Saturday, Sep 10, 2005 Reading Al Qaeda

Al Qaeda, which means “the base” in Arabic, lost its physical base in Afghanistan after Sept. 11, 2001, so now its ideological base can be found not in the training camps of the Hindu Kush but on the Internet and in the books that leaders of the movement serialize in Arabic newspapers. These Web sites and publications are aimed at reaching a wide audience in the Muslim world. For instance, the London-based Al-Sharq al-Awsat is arguably the most influential newspaper in the Arabic-speaking world, while Abu Musab al Suri’s 1,600-page history of jihad, The International Islamic Resistance Call , was posted to a jihadist Web site in Dec. 2004. Once it was posted, the book could then be copied to thousands of other such sites. It turns out that the first truly virtual books are being published not only by Silicon Valley whiz kids but also by jihadists.

Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, “L’islam revolutionnaire”, (Editions du Rocher, Paris 2003.) Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, better known as Carlos the Jackal, the notorious terrorist and mass murderer, has weighed in on the war on terrorism from his Paris prison cell. In what must surely qualify as one of the more tasteless exercises in publishing history, Carlos holds forth windily about how the United States got what it deserved on 9/11 because of its imperialist policies.

Thursday, Aug 04, 2005 Best Books War on Terrorism, 2004

It may have been a very mixed year for America’s progress in the war on terror, but it was a very good year for book buyers trying to understand the evolution of al Qaeda, the Bush administration’s conduct of the war on terrorism, and the future direction of jihadist terrorism.

Thursday, Aug 04, 2005 New al Zawahiri tape

Our terrorism analyst Peter Bergen joining me now from Washington to talk about this latest tape.Peter, good morning.PETER BERGEN, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: Good morning, DarynKAGAN: Not to say, told you, but just earlier this week you were right here on CNN saying this — let’s listen.(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)BERGEN: I think Ayman al-Zawahiri or bin Laden […]

Friday, Jul 29, 2005 Militant London Clerics

It has become trite to say that, on September 11, 2001, Americans realized anew that it was important to pay attention to what was happening on distant shores, that developments taking place half a world away could suddenly and devastatingly threaten the lives of people here at home. This realization was important, but it cemented a view of Islamist terrorism as an external threat. The West–the United States and Europe–was the target of this terrorism, but not its source, which was to be found elsewhere, in some foreign land, where it was cooked up under the spiritual tutelage of the radical Islamist clerics of Pakistan or Saudi Arabia. 

Wednesday, Jul 13, 2005 Jihadists Killing Fellow Muslims

·The four terrorist attacks in London, one of which occurred in the Edgware Road area, a largely Arab neighborhood in central north London reminds us that jihadist militants have been especially successful in one area: Killing fellow Muslims.  Western governments should exploit the fact that al Qaeda and its affiliates have killed thousands of Muslims. […]

Friday, Jul 08, 2005 Our Ally, Our Problem

AS the shock waves from yesterday’s terrorist attacks in London – which seem to be the work of jihadist militants – reverberate across the Atlantic, a grim truth should become increasingly clear: one of the greatest terrorist threats to the United States emanates not from domestic sleeper cells or, as is popularly imagined, from the graduates of Middle Eastern madrassas, but from some of the citizens of its closest ally, Britain.

Tuesday, Jun 14, 2005 The Madrassa Myth

IT is one of the widespread assumptions of the war on terrorism that the Muslim religious schools known as madrassas, catering to families that are often poor, are graduating students who become terrorists. Last year, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell denounced madrassas in Pakistan and several other countries as breeding grounds for “fundamentalists and terrorists.” A year earlier, Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld had queried in a leaked memorandum, “Are we capturing, killing or deterring and dissuading more terrorists every day than the madrassas and the radical clerics are recruiting, training and deploying against us?”

The Power of Nightmares, a three-hour BBC documentary directed by Adam Curtis, is arguably the most important film about the “war on terrorism” since the events of September 11. It is more intellectually engaging, more historically probing and more provocative than any of its rivals, including Fahrenheit 9/11. But although it has been shown at Cannes and at a few film festivals in the United States, it has yet to find an American distributor, and for understandable reasons. The documentary asserts that Al Qaeda is largely a phantom of the imagination of the US national security apparatus. Indeed, The Power of Nightmares seeks nothing less than to reframe the past several decades of American foreign policy, from the Soviet menace of the 1970s to the Al Qaeda threat of today, to argue that neoconservatives in the American foreign policy establishment have vastly exaggerated those threats in their quest to remake the world in the image of the United States.

  Details of a Private Jail in Afghanistan   Talk of the Nation, May 18, 2005 · Journalist Peter Bergen joins us to talk about his new article on Jack Idema, the former Special Forces soldier and con man convicted last year of running a vigilante prison in Afghanistan. Guest: Peter Bergen, article “The Shadow […]