation, and many of the resulting policies proved counterproductive in the long term, contributing to political instability and a radicalized public. This background has helped set the stage for the global jihad confronting much of the world today.

In Deadly Embrace, Bruce Riedel explores the forces behind these developments, explaining how and why the history of Pakistan-U.S. relations has unfolded as it has. He explains what the United States can do now to repair the damage and how it can avoid making similar mistakes in dealing with extremist forces in Pakistan and beyond.

Riedel is one of America's foremost authorities on U.S. security, South Asia, and terrorism, and he helped to craft President Obama's 2009 speech referring to the Pakistan-Afghanistan borderlands as the "most dangerous region of the world." He follows up The Search for al Qaeda, his influential 2008 analysis of the terror network's ideology and leadership, with a sober, authoritative, and sometimes alarming look at the history, importance, and current role of Pakistan, epicenter of the global jihad movement, beginning with the history of U.S.-Pakistan relations since the partitioning of the subcontinent in 1947.

The relationship between Pakistan and America is a fascinating yet muddled story, meandering through periods of friendship and enmity, symbiosis and distrust: it's no wonder that people in both nations are confused. Deadly Embrace explains how the United States, on several occasions, actually helped the foes of democracy in Pakistan and aided in the development of the very enemies it is now fighting in the region. The book seeks to unravel this paradox, revealing and interpreting the tortuous path of relations between two very different nations, which remain, in many ways, stuck with each other.

Bruce Riedel
Bruce Riedel provides new perspective and insights into Kennedy's forgotten crisis in the most dangerous days of the cold war.

The Cuban Missile Crisis defined the presidency of John F. Kennedy. But during the same week that the world stood transfixed by the possibility of nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union, Kennedy was also consumed by a war that has escaped history's attention, yet still significantly reverberates today: the Sino-Indian conflict.

As well-armed troops from the People's Republic of China surged into Indian-held territory in October 1962, Kennedy ordered an emergency airlift of supplies to the Indian army. He engaged in diplomatic talks that kept the neighboring Pakistanis out of the fighting. The conflict came to an end with a unilateral Chinese cease-fire, relieving Kennedy of a decision to intervene militarily in support of India.

Bruce Riedel, a CIA and National Security Council veteran, provides the first full narrative of this crisis, which played out during the tense negotiations with Moscow over Cuba. He also describes another, nearly forgotten episode of U.S. espionage during the war between India and China: secret U.S. support of Tibetan opposition to Chinese occupation of Tibet. He details how the United States, beginning in 1957, trained and parachuted Tibetan guerrillas into Tibet to fight Chinese military forces. The United States did not abandon this covert support until relations were normalized with China in the 1970s.

Riedel tells this story of war, diplomacy, and covert action with authority and perspective. He draws on newly declassified letters between Kennedy and Indian leader Jawaharlal Nehru, along with the diaries and memoirs of key players and other sources, to make this the definitive account of JFK's forgotten crisis. This is, Riedel writes, Kennedy's finest hour as you have never read it before.

Bruce Riedel
Bruce Riedel provides new perspective and insights into Kennedy's forgotten crisis in the most dangerous days of the cold war.

The Cuban Missile Crisis defined the presidency of John F. Kennedy. But during the same week that the world stood transfixed by the possibility of nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union, Kennedy was also consumed by a war that has escaped history's attention, yet still significantly reverberates today: the Sino-Indian conflict.

As well-armed troops from the People's Republic of China surged into Indian-held territory in October 1962, Kennedy ordered an emergency airlift of supplies to the Indian army. He engaged in diplomatic talks that kept the neighboring Pakistanis out of the fighting. The conflict came to an end with a unilateral Chinese cease-fire, relieving Kennedy of a decision to intervene militarily in support of India.

Bruce Riedel, a CIA and National Security Council veteran, provides the first full narrative of this crisis, which played out during the tense negotiations with Moscow over Cuba. He also describes another, nearly forgotten episode of U.S. espionage during the war between India and China: secret U.S. support of Tibetan opposition to Chinese occupation of Tibet. He details how the United States, beginning in 1957, trained and parachuted Tibetan guerrillas into Tibet to fight Chinese military forces. The United States did not abandon this covert support until relations were normalized with China in the 1970s.

Riedel tells this story of war, diplomacy, and covert action with authority and perspective. He draws on newly declassified letters between Kennedy and Indian leader Jawaharlal Nehru, along with the diaries and memoirs of key players and other sources, to make this the definitive account of JFK's forgotten crisis. This is, Riedel writes, Kennedy's finest hour as you have never read it before.

Bruce Riedel
Pakistan and the United States have been locked in a deadly embrace for decades. Successive American presidents from both parties have pursued narrow short-term interests in the South Asian nation, and many of the resulting policies proved counterproductive in the long term, contributing to political instability and a radicalized public. This background has helped set the stage for the global jihad confronting much of the world today.

