Books (Photo credit: vasta)
Vol 6, No 2 (2012) Selected and reviewed by Joshua Sinai
Terrorist rebellions, in all their configurations, constitute first order national security threats facing the international community. This was especially the case following September 2001, when al Qaida demonstrated that it had world class ambitions to inflict catastrophic damages on its adversaries. Although substantially degraded militarily and geographically dispersed since then, al-Qaida, its affiliates and allies around the world continue to wage their insurgencies, whether localized or transnational. Of great concern is that not only have they succeeded in embedding themselves with terrorist networks that are spearheading internal conflicts in weak and failed states, such as in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen, but as an ideological movement they have been able to radicalize new generations of adherents around the world using cyberspace, including social media.
In another development, terrorist targeting in other conflicts, such as the Palestinian-Israeli arena, is primarily localized against Israel, although as demonstrated by Hizballah‘s rocket guerrilla warfare against Israel in their summer 2006 war and Hamas’s firing of rockets against Israel’s southern towns since then, terrorist warfare continues to evolve, for instance, from suicide bombings to firing rockets over great distances. In other conflict zones, such as Afghanistan and Iraq, terrorists are resorting to placing IEDs against their adversaries.
Even counterterrorism campaigns now span the spectrum of latest trends in warfare technology, from deploying specially equipped special operations forces to launching aerial drones that can remotely target terrorist operatives in far-away locations.
Moreover, the Internet has provided terrorist groups and their supporters a new virtual space to conduct activities that were previously restricted to “physical” space, such as radicalization, recruitment, fundraising, and even command and control of operations, thereby enabling them to bypass physical borders where national governments have vastly upgraded their defenses. As a result, the worldwide reach of groups such as al Qaida and its affiliates has led to what are termed “self-starter” home-grown cells in Western Europe, North America, and elsewhere, although foreign terrorist groups still retain some influence over their operations.
To gain an analytical understanding of the origins, magnitude, and evolution of the terrorist threats around the world and how to counteract them, the academic and public policy communities have produced a plethora of books on terrorism in general, the groups that engage in terrorist warfare, the extremist religious movements that drive individuals to join terrorist groups and employ terrorist tactics on their behalf, the conflict zones where such warfare is being waged, and the types of counteractions that governments are employing in response.
The books listed in this review essay are organized into seventeen sections, which are not intended to be mutually exclusive:
(i) encyclopedias and reference resources,
(ii) textbooks and general histories,
(iii) using the social, behavioral, and economic sciences to study terrorism,
(iv) journalistic case studies,
(v) case studies of terrorist groups,
(vi) root causes of terrorism,
(vii) radicalization and recruitment into terrorism,
(viii) funding terrorism,
(ix) suicide terrorism,
(x) international law and terrorism,
(xi) terrorism on the internet,
(xii) terrorism and WMD,
(xiv) intelligence in counterterrorism,
and, under the general category of resolving terrorist rebellions,
(xv) de-radicalization and disengagement from terrorism,
(xvi) peace negotiations with terrorists, and
(xvii) how terrorist conflicts end.
Within each section, the nominated books are listed in order of their publication date. Although the most recently published books obviously merit the most attention, the earlier published books still retain sufficient importance for inclusion in the listing. Every effort was made to list the most updated and revised editions of earlier published books. Also, please note that the prices listed are the publishers’ official prices, with many of the books available for purchase at discounted rates at bookseller sites such as Amazon.com.
In the absence of consensus on the Romanization of Arabic names, the spelling of group names such as al Qaida have been left as published in their original title (e.g., “al Qaeda”), although the reviews spell it as “al Qaida.”
This listing of top 150 books is intended to provide an overview of many of the discipline’s pre-eminent books, but space considerations limit coverage of additional topics and the dozens of worthy books that cover all these topics. Readers are encouraged to nominate additional topics and books for inclusion in future lists.
(i) Encyclopedias and Reference Resources
Encyclopedias are highly useful in covering a wide range of knowledge about terrorism and counterterrorism issues in alphabetical order at a basic level, while reference handbooks generally cover them thematically and in greater depth. The following volumes provide excellent information and analysis about virtually all aspects of terrorism and counterterrorism:
James Ciment, editor, World Terrorism: An Encyclopedia of Political Violence from Ancient Times to the Post-9/11 Era [Three Volumes] [Second Edition] (Armonk, NY: Sharpe Reference, 2011), 1016 pages, $349.00. [Hardcover]
This illustrated, three volume set is a substantially revised, updated, and reorganized successor to the 2003 edition of Encyclopedia of World Terrorism. It includes more than 200 in-depth articles providing background information and analysis on the spectrum of categories and types of terrorist groups ranging from domestic to international, religious and nationalist, state and non-state supported, left-wing and right-wing, as well as entries on worldwide terrorist incidents. Other sections include entries on terrorists’ agendas, modus operandi, weaponry, targeting and governmental counterterrorism programs, including the role of intelligence in counterterrorism (written by this reviewer), and issues involving security and civil liberties. The appendix includes hundreds of photographs, maps, and diagrams.
Edward E. Mickolus and Susan I. Simmons, The Terrorist List [Five Volumes: Volume 1: Asia, Pacific and Sub-Saharan Africa; Volume 2: Western Europe; Volume 3: Eastern Europe; Volume 4: North America; and Volume 5: South America] (Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger, 2011), 1333 pages, $464.95. [Hardcover]
This five-volume set is an authoritatively-produced encyclopedic compilation of biographical information about individuals who were involved in terrorist activities, whether domestic or international, dating back 35 years. The terrorist biographies are arranged by their continent of origin, and provide detailed information regarding the incidents they were involved in, including their outcomes. As explained by the authors, “The list is designed to serve as a directory of leaders, perpetrators, financiers, defendants, detainees, persons of interest, conspirators, and aliases in the regions” in which they are listed. Each volume includes a separate index of the terrorists listed in that particular geographical volume.
Alex P. Schmid, editor, The Routledge Handbook of Terrorism Research (New York: Routledge, 2011), 718 pages, $210.00. [Hardcover]
This handbook represents the most up-to-date analytic findings and reference resources on terrorism and counterterrorism studies, compiled by Alex Schmid, one of the world’s leading academic experts. These findings are arranged in an easy to follow chapter framework, beginning with Dr. Schmid’s comprehensive overview in which he champions greater use of evidence-based empirical research, such as compiling biographies of terrorist operatives in order to generate insight into what types of individuals become terrorists. This is essential because of the nature of terrorism itself, which Dr. Schmid describes as an underground “war in the shadows,” that makes it difficult to ferret out all the information needed to thwart terrorist endeavors unless an understanding of the characteristics of the operatives who conduct such warfare is known. It is a big book with a price tag to match, but the depth of its detail merits its cost.
Gus Martin, editor, The SAGE Encyclopedia of Terrorism [Second Edition] (Los Angeles, CA: SAGE Reference, 2011), 720 pages, $135.00. [Hardcover]
A substantially updated and expanded edition of the original encyclopedia, which was published in 2005. The entries by the contributors to this expertly written volume’s new material and expanded coverage explore in a comprehensive fashion terrorist groups and individuals involved in terrorism, the culture and ideology of terrorism, significant terrorism events, types and methods of terrorism, components of counterterrorism, and the impact of terrorism on society, such as civil liberties.
