The Rise and Fall of Al-Qaeda

The Rise and Fall of Al-Qaeda

Fawaz A. Gerges

Language: English

Pages: 272

ISBN: 0199974683

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

In this concise and fascinating book, Fawaz A. Gerges argues that Al-Qaeda has degenerated into a fractured, marginal body kept alive largely by the self-serving anti-terrorist bureaucracy it helped to spawn.

In The Rise and Fall of Al-Qaeda, Gerges, a public intellectual known widely for his expertise on radical ideologies, including jihadism, argues that the Western powers have become mired in a "terrorism narrative," stemming from the mistaken belief that America is in danger of a devastating attack by a crippled al-Qaeda. To explain why al-Qaeda is no longer a threat, he provides a briskly written history of the organization, showing its emergence from the disintegrating local jihadist movements of the mid-1990s-not just the Afghan resistance of the 1980s, as many believe-in "a desperate effort to rescue a sinking ship by altering its course." During this period, Gerges interviewed many jihadis, gaining a first-hand view of the movement that bin Laden tried to reshape by internationalizing it. Gerges reveals that transnational jihad has attracted but a small minority within the Arab world and possesses no viable social and popular base. Furthermore, he shows that the attacks of September 11, 2001, were a major miscalculation--no "river" of fighters flooded from Arab countries to defend al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, as bin Laden expected. The democratic revolutions that swept the Middle East in early 2011 show that al-Qaeda today is a non-entity which exercises no influence over Arabs' political life.

Gerges shows that there is a link between the new phenomenon of homegrown extremism in Western societies and the war on terror, particularly in Afghanistan-Pakistan, and that homegrown terror exposes the structural weakness, not strength, of bin Laden's al-Qaeda. Gerges concludes that the movement has splintered into feuding factions, neutralizing itself more effectively than any Predator drone.

Forceful, incisive, and written with extensive inside knowledge, this book will alter the debate on global terrorism.

All the Shah's Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror

Landscapes of the Jihad

NATO's Secret Army: Operation Gladio and Terrorism in Western Europe (Contemporary Security Studies)

The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11

Le Prince vert : du Hamas aux services secrets israéliens





















littered with references to America and Israel or what he called the “Judeo-Christian alliance which is occupying Islamic sacred land in Palestine and of Saudi Arabia.” When he formally launched al-Qaeda in February 1998, bin Laden prioritized his call to Muslims: “To kill the Americans and their allies—civilians and military—is an individual duty incumbent upon every Muslim in all countries, in order to liberate the al-Aqsa Mosque [Jerusalem] and the Holy Mosque [Mecca] from their grip.”15 Bin

History may provide some perspective. At the height of its power, the USSR possessed almost 10,000 nuclear bombs, an army of millions of men and thousands of fighter jets, submarines, armored vehicles, and tanks that could have destroyed the US homeland and its Western allies several times over. In contrast, even at its peak in the late 1990s, al-Qaeda’s membership ranged between 3,000 and 4,000 fighters.25 There are no brigades, fighter jets, and heavy tanks in al-Qaeda’s armory, much less

attacks. Nonetheless, militants whom I recently re-interviewed—particularly repentant jihadis—know they are at a crossroads. At home and abroad they are blamed for unleashing the wrath of the United States against the umma. Most of their allies have deserted them, and they are censured by clerics and Muslim opinion. Only a miracle will resuscitate transnational jihad. The question is whether the prolonged War on Terror, the breakup of Yemen or Libya, a destabilized Pakistan, a seventh

Saudi Arabia bars construction of churches and synagogues. To do so “a few blocks from the site where Islamist extremists killed more than 3,000 Americans,” Gingrich opined, is a “political act” of “triumphalism,” he said.43 He justified his opposition by drawing an analogy with the Holocaust: “Nazis don’t have the right to put up a sign next to the Holocaust museum in Washington,” he said.44 A number of politicians and citizens backed the mosque project based on the principle of freedom of

Officials’ Sense of Futility in Afghanistan.” 176. Carlotta Gall, Thom Shanker, David E. Sanger, and Eric Schmitt, “Afghan Official Confirms Moves Toward Taliban Talks,” New York Times, 14 October 2010; Robert Dreyfuss, “United States Supports Taliban Peace Talks,” Nation, 14 October 2010. 177. Karen DeYoung, Peter Finn, and Craig Whitlock, “Taliban in High-Level Talks with Karzai Government, Sources Say,” 6 October 2010. 178. “How al-Qaeda ‘Chief’ Was Caught,” BBC, 4 March 2003,

Download sample


About admin