In Deadly Embrace, Bruce Riedel explores the forces behind these developments, explaining how and why the history of Pakistan-U.S. relations has unfolded as it has. He explains what the United States can do now to repair the damage and how it can avoid making similar mistakes in dealing with extremist forces in Pakistan and beyond.

Riedel is one of America's foremost authorities on U.S. security, South Asia, and terrorism, and he helped to craft President Obama's 2009 speech referring to the Pakistan-Afghanistan borderlands as the "most dangerous region of the world." He follows up The Search for al Qaeda, his influential 2008 analysis of the terror network's ideology and leadership, with a sober, authoritative, and sometimes alarming look at the history, importance, and current role of Pakistan, epicenter of the global jihad movement, beginning with the history of U.S.-Pakistan relations since the partitioning of the subcontinent in 1947.

The relationship between Pakistan and America is a fascinating yet muddled story, meandering through periods of friendship and enmity, symbiosis and distrust: it's no wonder that people in both nations are confused. Deadly Embrace explains how the United States, on several occasions, actually helped the foes of democracy in Pakistan and aided in the development of the very enemies it is now fighting in the region. The book seeks to unravel this paradox, revealing and interpreting the tortuous path of relations between two very different nations, which remain, in many ways, stuck with each other.

Bruce Riedel
In February 1989, the CIA's chief in Islamabad famously cabled headquarters a simple message: "We Won." It was an understated coda to the most successful covert intelligence operation in American history.

In What We Won, CIA and National Security Council veteran Bruce Riedel tells the story of America's secret war in Afghanistan and the defeat of the Soviet 40th Red Army in the war that proved to be the final battle of the cold war. He seeks to answer one simple question—why did this intelligence operation succeed so brilliantly?

Riedel has the vantage point few others can offer: He was ensconced in the CIA's Operations Center when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan on Christmas Eve 1979. The invasion took the intelligence community by surprise. But the response, initiated by Jimmy Carter and accelerated by Ronald Reagan, was a masterful intelligence enterprise.

Many books have been written about intelligence failures—from Pearl Harbor to 9/11. Much less has been written about how and why intelligence operations succeed. The answer is complex. It involves both the weaknesses and mistakes of America's enemies, as well as good judgment and strengths of the United States.

Riedel introduces and explores the complex personalities pitted in the war—the Afghan communists, the Russians, the Afghan mujahedin, the Saudis, and the Pakistanis. And then there are the Americans—in this war, no Americans fought on the battlefield. The CIA did not send officers into Afghanistan to fight or even to train.

In 1989, victory for the American side of the cold war seemed complete. Now we can see that a new era was also beginning in the Afghan war in the 1980s, the era of the global jihad. This book examines the lessons we can learn from this intelligence operation for the future and makes some observations on what came next in Afghanistan—and what is likely yet to come.

Bruce Riedel
Pakistan and America have been gripped together in a deadly embrace for decades. For half a century American presidents from both parties pursued narrow short-term interests in Pakistan. This myopia actually backfired in the long term, helping to destabilize the political landscape and radicalizing the population, setting the stage for the global jihad we face today.

Bruce Riedel, one of America's foremost authorities on U.S. security and South Asia, sketches the history of U.S.-Pakistani relations from partitioning of the subcontinent in 1947 up through the present day. It is muddled story, meandering through periods of friendship and enmity. Riedel deftly interprets the tortuous path of relations between two very different nations that remain, in many ways, stuck with each other.

The Preface to the paperback provides an inside account of the discovery of Osama bin Laden's Abbottabad hideout that led to the al Qaeda leader's demise. Accusations of Pakistani complicity in harboring bin Laden once again dramatized the ambivalence and distrust existing between two nations that purport to be allies. Riedel discusses what it all means for the war on terror and the future of U.S.- Pakistani relations.

Praise for the hardcover edition of Deadly Embrace "Mr. Riedel, who has advised no fewer than four American presidents, knows power from the inside—something he is keen to share with the reader.... His book provides a useful account of the dysfunctional relationship between Pakistan and America." — The Economist "Bruce Riedel has produced an excellent volume that is both analytically sharp and cogently written. It will engage both specialists and the interested public. Essential reading."—Peter Bergen, author of Holy War, Inc. and The Osama bin Laden I Know "Riedel lucidly provides an overview of the last thirty years of Pakistan's internal politics, its relationship with the United States, as well as the various insurgent and terrorist groups with which it has had close association. The book is informed by his own experiences over most of this period as an intelligence analyst for the U.S. government. As usual with Bruce, it is brilliant, and quite sobering—yet hardly without hope." —Foreign Policy

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