Paul B. Rich and Isabelle Duyvesteyn, editors, The Routledge Handbook of Insurgency and Counterinsurgency (New York: Routledge, 2012), 400 pages, $200.00. [Hardcover]
This masterful handbook provides a comprehensive overview of the state of academic analysis and debate on insurgency and counterinsurgency, as well as an-up-to date survey of contemporary insurgent movements and government counter-insurgency campaigns around the world. The volume is divided into three parts: Part I: Theoretical and Analytical Issues, Part II: Insurgent Movements, and Part III: Counterinsurgency Cases. With each of the handbook’s chapters providing extensive reference resources, it is also organized to serve as a guide for further study and research. This volume is included in the listing for this review essay because of the substantial overlap between many of these insurgent movements and terrorist organizations (e.g., Hizballah, Hamas, and the Taliban are considered as both insurgent and terrorist organizations) and the governments’ counterinsurgent campaigns are similar in many ways to counterterrorism measures.
(ii) Textbooks and General Histories
Textbooks and general histories provide a foundation for our understanding about terrorism and counterterrorism, both past and present, which need to be supplemented with additional resources that go into greater detail. The following are considered among the leading classics in the field:
Bruce Hoffman, Inside Terrorism [Second and Expanded Edition] (New York: Columbia University Press, 2006), 456 pages, $24.95. [Paperback]
An updated and substantial expansion of the widely acclaimed original edition published in 1998 – despite being somewhat out of date in 2012 – is still considered one of the most comprehensive books on terrorism. Like its original edition, its chapters discuss how to define terrorism, the origins of contemporary terrorism, the internationalization of terrorism, the role of extremist religions in driving terrorism, the nature of suicide terrorism, the exploitation by terrorist groups of old and new media, terrorists’ objectives, tactics, and technological innovations in their use of weapons, targeting, and future trends in terrorist warfare.
Peter R. Neumann, Old & New Terrorism (Malden, MA: Polity Press, 2009), 204 pages, $22.95. [Paperback]
This innovative book investigates how and why terrorism’s organizational structures, modus operandi, political agendas and types of warfare have changed over the years as a result of certain dynamics, such as the information revolution created by modernity and globalization. It concludes that both governments and societies need to better confront the challenges created by these “new” forms of terrorism in the areas where it has evolved.
Adrian Guelke, The New Age of Terrorism and the International Political System (London and New York: I.B. Tauris, 2009), 256 pages, $29.00. [Paperback]
The Belfast, Northern Ireland-based author, a widely published academic expert on terrorism (who was mistakenly attacked by a terrorist group in Belfast in 1991), questions whether terrorism since 9/11 has evolved into a new form of mass-casualty, politically-motivated violence by groups of a global reach or whether it remains essentially unchanged, with small groups employing violence in their struggles against their ‘imperialist’ adversaries. He also explores the responses by governments to how terrorism has evolved and whether it is possible to facilitate the engagement of terrorist groups in a peace process in order to terminate such conflicts peacefully.
Michael Burleigh, Blood & Rage: A Cultural History of Terrorism (New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 2009), 592 pages, $29.99. [Hardcover]
A sweeping, well-written historical overview by a prominent British historian on the nature of modern terrorism from its origins in 19th century Western Europe to the contemporary period. The book’s chapters cover terrorist groups ranging from the early Russian nihilists, the Black International anarchists, the nationalist Irish Republican Brotherhood, to post 1960s terrorism in the form of Palestinian groups, the Red Brigades, the Red Army Faction, as well as the contemporary global threats fueled by al Qaida and its affiliated jihadist groups.
Martha Crenshaw, Explaining Terrorism: Causes, Processes and Consequences (New York: Routledge, 2011), 268 pages, $43.95. [Paperback]
In this important volume, the author, a prominent academic expert on terrorism, has assembled her articles, many of which were previously published in the 1980s and 1990s, with a few published after 2001. The result is a comprehensive compilation that is divided into four parts: (1) the concept of terrorism, its causes, and the distinction between “old” and “new” terrorism); (2) how terrorists organize, their strategies, and the psychology of terrorism; (3) governmental responses to terrorism, such as coercive diplomacy, the formulation of counterterrorism strategies and “grand strategies,” and (4) how terrorism ends, including why and how terrorism may be rejected or renounced by its adherents.
John Horgan and Kurt Braddock, editors, Terrorism Studies: A Reader (New York: Routledge, 2011), 504 pages, $44.95. [Paperback]
A comprehensive compilation of articles by leading experts on the historical context of terrorism, this reader serves as an excellent supplementary text. The volume covers issues such as David Rapoport’s notion of the four historical waves of modern terrorism; the challenges in defining terrorism; terrorism’s root causes; the psychological processes involved in the development of terrorists and motivations to join terrorist groups; the spectrum of terrorist movements, ranging from the Lebanese Hizballah, the Provisional IRA, right-wing religio-super-nationalist groups, to al Qaida; narco-terrorism and insurgency; the nature of suicide terrorism; the components of counterterrorism, and future trends in terrorism, including WMD warfare.
Brigitte L. Nacos, Terrorism and Counterterrorism [Fourth Edition] (Boston, MA: Longman, 2011), 352 pages, $64.40. [Paperback]
A well-organized and comprehensive textbook on terrorism and counterterrorism. Divided into three parts, it covers subjects ranging from (1) defining terrorism, global terrorism, terrorism in the American context, religiously driven terrorism, the causes and drivers of terrorism, state sponsorship of terrorist groups, terrorists’ goals, tactics and targeting, organizational formations, and how terrorism is funded; (2) the components of counterterrorism, such as the use of “hard” and “soft” power, balancing security and civil liberties, and the components of homeland security; and (3) the role of the media in covering terrorism, and how terrorists exploit the mass media of communications, including the Internet.
Richard Jackson, Lee Jarvis, Jeroen Gunning, and Marie Breen Smyth, Terrorism: A Critical Introduction (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), 352 pages, $40.00. [Paperback]
The authors are leading academics in what is called “Critical Terrorism Studies.” In this textbook, they outline their critique of “conventional” terrorism studies by providing a counter-explanation of terrorism over issues such as defining terrorism, the nature of the terrorist threat and what they consider to be effective and ineffectual counter-terrorism strategies. Chapters cover issues such as the “Orthodox study of terrorism,” “critical approaches to terrorism studies,” “the cultural construction of terrorism,” “bringing gender into the study of terrorism,” conceptualizing terrorism, reconsidering the terrorism threat, types of terrorism, understanding state terrorism, the causes of non-state terrorism, responding to non-state terrorism, and assessing the war on terror. While one may not necessarily agree with their political positions on the terrorist threat, it is important to take note of their assumptions and critiques of the field.
Gus Martin, Essentials of Terrorism: Concepts and Controversies [Second Edition] (Los Angeles, CA: SAGE, 2011), 440 pages, $56.00. [Paperback]
This is an excellent and up-to-date coverage of the latest trends in terrorism and counterterrorism studies. Chapters cover a conceptual overview of terrorism (defining terrorism, historical and ideological origins, and causes of terrorism), terrorist environments (typologies of terrorist groups, including state terrorism), and terrorist battlegrounds (the role of the media in covering terrorism, warfare tactics and targeting), counterterrorism, and future trends and projections. Also noteworthy are the discussions and case studies on a range of topics featured in each chapter and various end-of-chapter materials, including key terms and Internet-based exercises.
