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Dec 10, 2003

A very Comprehensive al Qaeda Reading list by PB – Part 1

This reading list is adapted from a course about al Qaeda and international terrorism that I teach at the School of Advanced International Studies at the Johns Hopkins University.
Required reading for the entire course. (Relevant individual chapters for particular classes are noted below.)

Anonymous, Through Our Enemies’ Eyes: Osama bin Laden, Radical Islam and the Future of America. (Washington, DC: Brasseys, 2002) (Paperback edition)
[Anonymous is a serving CIA officer.]

Peter Bergen, Holy War, Inc. Inside the Secret World of Osama bin Laden (New York: Touchstone, 2002). (Paperback edition).

Jason Burke, Al-Qaeda: Casting a Shadow of Terror (New York: I.B. Tauris 2003).

Rohan Gunaratna, Inside Al Qaeda, Global Network of Terror (New York, Columbia University Press 2002) (Paperback edition).

Edited by Barry Rubin and Judith Colp Rubin, Anti-American Terrorism and the Middle East: A Documentary Reader (New York, 2002 Oxford University Press) [This is a useful collection of primary documents].

Another important resource is: http://www.albab.com/arab/background/laden.htm. This site contains a large number of bin Laden?s statements and interviews and other resources and is useful for several classes. www.siteinsitute.org and www.terrorism.com and www.intelcenter.com are also useful sites.

 

Class 1.
An overview of Islamist terrorism and its intellectual influences, and a discussion of the underlying causes of the 9/11 attacks.

Burke, Al Qaeda, ch. 2, pp. 23-39

Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon, The Age of Sacred Terror, (New York: Random House, 2002) chapter 2, pp.38-94

Bruce Hoffman, Inside Terrorism, (New York: Columbia Univ. Press, 1998) chapter 4 pp.87-129

Malise Ruthven, A Fury for God. The Islamist Attack on America (New York: Granta Books, 2002) ch. 3 pp.72-98

Edited by James F. Hoge Jr. and Gideon Rose, How Did This Happen? Terrorism and the New War (New York: Public Affairs, 2001) essay by Michael Scott Doran, Somebody Else Civil War pp.31-52

R Gilles Kepel, Jihad: The Trail of Political Islam (Cambridge, Belknap Press Harvard 2002) Introduction, pp 1-20

Clifford Gertz, Which Way to Mecca? New York Review of Books, June 12 2003

Paul Berman, Al Qaeda’s Philosopher, New York Times Magazine, March 23, 2003

Edited by Barry Rubin and Judith Colp Rubin, Anti-American Terrorism and the Middle East: A Documentary Reader (New York, 2002 Oxford University Press) pp- 27-32

John F. Burns, Bin Laden Stirs Struggle on Meaning of Jihad, New York Times, January 27, 2002

Syed Qutb, Milestones (Mumbai, India: Bilal Books, 1998) ch. 4 pp. 53-76

John L. Esposito, Terror in the Name of Islam, (Oxford University Press 2002) chapter 2 pp 26- 70

Gilles Kepel, Muslim Extremism in Egypt, the Prophet and Pharaoh, (University of California 1986) Chapter 2 pp. 36-67

Bernard Lewis, The Political Language of Islam (Chicago: the University of Chicago Press, 1988) ch. 4 pp.71-90

Reuven Firestone, Jihad, the Origin of Holy War in Islam (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999) ch. 1 pp.13-18 and ch. 3 pp 47-65

Rex Hudson and the Library of Congress Staff, Who Becomes a Terrorist and Why (Guilford Connecticut, Lyons Press 1999)

Class 2 :The Afghan war against the Soviet Union, the role of the United States, and the formation of an Islamist internationale, 1979-1989.

