Inside Al Qaeda

Global Network of Terror

Rohan Gunaratna

Columbia University Press

Inside Al Qaeda

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Pub Date: June 2002

ISBN: 9780231126922

240 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $35.00

Pub Date: June 2002

ISBN: 9780231501828

240 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $34.99

Inside Al Qaeda

Global Network of Terror

Rohan Gunaratna

Columbia University Press

Inside Al Qaeda examines the leadership, ideology, structure, strategies, and tactics of the most violent politico-religious organization the world has ever seen. The definitive work on Al Qaeda, this book is based on five years of research, including extensive interviews with its members; field research in Al Qaeda-supported conflict zones in Central, South and Southeast Asia and the Middle East; and monitoring Al Qaeda infiltration of diaspora and migrant communities in North America and Europe.

Although founded in 1988, Al Qaeda merged with and still works with several other extremist groups. Hence Al Qaeda rank and file draw on nearly three decades of terrorist expertise. Moreover, it inherited a full-fledged training and operational infrastructure funded by the United States, European, Saudi Arabian and other governments for use in the anti-Soviet Jihad.

This book sheds light on Al Qaeda's financial infrastructure and how they train combat soldiers and vanguard fighters for multiple guerrilla, terrorist and semi-conventional campaigns in the Middle East, Asia, Africa, the Caucuses, and the Balkans. In addition, the author covers the clandestine Al Qaeda operational network in the West.

Gunaratna reveals:

how Osama bin Laden had his mentor and Al Qaeda founder, "Azzam", assassinated in order to take over the organization and that other Al Qaeda officers who stood in his way were murdered,

Al Qaeda's long-range, deep-penetration agent handling system in Western Europe and North America for setting up safe houses, procuring weapons, and conducting operations,

how the O55 Brigade, Al Qaeda's guerrilla organization, integrated into the Taliban,

how the arrest of Zacarias Moussaoui forced Al Qaeda to move forward on September 11,

how a plan to destroy British Parliament on 9/11 and to use nerve gas on the European Union Parliament were thwarted,

how the Iran--Hezbollah--Al Qaeda link provided the knowledge to conduct coordinated, simultaneous attacks on multiple targets, including failed plans to destroy Los Angeles International Airport, the USS Sullivan, the Radisson Hotel in Jordan, and eleven US commercial airliners over the Pacific ocean,

that one-fifth of international Islamic charities and NGOs are infiltrated by Al Qaeda,

how the US response is effective militarily in the short term, but insufficient to counter Al Qaeda's ideology in the long-term.

Finally, to destroy Al Qaeda, Gunaratna shows there needs to be a multipronged, multiagency, and multidimensional response by the international community.

Excellent....Gunaratna has taken a great deal of information from around the world--marshalling together police and intelligence sources, his own interviews with al Qaeda associates and the group's own documents--to create a comprehensive examination of the terrorist network.

Peter Bergen, Washington Post

[This] book is a careful and methodical account of bin Laden's emergence as a leader, and of al-Qaeda cells active around the world. As a handbook, Inside Al Qaeda: Global Network of Terror does the work of many tomes, but its chief strength is to be found in Gunaratna's final chapter, where he argues that the political war will be ignored at America's peril.

Thomas Powers, New York Review of Books

An essential first step in good counterintelligence work.

Foreign Affairs

An alarming, but important book on Al Qaeda.

Wolf Blitzer, CNN

[A] remarkable new study.... No one reading Gunaratna's book could be in any doubt that Al Qaeda is an awesome force.

The Times (London)

One of the few qualified to talk with authority about Al-Qaeda is Rohan Gunaratna, author of this excellent book.... He has interviewed more than 200 terrorists, including Al-Qaeda members, in dozens of countries, and read countless transcripts of intercepted communications, including calls made by Bin Laden himself.... It is one of the strengths of Gunaratna's book that he shows conclusively how disparate attacks against western interests all stemmed from the same source.

The Sunday Times (London)

Rohan Gunaratna succeeds.... His deep understanding of the mechanics of the menace has allowed him to wearve an account of how Al-Qaeda became--and remains--a threat.

Financial Times (London)

The most alarming conclusion to be drawn... is how little we really know about Al Qaeda.

The Economist
Acknowledgements
Abbreviations
Preface (2003)
Appendix to the Preface (2003)
Introduction
1. Who Is Osama bin Laden?
2. Al Qaeda's Organisation, Ideology and Strategy
3. Al Qaeda's Global Network
4. Asia: Al Qaeda's New Theatre
5. The Al Qaeda Threat and the International Response
Notes
Index
Web Features:

About the Author

Rohan Gunaratna is research fellow at the Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence, University of St. Andrews, Scotland, and honorary fellow at the International Policy Institute for Counter-Terrorism in Israel. Previously, he was principal investigator of the United Nations'Terrorism Prevention Branch, and he has served as a consultant on terrorism to several governments and corporations. He has been a visiting scholar at the University of Illinois, the University of Maryland, and the University of Notre Dame, and has lectured widely in Latin America,the Middle East, and Asia on terrorism and countermeasures. He is the author of six books on armed conflict.