Gus Martin, Understanding Terrorism: Challenges, Perspectives, and Issues [Fourth Edition] (Los Angeles, CA: Sage, 2012), 616 pages, $80.00. [Paperback]
This widely used book’s fourth edition – and the author’s second textbook on terrorism – is a multidisciplinary, comprehensive examination of terrorism in general and terrorist incidents in particular. Also noteworthy is the coverage of major theories on terrorism, case studies, terrorist group profiles, and significant events. Each chapter begins with “Opening Viewpoints” that are illustrated with relevant examples to introduce readers to the themes and theories in the discussion that follows, and ends with “Discussion Boxes” that provide controversial information, along with critical thinking questions to stimulate classroom discussion. The text is accompanied by photographs, tables, and graphics.
Richard Jackson and Samuel Justin Sinclair, editors. Contemporary Debates on Terrorism (New York: Routledge, 2012), 240 pages, $42.95. [Paperback]
An innovative pedagogic approach to studying terrorism and counterterrorism through a debate format, with scholars representing different perspectives debating one another over controversial issues. Although one may challenge the editors’ use of ‘traditional’ and ‘critical’ perspectives since some of the ‘critical’ approaches can be quite dogmatic and partisan in their own way (aside from other problem areas), this is still a valuable textbook for the way its contributors address significant issues in the discipline. These include theoretical issues, such as how to define terrorism and state terrorism, substantive issues, such as the magnitude of the threat presented by al Qaida and its affiliates, the effectiveness of various counterterrorism responses, and ethical issues, such as the use of torture in interrogations of prisoners and targeted killings.
(iii) Using the Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences to Study Terrorism
As exemplified by the following books, the counterterrorism community has greatly benefited from the application of social, behavioral, and economic science concepts and methodologies to investigate components of terrorism such as the underlying root causes driving terrorist rebellions, the psychological nature of terrorist groups and their operatives, and the factors driving individuals to become radicalized into extremism and recruited into terrorism.
Ely Karmon’s Coalitions Between Terrorist Organizations: Revolutionaries, Nationalists, and Islamists (Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 2005) 426 pages; $206.00. [Hardcover]
An innovative examination of how terrorist organizations form cooperative coalitions and how they function within the changing international system. Although out-of-date in terms of capturing latest trends in the nature of such coalitions, its theoretical framework and historic overview are useful in conceptualizing how such linkages originate and are sustained over time.
John Horgan, The Psychology of Terrorism (New York: Routledge, 2005), 224 pages, $49.95. [Paperback]
When published in 2005, this book was considered one of the best applications of psychology to explain the drivers that motivate individuals to become terrorists, function as terrorists, and, in ideal cases, disengage from terrorism. Also noteworthy is the author’s discussion of how to define terrorism and conduct academic research on terrorist subjects. A revised and updated second edition is scheduled for publication in late 2012.
James J.F. Forest, editor, The Making of a Terrorist: Recruitment, Training, and Root Causes [Three Volumes] (Westport, CT: Praeger Security International, 2006), 1280 pages, $315. [Hardcover]
The three volumes bring together contributions by dozens of experts to discuss the central question of how individuals are transformed into becoming a terrorist. The first volume’s chapters cover the recruitment of terrorists, with emphasis on the psychological and religious appeals of joining a terrorist organization. The second volume focuses on how and where terrorists are trained by their groups. The third volume addresses the political, social, and economic root causes that contribute to terrorism globally and within specific countries and regions.
Walter Enders and Todd Sandler, The Political Economy of Terrorism (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 294 pages, $29.99. [Paperback]
This important volume applies a theoretical and empirical economics-based methodology, together with political analysis, to qualitatively and quantitatively examine the incidents domestic and transnational terrorism, in order to generate a spectrum of terrorist warfare trends. It also evaluates the effectiveness of governments’ counterterrorism policies, including dilemmas for liberal democracies in balancing security and civil liberties. A separate case study analyzes governmental responses to hostage incidents.
Magnus Ranstorp, editor, Mapping Terrorism Research: State of the Art, Gaps and Future Direction (New York: Routledge, 2007), 352 pages, $160.00. [Hardcover]
When this volume was published, it represented one of the first attempts to inventory the strengths and weaknesses in terrorism research in order to identify a set of priorities for future research. Fourteen academic experts (including this reviewer) contributed chapters on topics such as new trends in terrorism studies, the impact of 9/11 on terrorism research, responding to the roots of terror, the socio-psychological components of terrorist motivations, the nature of al Qaida’s warfare, recruitment of Islamist terrorists in Europe, the landscape of intelligence analysis and counterterrorism, terrorism in cyberspace, and the components of terrorism and counterterrorism studies.
Bruce Bongar, et al., editors, Psychology of Terrorism (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007), 512 pages, $85.00. [Hardcover]
In this important comprehensive volume, leading academic experts present their findings on the psychology of individuals who become terrorists and the psychological theories that are relevant to the treatment and clinical responses to terrorist events, including the treatment of special populations such as children and older adults.
Adam Dolnik, Understanding Terrorist Innovation: Technology, Tactics and Global Trends (New York: Routledge, 2007), 224 pages, $39.95. [Paperback]
An important examination of innovations in terrorist tactics and technologies over the years in order to develop an empirical theory of innovation by terrorist groups. Also considered are the critical factors responsible for the differences in such learning and innovation practices among terrorist organizations. Case studies of four terrorist organizations (Aum Shinrikyo, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command, the Riyadus-Salikhin Suicide Battalion, and the Revolutionary Organization November 17) highlight the key factors in producing innovative tactics and weaponry by such groups. The author concludes by highlighting key trends for the future in order to identify signature characteristics of innovation-based terrorist organizations, which is a critical element in predictive threat assessment and in countering such groups’ warfare.
Ekaterina Stepanova, Terrorism in Asymmetrical Conflict: Ideological and Structural Aspects (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008), 200 pages, $74.00. [Hardcover]
In this innovative theoretical volume, the author focuses on the extremist ideologies and structural capabilities of terrorist groups. This, the author writes, is a crucial element that enables resolution by the threatened governments of the asymmetrical threats confronting them at all levels, from the local to the global, which is dependent on disrupting terrorists’ structural capabilities and neutralizing the appeal of their extremist ideologies. Using Islamist terrorism as the book’s primary case study, the author argues that defeating its “quasi-religious, supra-national ideology” requires ‘nationalizing’ its transnational nature and co-opting it in a “more regular process.”
Paul K. Davis, et al, Social Science for Counterterrorism: Putting the Pieces Together (Santa Monica, CA: RAND, 2009), 540 pages, $59.50. [Paperback]
A significant groundbreaking volume by RAND academic experts that surveys the social-science literature on counterterrorism and then applies relevant conceptual models to examine issues such as terrorism’s root causes, radicalization into violent extremism, how terrorists generate, maintain, or lose public support, how terrorists make decisions, how terrorists disengage from violence, and why and how does terrorism decline.
Jeffrey Kaplan, Terrorist Groups and the New Tribalism: Terrorism’s Fifth Wave (New York: Routledge, 2010), 256 pages, $130.00. [Hardcover]
This insightful study examines David Rapoport’s thesis of the four waves of the history of modern terrorism to demonstrate how a new insurgent grouping has emerged to constitute a distinct ‘fifth wave’ of modern terrorism, which the author terms as the “New Tribalism”. The terrorist groups constituting the ‘fifth wave’ share similar strategic ambitions and tactics, which the author characterizes as “radical localism, tribalism and xenophobia.”