Bergen ch. 3, 66-78

Burke, Al Qaeda ch. 4 pp 54-67 and ch. 5 68- 80

Olivier Roy, Afghanistan From Holy War to Civil War (Princeton, New Jersey The Darwin Press 1995) chapters 3, 4 and 5, pp. 43?92

Mohammad Yousaf and Mark Adkin, The Bear Trap, Afghanistan?s Untold Story, London: Leo Cooper, 1992) Chapter 5, pp. 78-96

John Cooley, Unholy Wars: Afghanistan, America and International Terrorism (London and Sterling, VA: Pluto Press, 2000). Chapter 5 pp. 80-105

Mark Huband, Warriors of the Prophet (Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 1998) chapter 1, pp.1-24

Anonymous, Through Our Enemies? Eyes: Osama bin Laden, Radical Islam and the Future of America. (Washington, DC: Brasseys, 2002) [Anonymous is a serving CIA officer] chapter 7 pp.89-108

Edited by Barry Rubin and Judith Colp Rubin, Anti-American Terrorism and the Middle East: A Documentary Reader (New York, 2002 Oxford University Press) pp. 62-64 and pp. 108-110

Edited by James F. Hoge Jr. and Gideon Rose, How Did This Happen? Terrorism and the New War, (New York: Public Affairs, 2001) essay by Milton Bearden, Graveyard of Empires, Afghanistan?s Treacherous Peaks, pp. 83-95

Mark Urban, War in Afghanistan, (London: Macmillan Press, 1988) pp.203-222

Henry S. Bradsher, Afghan Communism and Soviet Intervention (Oxford University Press, 1999) ch. 6 pp.177-192

Class 3
Al Qaeda from its formation in 1989 to 1996
This class will examine the changing nature of al Qaeda from its inception in Afghanistan, and its sojourn in Sudan from 91-96.

Bergen, pp. 79-107

Burke, Al Qaeda chapter 1, pp. 72-126

Gunaratna, chapter 2, pp.54-94

Anonymous, Through Our Enemies’ Eyes: Osama bin Laden, Radical Islam and the Future of America. (Washington, DC: Brasseys, 2002) [Anonymous is a serving CIA officer] ch. 8 pp. 109-118 and chapter 9 pp.119-131 and chapter 10 pp.133-147

Mamoun Fandy, Saudi Arabia and the Politics of Dissent (New York, St. Martin?s Press, 1999) ch.6 pp.177-194

The court transcript of USA v. Usama bin Laden (the embassy bombings trial) provides a wealth of material. The entire transcript of the trial is available at http://cryptome2.org/usa-v-ubl-dt.htm

The most important testimony for this class is from the following days: Testimony of L’Hossaine Kherchtou, February 21, 26; Testimony of Essam al-Ridi, February 14, 2001; Testimony of Jamal al-Fadl, February 6, 2001.

The minutes of a meeting relating to the founding of al Qaeda can be found at www.smokinggun.com.archive/bifladen1.html

Also of interest is: Ali Mohamed’s plea agreement, reprinted as Excerpts from Guilty Plea in Terrorism Case, New York Times, October 21, 2000

Roland Jacquard, In the Name of Osama Bin Laden, Global Terrorism and the Bin Laden Brotherhood, (Durham: Duke University Press, 2002). The Appendix of this compiles a useful series of documents pp.168-272 for this class and others

 

Class 4
Afghanistan under the Taliban, the rise of the religious warriors and their al Qaeda allies. This class will examine the exact nature of the relationship between the Taliban and al Qaeda.

Bergen, pp. 146-170

Burke, Al Qaeda ch. 8 pp 106-123 and ch. 12 pp. 161-177

Ahmed Rashid, Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in CentralAsia (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2001) (paperback edition) pages 1-140 and appendices 1 to 3.

Michael Griffin, Reaping the Whirlwind, the Taliban Movement in Afghanistan (Pluto Press, London and Sterling VA) chs. 3 and 4, pp.33-69

Edited by Barry Rubin and Judith Colp Rubin, Anti-American Terrorism and the Middle East: A Documentary Reader (New York, 2002 Oxford University Press) pp- 40-41 and pp. 247-249

Julie Sirrs, The Taliban’s International Ambitions, the Middle East Quarterly, Summer, 2001

Alan Cullison and Andrew Higgins, Inside al Qaeda’s Afghan Turmoil, Wall Street Journal, August 2, 2002,

Pamela Constable, The Washington Post: Buddhas’ Rubble Marks a Turn for Taliban, March 20, 2001

Tim Wiener, The Commanders; Afghan Arabs Said to Lead Taliban’s Fight, The New York Times Nov. 10, 2001

Craig Pyes and William Rempel, Slowly Stalking an Afghan “Lion”, Los Angeles Times, June 12, 2002
This is the best account of the plan to assassinate Ahmad Shah Massoud, which was a prelude to the 9/11 attacks.

