The Search for Al Qaeda

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

Copyright Date: 2010
Edition: 2
Pages: 186
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    The Search for Al Qaeda
    Book Description:

    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.

    eISBN: 978-0-8157-0452-2
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. CHAPTER ONE The Manhattan Raid
    (pp. 1-13)

    The coordinated suicide attacks of September 11, 2001, were the first major foreign assaults on American soil since 1814, when the British Army and Royal Navy bombarded the city of Baltimore. The attacks of 9/11, as all have come to know those events, also marked the second most violent day in U.S. history, with 2,793 deaths.¹ Only the battle of Antietam on September 17, 1862, surpassed this figure. Even the casualties on D-Day and at Pearl Harbor were lower.

    September 11 was a costly day not just in lives lost or families broken apart. The property damage and lost productivity...

  5. CHAPTER TWO The Thinker: Zawahiri
    (pp. 14-36)

    Bill Casey’s mumbling made him difficult to understand, but when he was eating it was much worse. It was midday on October 6, 1981, and the director of central intelligence (DCI) was in a hurry to finish his lunch before leaving Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) headquarters in Langley, Virginia, for an emergency meeting at the White House on the developing situation in Cairo, Egypt. A few hours earlier, Egypt’s president, Anwar Sadat, had been assassinated during a military parade celebrating the eighth anniversary of the start of the 1973 Arab-Israeli war. As the CIA’s senior analyst on Egypt, I was...

  6. CHAPTER THREE The Knight: Osama
    (pp. 37-60)

    It was a beautiful autumn morning. I had walked from my office in the Old Executive Office Building to the White House Situation Room for the National Security Council senior staff meeting. Just before I left, reports were coming in that an airplane had crashed into the World Trade Center, but they were sketchy and confused.

    The Situation Room was paneled with dark wood and held a long table that comfortably seated about a dozen. Another twenty or so chairs were arranged along the walls. By chance, I sat next to the head of the table where my boss, National...

  7. CHAPTER FOUR The Host: Mullah Omar
    (pp. 61-84)

    The plane ride from Islamabad to Kabul was short but memorable. As we approached the Afghan capital, the pilot put the nose into a sharp dive and made a tight corkscrew turn toward the airfield to avoid possible antiaircraft missiles. We were the guests of Afghanistan’s rulers, the Taliban, but the pilot was taking no chances that we might be unwanted by our hosts.

    On board the small UN aircraft were the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Bill Richardson; the assistant secretary of state for South Asia, Karl “Rick” Inderfurth; and myself, then the special assistant to the president...

  8. CHAPTER FIVE The Stranger: Zarqawi
    (pp. 85-115)

    I got into the taxi in Baghdad without noticing it had no meter, a sure sign something was amiss. It was a hot morning, already well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, and I was tired. My alarm bell should have gone off earlier but it didn’t. My two colleagues got in the back seat and I sat in the front with the driver. We raced away from the curb, accelerating to 60 for a block and then stopping at the light.

    The driver spoke some English, and I asked him to take us to the Ishtar Sheraton. He said, “No problem.”...

  9. CHAPTER SIX Al Qaeda’s Plans
    (pp. 116-133)

    It was early afternoon on March 18, 2000, and I was preparing to leave the next day with President Bill Clinton on his long-planned trip to South Asia, the first by an American president in a quarter century. Kathy Cooper, my special assistant, rang me to say that National Security Adviser Sandy Berger wanted to see me immediately in his office. No good could come of this, I thought. Sandy was usually too busy to have time for a chat—a summons to his office meant something important was up.

    When I arrived, I could see trouble right away. Sandy...

  10. CHAPTER SEVEN How to Defeat al Qaeda
    (pp. 134-154)

    After weeks of intense work since the start of the second intifada in Gaza and the West Bank, it was nice to spend a quiet day in late January with my wife. The offices of the National Security Council were closed for the inauguration of a new president after the most unusual election in modern American history. Elizabeth and I were enjoying a day’s outing in Baltimore, an escape from the pressures of Washington.

    Five minutes past noon my cell phone rang. It was the new deputy national security adviser, Steve Hadley, calling with my first instructions from the new...

  11. POSTSCRIPT Al Qaeda Today
    (pp. 155-158)

    Al Qaeda today remains a deadly threat, one the Obama administration has put at the top of its priorities. I should know. Just six months afterThe Search for al Qaedawas published in its cloth edition, my mobile rang—“Please hold for the President,” a voice said.

    “Hello, Bruce, this is Barack,” was the next thing I heard while Nelson, my Blenheim puppy, scrambled off my lap. It was ten days after the president had been sworn in on the Capitol steps and he had a proposition for me. I had left government service only two years earlier and...

  12. Notes
    (pp. 159-170)
  13. Bibliography
    (pp. 171-174)
  14. Index
    (pp. 175-188)
  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 189-190)