Jean E. Rosenfeld, editor, Terrorism, Identity and Legitimacy: The Four Waves Theory and Political Violence (New York: Routledge, 2011), 272 pages, $130.00. [Hardcover]
The contributors to this conceptually interesting edited volume, who come from many disciplines and contrasting perspectives, apply David Rapoport’s notion of the four historical waves of modern terrorism – with each one lasting for 40 year “generations” – to explain the trajectories of terrorism and their impact on society over time, including how mob violence breaks out, how political violence spreads, the role of religion in driving terrorism and violence, the relationship between technology and terrorist warfare, and other issues, in order to analyze the questions that such phenomena present, including future trends.
(iv) Journalistic Case Studies
As criminal enterprises, terrorism and its radicalization and recruitment precursors take place underground. Generally, only government counterterrorism agencies possess the capability to monitor and track their activities through covert intelligence means, limiting the ability of those outside government to study this subject with empirically valid data. Nevertheless, our understanding of those who engage in terrorism as well as the nature of counterterrorism campaigns has greatly benefited from the reporting of investigative journalists, who often travel great distances and interview countless people in assembling their books. Some of the best reporting on terrorism includes the following books:
Ed Moloney, A Secret History of the IRA (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2003), 640 pages, $18.95. [Paperback]
A veteran Irish journalist’s investigatory account of the inner workings of the Irish Republican Army (IRA), including how it came to end its 30-year terrorist insurgency by agreeing to a peace process that attempted to resolve the conflict’s underlying causes.
Steve Coll, Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001 (New York: Penguin Books, 2004), 720 pages, $18.00. [Paperback]
A veteran journalist’s insider account of the American intelligence agencies’ involvement with counterparts from Pakistan and Saudi Arabia in the covert wars in Afghanistan in the 1980s and 1990s that succeeded in overthrowing the Soviet-backed government in that country. However, this involvement also ended up bolstering the Islamist militancy in that country which laid the basis for the emergence of the Taliban and, indirectly, gave rise to Usama bin Laden’s al Qaida in that country, which sowed the seeds of al Qaida’s 9/11 attacks against America. The author also discusses the unsuccessful efforts by U.S. intelligence to capture or kill bin Laden in Afghanistan after 1998. The book is considered one of the most authoritative accounts on this period in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Alston Chase, A Mind for Murder: The Education of the Unabomber and the Origins of Modern Terrorism (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2004), 448 pages, $15.95. [Paperback]
An examination of the life and motives of Ted Kaczynski, known as “The Unabomber.” Mr. Alston’s account begins with Kaczynski’s unhappy adolescence in Illinois and proceeds to Harvard College. There, he studied psychology, but ultimately fled from what was supposed to be a brilliant academic career to the edge of the wilderness in Montana. It was in his book-lined cabin, however, that he formulated an extremist view of the world that he used to justify his later terrorist activities, which took the form of letter bombs and explosive-laden packages. The author’s narration is especially noteworthy not only for detailing Kaczynski’s planning and execution of his attacks, but the political context that drove him into such violent extremism.
Stewart Bell, The Martyr’s Oath: The Apprenticeship of a Homegrown Terrorist [Second Edition] (Toronto, Canada: John Wiley & Sons, 2005), 288 pages, $36.95. [Hardcover]
Canadian journalist Stewart Bell’s important account of Mohammed Jabarah, a young Canadian Muslim who became radicalized and recruited by al Qaida for a bombing mission in Singapore in 2001. By investigating why such a young person who grew up in a comfortable middle class family in Canada (although the family was originally from Kuwait) would end up as an operative in a terrorist organization in East Asia, the author searches for answers on how to counter the proliferation of similar types of recruits in North America and Europe into radical Islamic terrorism.
Samuel M. Katz, Jihad in Brooklyn: The NYPD Raid that Stopped America’s First Suicide Bombers (New York: New American Library, 2005), 336 pages, $13.95. [Paperback]
A gripping account by a veteran investigative journalist of how three young Palestinian men living in a cramped Brooklyn apartment decided in late July 1997 to carry out a suicide bombing attack against a rush-hour subway train. Fortunately, an Egyptian dishwasher who had been living with them informed two NYPD policemen about their plot, resulting in their arrest and thwarting what would have been America’s first Islamist suicide bombing.
Lawrence Wright, The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 (New York: Vintage, 2007), 553 pages, $17.00. [Paperback]
One of the most sweeping and extensively researched narratives of the events leading to al-Qaida’s 9/11 attacks, including the rise of Islamic extremism. It also examines al Qaida’s 9/11 plot from the perspective of American counterterrorism agencies that had tried, but failed, to prevent it.
Stewart Bell, Cold Terror: How Canada Nurtures and Exports Terrorism Around the World (Mississauga, Ontario, Canada: John Wiley & Sons, 2007), 304 pages, $32.95. [Hardcover]
Although dated by much improved Canadian counterterrorism measures, this is an account by an acclaimed Canadian investigative journalist of how international terrorist groups, such as the Indian Sikh Babbar Khalsa, Hizballah, Hamas, the Tamil Tigers, Algerian GIA, and al Qaida, used to operate in Canada, which they regarded as a “safe haven” by raising funds (often through criminal enterprises), and recruiting and planning terrorist acts. The author explains how such terrorist networks were able to operate in Canada, who their central figures were, and Canada’s previous counterterrorism measures. This account of the terrorist underworld in Canada is enriched by his travels to Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Middle East, Europe, and the United States.
Dina Temple-Raston, The Jihad Next Door: The Lackawanna Six and Rough Justice in the Age of Terror (New York: Public Affairs, 2007), 304 pages; $26.00. [Hardcover]
A compelling and important journalistic investigation into “The Lackawanna Six” – a group of Yemeni American “bunch of guys” living in a close-knit Yemeni community outside Buffalo, New York, who fell in with Kamel Derwish, an al Qaida radicalizer who facilitated their travel in Spring 2001 to one of the organization’s training camps in Afghanistan. When five of them returned to America just prior to 9/11, they found themselves involved in a high-profile investigation and prosecution. Derwish, who made his way to Yemen, was eventually killed by a U.S. Predator drone in 2002.
Sally Neighbour, The Mother of Mohammed: An Australian Woman’s Extraordinary Journey into Jihad (Carlton, Victoria, Australia: Melbourne University Press, 2010), 304 pages, $26.50. [Paperback]
An important insider account, based on extensive interviews with its subject, by a prominent Australian journalist of Robyn Mary Hutchinson, an Australian woman, who grew up as a drug-using surfing groupie who converted to Islam while on a “hippie” visit to Bali, Indonesia, where she met her husband, who came from a Javanese royal family, with whom she had two children. Later she left her husband, when he became a drug addict, married again and had more children, before coming into contact with Abu Bakar Bashir, the imam who envisioned an Islamic caliphate across an arc of South-East Asia and whose name had been linked to several terrorist attacks in Indonesia. Eventually, Ms Hutchinson moved to Pakistan, where she lived a spartan existence among a community of devout Muslims. Later, she moved to Afghanistan, where she became known as Umm Mohammed (“mother of Mohammed”, the name of one of her sons) and got to know the leaders of al Qaida, including Usama bin Laden. Bin Laden provided her an air conditioner and may have even have proposed marriage, according to the author.
