Decoding Al-Qaeda's Strategy

By: Michael W. S. Ryan

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Consulting the work of well-known and obscure al-Qaeda theoreticians, Michael W. S. Ryan finds Jihadist terrorism has more in common with the principles of Maoist guerrilla warfare than mainstream Islam. Encouraging strategists and researchers to devote greater attention to Jihadi ideas rather than Jihadist military operations, Ryan builds a more effective framework for analyzing al-Qaedas plans against America and constructs a more compelling counternarrative to the Wests supposed war on Islam.Ryan uniquely examines the Salafist Jihadist roots of al-Qaeda ideology and the contributions of its most famous founders, Osama Bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, in a political-military context. He also reads the Arabic-language works of lesser known theoreticians who have played an instrumental role in framing al-Qaedas so-called war of the oppressed. These authors readily cite the guerrilla strategies of Mao, Che Guevara, and the mastermind of the Vietnam War, General Giap. They also incorporate the arguments of American theorists writing on fourth generation warfare. By examining these texts, readers experience events as insiders see them, and by concentrating on the activities and pronouncements of al-Qaedas thought leaders, especially in Yemen, they discern the direct link between al-Qaedas tactics and trends in anti-U.S. terrorism. Ryan shows al-Qaedas political-military strategy to be a revolutionary and largely secular departure from a classic Muslim conception of jihad, adding an invaluable dimension to the operational, psychological, and informational strategies already deployed by Americas military in the region.
Publication Date:
30 / 07 / 2013

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