The Search for Al Qaeda

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

Copyright Date: 2008
Pages: 224
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  • Book Info
    The Search for Al Qaeda
    Book Description:

    Al Qaeda is the most dangerous terrorist movement in history. Yet most people in the Americas and Europe know very little about it, or their view is clouded by misperceptions and half truths. If the first rule of war is to "know your enemy," then we have a long way to go. This important 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 is an expert on the Middle East and South Asia, with thirty years of intelligence and policymaking experience. He was actually in the White House Situation Room during the 9/11 attacks, serving as special assistant to the president and National Security Council senior director for Near East Affairs. He draws on this insider experience in profiling the four most important figures in the al Qaeda movement: Osama bin Laden, its creator and charismatic leader; ideologue Ayman Zawahiri, its Egyptian coleader and principal spokesman; Abu Musaib al Zarqawi, leader of al Qaeda in Iraq until his death 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 what must be done to counter it. The Search for al Qaeda reviews how al Qaeda was created and developed, presenting authoritative and chilling background on "The Manhattan Raid," but Riedel focuses more closely on what has happened to it since that awful day. He outlines al Qaeda's ultimate goals, which are to drive America out of the Muslim world, to destroy Israel, and to create a jihadist caliphate larger than the Ottoman Empire at its height. The profiles and subsequent analysis reveal the network's multipronged strategy for accomplishing those goals: • Draw America into "bleeding wars" like the one that drove the Soviets from Afghanistan. • Build a safe haven for al Qaeda in Pakistan. • Develop other "franchises" in the Islamic world that can overthrow pro-American regimes. • Conduct more Western attacks along the lines of 9/11 or the transit bombings in Madrid and London. The book concludes with a strategy for dealing with -and defeating -this most dangerous menace.

    eISBN: 978-0-8157-0143-9
    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 longplanned 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. Notes
    (pp. 155-166)
  12. Bibliography
    (pp. 167-170)
  13. Index
    (pp. 171-180)
  14. Back Matter
    (pp. 181-182)