Ian Johnson, A Mosque in Munich: Nazis, the CIA, and the Rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in the West (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010), 336 pages, $27.00. [Hardcover]
A first rate, captivating account by veteran journalist Ian Johnson who used primary sources, including unclassified documents, to investigate the origins of the Muslim Brotherhood’s first beachhead in the West during the post-World War II period, when a group of ex-Soviet Muslims defected to Germany and established a mosque in Munich. Over the years, they became entangled in the Cold War between the West and the Soviet Union, including becoming instrumental in recruiting fighters against the Soviet military in Afghanistan. This book is crucial in providing an understanding of how the Muslim Brotherhood had become such an influential force in contemporary Western Europe.
Andrew Welsh-Huggins, Hatred at Home: Al-Qaida on Trial in the American Midwest (Athens, OH: Swallow Press/Ohio University Press, 2011), 196 pages, $26.95. [Hardcover]
This extensively researched journalistic investigation of the arrests of three terrorism suspects in Ohio in the years following the 9/11 attacks focuses mainly on the story of Iyman Faris, one of the conspirators, who was convicted in 2003. Using court transcripts and interviews with law enforcement officials and members of Ohio’s Muslim community, the author recreates the events and circumstances leading up to the arrests. Although these cases may not be widely known, this is an important account of “homegrown” radicalization in America.
Joby Warrick, The Triple Agent: The Al Qaeda Mole Who Infiltrated the CIA (New York: Doubleday, 2011), 272 pages, $26.95. [Hardcover]
Overcoming the “insider” threat is one of the most bedeviling challenges in counterterrorism. This is especially the case when, in the attempt to penetrate an adversary terrorist organization, a decision has to be made about who will be deployed as a double agent. Can he be trusted? How is it possible to know if he has a hidden agenda that will lead him to turn against his unsuspecting handlers? What follows is Washington Post investigative journalist Joby Warrick’s compelling tale, based on interviews conducted across several continents, of the clash between high expectations and deceit, set against the backdrop of the inner workings of al Qaida and its Taliban affiliate, and their monitoring and countermeasures by America’s intelligence services.
Catherine Herridge, The Next Wave: On the Hunt for Al Qaeda’s American Recruits (New York: Crown Forum, 2011), 272 pages, $25.00. [Hardcover]
An account by an American investigative reporter of how homegrown extremists have become recruits for al Qaida’s next wave of terrorist attack. Terming this “al Qaeda 2.0,” the author shows how such recruits use modern technology, such as Facebook and Skype, to radicalize and communicate with one another. The book contains informative accounts of Major Nidal Hasan, Najibullah Zazi, and Anwar al Awlaki.
Eric Schmitt and Thom Shanker, Counterstrike: The Untold Story of America’s Secret Campaign Against al Qaeda (New York: Times Books/Henry Holt & Company, 2011), 336 pages, $27.00. [Hardcover]
An informed account by two veteran New York Times’ journalists of how the U.S. government’s counterterrorism campaign against al Qaida and its affiliates was transformed in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. Adapting methods from classic Cold War deterrence theory, governmental counterterrorism now includes not only military measures, but the geographical field of battle has been expanded to disrupt jihadist networks in ever more creative ways, including in cyberspace. The authors discuss how these new counterterrorism strategies, adopted under President George W. Bush and expanded under Barack Obama, were successfully employed in planning and carrying out the dramatic May 2011 raid in which Usama bin Laden was killed.
Andrew Gumbel and Roger Charles, Oklahoma City: What the Investigation Missed – and Why It Still Matters (New York: William Morrow, 2012), 448 pages, $27.99. [Hardcover]
This account by two investigative journalists claims that Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols did not act alone in plotting and carrying out the Oklahoma City bombing on April 19, 1995. Drawing on their more than 150 interviews, including correspondence with Mr. Nichols, as well as access to case records, the authors claim that additional far-right extremist elements were involved in the conspiracy, that the bombing could have been prevented if certain leads on these individuals had been properly followed up, and that the Alfred P. Murrah federal building may not have been the original target but was selected at the last minute.
Terry McDermott and Josh Meyer, The Hunt for KSM: Inside the Pursuit and Takedown of the Real 9/11 Mastermind, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (Boston, MA: Little Brown and Company, 2012), 368 pages, $27.99. [Hardcover]
A detailed and dramatic account by two former Los Angeles Times investigative reporters of how it took 18 months after al Qaida’s September 11 attacks for U.S. government investigators to capture Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM), the operational mastermind of the attacks, and, now, the most prominent al Qaida operative in U.S. custody. The authors also describe how KSM set up al Qaida’s global terrorist network, personally identified and trained its terrorists, and even flew bomb parts on commercial airlines to test their invisibility. Of special interest is the authors’ account of the U.S. government’s pursuit of KSM, including numerous false leads and close escapes that kept him from being captured for five years before 9/11.
(v) Case Studies of Terrorist Groups
Zachary Abuza, Militant Islam in Southeast Asia: Crucibles of Terror (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 2003), 281 pages, $22.50. [Paperback]
Drawing on extensive fieldwork and interviews with militant leaders, the author examines how extremist Islamist groups emerged in Southeast Asia, with al Qaida serving as their organizational catalyst. Also examined are the grievances that shape Islamist militancy, how certain groups, such as Jemaah Islamiya were transformed from “parochial” jihadis to international terrorists as part of al Qaida’s expanding network, and the region’s governments’ counterterrorism responses. A key question, the author concludes, is whether these governments were sincere about resolving the root causes driving such rebellions or merely employing coercive countermeasures to suppress the symptoms.
Daniel Levitas, The Terrorist Next Door: The Militia Movement and the Radical Right (New York: Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press, 2004), 544 pages, $23.99. [Paperback]
An extensively researched and documented account on the origins, leaders, ideas and activities of the far right extremist paramilitary groups in America, such as the White Supremacists and the neo-Nazis, who seek to bring about a racist revolution in the country.
Donald R. Liddick, Eco-Terrorism: Radical Environmental and Animal Liberation Movements (Westport, CT: Praeger, 2006), 200 pages, $39.95. [Hardcover]
With eco-terrorism one of the outcomes of radical environmentalism, this is one of the few books published on these violent groups. The author’s authoritative account discusses how such eco-terrorists engage in arson, such as property destruction, and other types of violence. He discusses the major groups, such as ALF/ELF, as well as less well-known ones, focusing on their history, who they are, their motivations, ideologies, rhetoric, and tactics, and how to respond to their acts of violence.
Matthew Levitt, Hamas: Politics, Charity, and Terrorism in the Service of Jihad (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2007), 336 pages; $17.00. [Paperback]
In one of the most comprehensive and meticulously documented accounts of the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas, the author explains how it succeeded in blending terrorism, extremist political activism, and social welfare services to become the dominant political force in the Palestinian territories. Although this account is out-of-date, with important geo-political and military developments taking place since its publication, it still provides important background information on the organization.
Daniel Byman, Deadly Connections: States that Sponsor Terrorism (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007), 380 pages, $44.00. [Hardover]
An in-depth account of the states that sponsor terrorist groups, focusing primarily on Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Libya, and their linkages with groups such as al Qaida, Hizballah, and Hamas. Different types of support are discussed, including their motivations for sponsoring such groups, and the impact of such sponsorship on their terrorist proxies. Also considered are governments that permit terrorists to raise money and recruit new members within their countries without, however, providing more “active” support.