William Maley, editor, Fundamentalism Reborn? Afghanistan and the Taliban (New York University Press, 1998) Introduction by Maley, pp1-23 andchapter on The United States and the Taliban by Richard Mackenzie, pp.90-103

 

Class 5
Al Qaeda from 1996-9/11
This class will examine how al Qaeda became increasingly violent once it rebased itself in Afghanistan in ’96, with a particular focus on the US embassy bombing attacks in Africa, and the USS Cole attack in Yemen. We will also consider al Qaeda’s researches into weapons of mass destruction.

Bergen, ch.1 pp.24-41 and pp. 108-116

Burke, Al Qaeda, ch. 11 pp.143-160 ch. 14 189-209

Gunaratna, Inside Al Qaeda, ch. 3 127-221

Bernard Lewis, “License to Kill”? Foreign Affairs, November/December 1998.

Anonymous, Through Our Enemies’ Eyes. Osama bin Laden, Radical Islam and the Future of America. (Washington, DC: Brasseys, 2002) [Anonymous is a serving CIA officer.] ch.11 pp 151-168 and ch. 12 pp. 169-194 and ch.13 pp. 195-224.

The court transcript of USA v. Usama bin Laden (the embassy bombings trial) provides a wealth of material. The entire transcript of the trial is available at http://cryptome2.org/usa-v-ubl-dt.htm. The most useful days for this class are Testimony of FBI Agent John Anticev, February 27, 2001; Summation of Ken Karas, May 1, 2001; Testimony of Jerrold M. Post, M.D., June 27, 2001.

Edited by Barry Rubin and Judith Colp Rubin, Anti-American Terrorism and the Middle East: A Documentary Reader (New York, 2002 Oxford University Press) pp.174-18, pp. 204-207

David Rohde and C.J. Chivers, The Jihad Files, the New York Times, March 17, 2002 and March 18, 2002

Alan Cullison and Andrew Higgins, Computer in Kabul Holds Chilling Memos, December 31, 2001

Xavier Raufer, Al Qaeda: A Different Diagnosis, Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, November-December 2003

Pakistani Scientist’s Link to bin Laden Still Appear Murky, Washington Post, March 3, 2002

David Albright and Holly Higgins, Pakistani Nuclear Scientists: How Much Nuclear Assistance to al Qaeda? August 30, 2002 ISIS issue paper at www.exportcontrols.org/pakscientists.html

Al Qaeda Training manual can be found at www.usdoj.gov/ag/trainingmanual.htm

Wolf Blitzer, Nic Robertson, Mike Boettcher, David Grange, Peter Bergen, Terror on Tape: Inside al Qaeda, CNN, August 25, 2002.

Class 6
The Leaders of Al Qaeda
This class will address the biographies and ideas of the most important figures in al Qaeda: Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri.

Bergen ch. 2 pp. 49-65

Gunaratna ch. 21-71

Profiles of Terror, a collection of essays, (New Delhi, Lotus/Roli books 2002) pp. 19-37, profile of Osama bin Laden by Rahimullah Yusufzai

Lawrence Wright, The Man Behind Laden: How an Egyptian doctor became a master of terror, The New Yorker, September 16, 2002, (Note, this is more than 20,000 words in length.)

Ayman al-Zawahiri, Knights Under the Banner of the Prophet. This document is Zawahiri’s autobiography, and it also outlines his political philosophy. It runs about 75 pages and is essential reading to understand him. Can be found at www.fas.org/irp/world/para/ayman_bk.html

ANDREW HIGGINS and ALAN CULLISON, Saga of Dr. Zawahiri Sheds light on al Qaeda terror, Wall Street Journal July 2, 2002

ADDITIONAL READING MATERIAL CAN BE FOUND IN PART 2 OF THIS LIST

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