Stefan Aust, Baader-Meinhof: The Inside Story of the R.A.F. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009), 480 pages, $29.95. [Hardcover]
The left-wing Baader-Meinhof Group—later known as the Red Army Faction (RAF)—operated in West Germany in the 1970s and 1980s. Their terrorist violence took the form of murder, hostage taking, and bank robberies. In the 1980s, the group’s leaders committed mass suicide while imprisoned, with a tiny faction continuing its terrorist campaign until the group’s breakup in 1998. In this comprehensive history of the group, German reporter Stefan Aust incorporates new information to present a full portrait of the group, based on testimonies by former group members to investigators and formerly classified Stasi documents.
Alessandro Orsini, Anatomy of the Red Brigades: The Religious Mind-Set of Modern Terrorists [Translated by Sarah Nodes] (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2009), 296 pages, $29.95. [Hardcover]
An insightful account of the Red Brigades, an extremist left-wing terrorist group in Italy, formed in 1970 and active throughout the 1980s. In addition to their campaign of assassinations, kidnappings, and bank robberies, their most famous operation was the kidnapping and murder of Aldo Moro, Italy’s former prime minister, in 1978. In the late 1990s, a new extremist group revived the name Red Brigades and began a campaign of killing Italian professors and government officials they considered to be their adversaries. The author applies a micro-sociological approach to this study, termed the “subversive-revolutionary feedback theory,” which states that for such “purifiers of the world” the willingness to engage in political homicide and suffer death depends on how far a group’s members have been incorporated into such a revolutionary sect, much like a cult.
Zachary Abuza, Conspiracy of Silence: The Insurgency in Southern Thailand (Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace Press, 2009), 172 pages, $16.95. [Paperback]
An insightful account by a leading academic expert on terrorism in Southeast Asia, focusing on the sectarian-based insurgency in southern Thailand, which has raged since January 2004 and resulted in more than 3,000 fatalities. What distinguishes this insurgency from previous ones in Thailand, the author points out, is its radical jihadist overtones and unprecedented levels of violence. Drawing on original research and extensive fieldwork, the author examines the conflict’s underlying causes, its impact on the south’s Buddhist community, and the Thai government’s response, which he characterizes as ineffectual. The author warns that international jihadist groups, such as al Qaida, are likely to involve themselves in the conflict, thereby escalating its intensity and lethality, with regional and international consequences.
Beverly Gage, The Day Wall Street Exploded: A Story of America and Its First Age of Terror (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009), 416 pages, $27.95. [Hardcover]
An extensively researched and gripping account of one of the first homegrown terrorist attacks in America against one of its most iconic symbols: Wall Street. The four-year hunt for the perpetrators stretched as far as Italy and the new Soviet nation. Especially interesting are the author’s accounts of the lives of the victims, the suspects, and the investigators, including the polarized political climate at the time which was dominated by the likes of banking mogul J.P. Morgan, Jr., labor radical “Big Bill” Haywood, anarchist firebrands Emma Goldman and Luigi Galleani, and William J. Burns, “America’s Sherlock Holmes.”
Ami Pedahzur and Arie Perliger, Jewish Terrorism in Israel (New York: Columbia University Press, 2009), 264 pages, $22.50. [Paperback]
The authors place contemporary anti-regime Jewish terrorist activity in Israel within its historical context, with its “totalistic ideology” similar in many ways to Islamist extremism. It was such a mindset that drove Yigal Amir, a fringe member of Jewish extremism, to assassinate Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in November 1995 as part of that movement’s opposition to the Oslo Peace Accords with the Palestinians. The book, one of the very few published on this subject, benefits from the authors extensive interviews with former Jewish terrorists and extremist political and religious leaders, as well as Israeli law-enforcement officials.
Anna Geifman, Death Orders: The Vanguard of Modern Terrorism in Revolutionary Russia (Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger, 2010), 229 pages, $34.95. [Hardcover]
With 19th century Russia considered the birthplace of modern terrorism, the author views it as a precursor to the psycho-historical patterns of worldwide terrorist activity that evolved over the next century. Especially noteworthy is the author’s analysis of how terrorists’ objectives have degenerated from punishment of individual adversaries and attempts to intimidate political elites to carrying out indiscriminate acts of political violence. Moreover, as the author explains, a group’s stated ideology and rhetoric will invariably be transformed in practice into brutal violence. The author’s examination of such Russian precedents in political violence helps illuminate many of the brutal aspects of current terrorism.
J. Todd Reed and Diana Raschke, The ETIM: China’s Islamic Militants and the Global Terrorist Threat (Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger, 2010), 244 pages, $49.95. [Hardcover]
This volume is an authoritative and comprehensive account of the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM), the most significant Muslim terrorist group in China, which demands an independent Muslim state for the Uyghur ethnic minority in northwest China. In what is one of the few books on this subject, the authors discuss the group’s origins, objectives, ideology, leadership, tactics, and ties to international terrorist networks. They conclude with an assessment of how other governments view ETIM’s activities and how this has affected their relations with China.
Robert W. Schaefer, The Insurgency in Chechnya and the North Caucasus: From Gazavat to Jihad (Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger, 2011), 303 pages, $59.95. [Hardcover]
An insightful overview by a U.S. military expert on the Chechen and North Caucasus insurgencies against Russia and its government’s primarily military response to such terrorist threats. Thematically organized, it examines the origins of the conflict in the North Caucasus, including the influences of different strains of Islamism and al Qaida. It also features a detailed critique of Russia’s counterterrorism campaigns over years. Especially noteworthy is the author’s use of information from the North Caucasus Incident Database (NCID), including terrorist incidents, as well as informative charts that outline aspects of Russia’s counterterrorism campaigns.
Eitan Azani, Hezbollah: The Story of the Party of God From Revolution to Institutionalization (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), 308 pages, $31.00. [Paperback]
An authoritative account of the Lebanese Hizballah by a veteran Israeli national security expert. In the author’s view, as Hizballah has become increasingly institutionalized over the years, it began using a “controlled policy” which integrates guerrilla warfare and terrorist attacks while taking into account “profit and loss” political considerations. Such pragmatism, the author argues, has made it far more dangerous than that its 1980s revolutionary model. This pragmatism, he concludes, merely masks the fact that it has not abandoned its goals, only changed their pace of application.
Daniel Baracskay, The Palestine Liberation Organization: Terrorism and Prospects for Peace in the Holy Land (Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger, 2011), 225 pages, $44.95. [Hardcover]
This book provides a detailed and comprehensive analysis of the historical events which culminated in the creation of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in 1964 and leadership of the Palestinian people for the next three decades. The author’s discussion of the organization’s key leaders, ideology, support base, financial structure, and recruitment strategies, is especially noteworthy. Also discussed are the PLO’s activities in neighboring countries such as Jordan, Lebanon and Syria, and its evolution from a primarily terrorist organization into a ruling political regime in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, although in recent years its historical rival, Hamas, has succeeded in overtaking it in Gaza.
Stephen Tankel, Storming the World Stage: The Story of Lashkar-e-Taiba (New York: Columbia University Press, 2011), 288 pages, $35.00. [Hardcover]
In what is one of the few comprehensive books published on Lashkar-e-Taiba (Let), based on his extensive field research in Pakistan the author traces its development from its origins as a small resistance group in Kashmir to its current role as the largest Pakistani terrorist organization operating in South Asia, including India. With the November 2009 Mumbai attacks placing the LeT high on the world’s radar, the author discusses its overall threat and how its warfare may evolve in the coming years. The LeT rose to prominence with Pakistani state support, especially as its proxy in Kashmir’s civil war with India. One may dispute the author’s judgment that the LeT may “fear” to associate too closely with al Qaida, which is also closely tied to sectors of Pakistan’s government (as is the Taliban). With the LeT likely to continue mounting terrorist attacks in India – Pakistan’s historic rival – it will be interesting to see whether it is likely to mount any operations, as the Taliban has done, in the West, although it has used American operatives on overseas missions.
(vi) Root Causes of Terrorism
Tore Bjorge, editor, Root Causes of Terrorism: Myths, Reality and Ways Forward (New York: Routledge, 2005), 288 pages; $47.95. [Paperback]
This collection of papers is the product of an experts’ workshop (in which this reviewer participated) that was held in Oslo, Norway, in June 2003, under the auspices of the Norwegian government. It represented the first time that an academic meeting had been held to explore, in a systematic manner, the concepts and methodologies to conduct analysis on root causes of terrorism. So innovative at the time, it is unfortunate that a follow up meeting has not been held to review, update, and revise the contributors’ initial findings in order to advance understanding of these issues and align them with the latest developments and trends in the field.
Alan B. Krueger, What Makes a Terrorist: Economics and the Roots of Terrorism [New Edition] (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2008), 216 pages, $19.95. [Paperback]
The author, an influential American economist, discusses what he considers to be some of the root causes underlying terrorist insurgencies and the factors that motivate individuals to become terrorists – all of which need to be addressed in order to resolve them. Using empirically derived data, his inferences are drawn from terrorists’ own backgrounds and the economic, social, and political conditions in the societies where they originate. He also discusses which countries he considers to be the most likely breeding grounds for terrorists, as well as their targets for terrorist warfare.
Louise Richardson, What Terrorists Want: Understanding the Enemy, Containing the Threat (New York: Random House, 2007), 336 pages, $17.00. [Paperback]
According to the author, who grew up in Northern Ireland where she experienced the effects of terrorism first-hand, terrorists are basically rational political actors who calibrate their tactics in a measured and reasoned way, including going to great lengths to justify their actions to themselves, their followers, and the world. To defeat terrorism, the author argues, governments must therefore understand a terrorist adversary’s motivations and grievances. These consist of three elements: a legitimizing ideology, such as a belief that they are doing the right thing or God’s will in seeking revenge for a humiliation, a real or imagined defeat of their constituency by a government’s forces, and, on a personal level, some sort of dissatisfaction. For terrorism to succeed a group requires an enabling society that views its members as “heroes’ and provides them a measure of sanctuary or safe haven. To resolve terrorist rebellions, the author proposes a strategy to contain the threat and reduce its local support.
Jason Franks, Rethinking the Roots of Terrorism (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006), 26 4 pages, $107.00. [Hardcover]
This is a comprehensive interdisciplinary examination of the motivations and causes of terrorism in general and specifically in the context of the Middle East. While critical of what he terms as ‘orthodox’ terrorism discourse which he argues has been faulty in addressing its roots causes, he employs the methods and approaches of conflict resolution to align it with the causes of conflict in general in order to gain a more complete understanding of its political, social, and economic causes and motivations.
(vii) Radicalization and Recruitment into Terrorism
Although each of the world’s major religions includes a tiny minority of militant elements that engage in terrorism, most of the literature on radicalization and recruitment into terrorism focuses on militant Islam because terrorist groups that have “hijacked” Islam represent the major threats against their own societies and the Western world. Like the root causes that drive terrorism in general, militant Islamic terrorism has not emerged in a vacuum, but is the product of the confluence of historical and contemporary drivers and “real world” factors. To understand the narrative that is central to Muslim belief, it is essential to read the Quran. The following books provide an excellent overview of radicalization and recruitment into militant Islam, within the context of the larger Muslim world.
Quintan Wiktorowicz, editor, Islamic Activism: A Social Movement Theory Approach (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2004), 328 pages, $25.95. [Paperback]
This edited volume represents one of the first attempts to apply social movement theory to the study of contemporary Islamic activism as the basis for social and political action in the Middle East and North Africa. Social movement theory is then examined in the volume’s case studies on Islamic activism, whether Sunni or Shi’a, in Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, the Palestinian territories, Saudi Arabia Turkey, and Yemen.
Marc Sageman, Understanding Terror Networks: (Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004), 232 pages, $29.95. [Hardcover]
At the time of its publication, this was considered a pioneering study on the global Salafi jihad – the interlocking radical Islamist terrorist networks led and shaped by Usama bin Laden’s al Qaida terrorist organization. Compiling biographies of 172 Islamist terrorist operatives gathered from open sources, the author employs social network analysis to unravel al Qaida’s operations since 1998. He identifies four large clusters of terrorist operatives: the first, consisting of the central staff of al Qaida and of the global Salafist jihad movement, which formed the movement’s overall leadership (many of whom were hiding in the Pakistan-Afghan border regions); the second, including operatives from core Arab states (Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Yemen and Kuwait); the third, also known as the Maghreb Arabs (the North African nations of Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria), who resided in France and England; and the fourth belonging to al Qaida’s ally, Jemaah Islamiyah, which was centered in Indonesia and Malaysia. Such unraveling of al Qaida’s origins, evolution, organizational and demographic characteristics are the prerequisites for effective counteraction.
Quintan Wiktorowicz, Radical Islam Rising: Muslim Extremism in the West (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2005), 264 pages, $32.95. [Paperback]
An important book which represented at the time of its publication one of the first attempts to formulate a systematic conceptual framework on radicalization into violent extremism in Western societies. According to the author, the mechanisms that drive potential recruits into violent extremism in the West begin with a “cognitive opening” in the form of “religious seeking” by individuals, perceiving an extremist movement and its religious ideology as “legitimate,” and, finally, being persuaded by the extremist movement to engage in “risky activism” on its behalf. Also innovative is the author’s application of his framework to the case of al-Muhajiroun, an extremist transnational movement based in London that supports al Qaida and other Islamist terrorist groups.
Elena Mastors and Alyssa Deffenbaugh, The Lesser Jihad: Recruits and the Al-Qaida Network (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2007), 174 pages, $28.95. [Paperback]
To understand how terrorist groups operate, it is crucial to uncover how they go about recruiting new operatives to maintain themselves as viable organizational networks and, if possible, expand their activities. In this excellent study, focusing primarily on the al Qaida network, the authors examine “why, how, and where individuals” become involved in that network, which they define as “financial backers and fund-raisers, operators, logisticians, recruiters, trainers, and leaders.” It is important to uncover such recruitment patterns to enable counterterrorism agencies to derive potential strategies for dealing with the “entry” points into their networks in order to defeat them.
Marc Sageman, Leaderless Jihad: Terror Networks in the Twenty-First Century (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008), 208 pages, $24.95. [Paperback]
This book updates and expands on the author’s earlier pioneering work, Understanding Terror Networks (2004) on the factors that drive radicalization into terrorism within the Salafi jihadist context. According to the author, the pre-9/11 al Qaida “Central” had morphed into a social movement consisting of several thousand members. Although decentralized and fragmented, this made al Qaida even more dangerous because as a social movement it had exponentially grown beyond its organizational origins. How do al Qaida’s supporters become radicalized into violent extremism? The author formulates a four phase process that depends on an individual’s sense of moral outrage in response to perceived suffering by fellow Muslims around the world; interpreting such moral outrage within the context of a larger war against Islam; having such a sense of “moral outrage” resonating with one’s own personal experience, for example, a sense of discrimination or difficulty in making it in Western society, and, finally, being mobilized by networks that take one to the next level of violent radicalization in the form of terrorist cells. The author’s “leaderless jihad” paradigm has been challenged for downplaying the role of facilitators in the West who play a crucial role in recruiting new members into al Qaida and its affiliated groups, thereby resulting in a new organizational hybrid that characterizes how al Qaida and its affiliates operate. Despite this criticism, the author’s innovative use of empirically derived data to generate al Qaida-related trends is a significant contribution to counterterrorism studies.
Allison Pargeter, The New Frontiers of Jihad: Radical Islam in Europe (Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008), 256 pages, $34.95. [Hardcover]
An authoritative account of how Western Europe became a host to militant Islamists of varying backgrounds, ranging from returnee veterans of the war in Afghanistan, members of Middle Eastern terrorist groups, to second-generation Muslim immigrants and European converts. Together, these extremists made Europe a breeding ground for Islamist activism, with some of them turning to terrorist activities following 9/11 such as the catastrophic attacks in Madrid in March 2004 and London in July 2005, as well as numerous plots and attacks since then. The author, who is based in Italy, draws on original research and interviews with extremists and moderate Muslims to delve into the causes, motivations, and diverse forms of Islamic extremism in Europe.
Shmuel Bar, Warrants for Terror: The Fatwas of Radical Islam and the Duty to Jihad (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2008), 152 pages, $18.95. [Paperback]
An examination of how fatwas, which are legal opinions declaring whether a given act under Islam is obligatory, permitted, or forbidden, serve as an instrument for religious leaders to justify believers to engage in acts of jihad. The author argues that fatwas, particularly those that originate in the Arab world, should not be dismissed as a cynical use of religious terminology in political propaganda, but that Islamist terrorists testify that they are motivated to act by them. The author examines the underlying religious, legal, and moral logic of fatwas and the depth of their influence, particularly in contrast to alternative moderate Islamic interpretations, and applies them to issues involved in Islamic “laws of war”, such as the justification for declaring jihad, the territory in which the jihad should be fought, whether women and children can participate in jihad, the legality of killing women, children and other non-combatants, the justification for killing hostages and mutilating their bodies, and the permissibility of lethal tactics, such as suicide attacks, and employing weapons of mass destruction.
Brynjar Lia, Architect of Global Jihad: The Life of Al-Qaida Strategist Abu Mus’ab al-Suri (New York: Columbia University Press, 2008), 256 pages, $22.50. [Paperback]
A meticulously researched biography of Abu Mus’ab al-Suri, one of al Qaida’s most important theoreticians and strategists. In addition to writing an influential 1,600 page book, al-Suri had trained a generation of young jihadists in the Afghan training camps and helped establish the organization’s European networks. Syrian-born al-Suri was captured in Pakistan in late 2005 but released by the Syrian government in 2012. The author is a research professor at the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI).
Kumar Ramakrishna, Radical Pathways: Understanding Muslim Radicalization in Indonesia (Westport, CT: Praeger Security International, 2009), 292 pages, $75.00. [Hardcover]
An important and insightful case study on the pathways to extremism and violent jihad in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation, which experienced one of the worst terrorist bombings in Bali in 2002. Specifically, the book explores the factors driving a minority of the country’s Muslim population to turn to violent jihad, and the continuing danger they pose to the country’s political stability. The author, based in Singapore, is one of Southeast Asia’s leading counterterrorism experts.
Thomas Hegghammer, Jihad in Saudi Arabia: Violence and Pan-Islamism since 1979 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010), 302 pages, $31.99. [Paperback]
An authoritative account of how Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Usama bin Laden and many of the 9/11 hijackers, became the heartland of radical Islamism until the government began to clamp down on extremism. Drawing on extensive fieldwork in Saudi Arabia, including many primary sources in Arabic, the author explains how over the course of several decades the religiously orthodox and oil-rich kingdom found itself contributing recruits, ideologues and funds to jihadi groups worldwide, including the rise of “home grown” Muslim militants who began to threaten the kingdom internally. The author is a senior research fellow at the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI).
Youssef H. Aboul-Enein, Militant Islamist Ideology: Understanding the Global Threat (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2010), 288 pages, $37.95. [Hardcover]
In this highly informative and important account, the author defines the threats posed by militant Islamists who, he writes, cloak themselves in Islam but are not representative of its mainstream religion and practices. In an innovative typology, he distinguishes between “Islam,” “Islamist” and “Militant Islamist,” with the latter presenting the “true threat.” Using this framework, Cmdr. Aboul-Enein then proceeds to discuss how militant Islamists abuse Quranic verses. He shows how they embrace violence (jihad) against those who disagree with their extremist views rather than seeking ways to improve their situation. He explains the ideas of the ideological founders of Islamism and militant Islamism, such as the Egyptian Sayyid Qutb. Also valuable is his prescription for using al Qaida’s rhetoric and actions to marginalize and counter it, including exposing Usama bin Laden as a malignant force. He concludes with a penetrating analysis of what he terms “mindsets that hamper America’s capabilities.”
J.M. Berger, Jihad Joe: Americans Who Go to War in the Name of Islam (Washington, DC: Potomac Books, 2011), 280 pages, $29.95. [Hardcover]
This is one of the most comprehensive accounts published on the several hundred American Muslims, some of them converts, who chose to join and fight on behalf of extremist Islamist terrorist groups overseas in conflicts regions such as Afghanistan, Bosnia, Somalia, and Yemen, beginning in the late 1970s and through the contemporary period. While many of them chose to fight overseas, including against Americans and Westerners deployed in those conflicts, some of them also plotted to carry out terrorist attacks on American soil. Written by an investigative journalist, the book presents fascinating profiles of many of these fighters and how they were radicalized and recruited into militant Islamist terrorism.
Patrick T. Dunleavy, The Fertile Soil of Jihad: Terrorism’s Prison Connection (Washington, DC: Potomac Books, 2011), 160 pages, $22.00. [Hardcover]
This important study greatly benefits from the author’s unique operational experience. He had served as a former deputy inspector general of the Criminal Intelligence Unit of the New York State Department of Correctional Services and is a veteran senior investigator of Islamist recruitment in American prisons,. This is one of the very few books written on Islamist radicalization and recruitment in American prisons. The author’s account begins in January and February 1993 with the incarceration of a young Palestinian in New York City for kidnapping and robbery, with the World Trade Center having been bombed a month later. According to the author, these two events were connected by common threads, signaling the arrival of “jihad” in America. Unknown at the time was the fact that this young man, initially thought to have been a common criminal, in fact had sworn allegiance to Usama bin Laden and began to convert other young prisoners to the cause. The rest of the narrative explores how the American prison subculture served to foster radicalization and recruitment into terrorism, including how religious and social welfare resources in prisons are used to promote violent extremism.
Rik Coolsaet, editor, Jihadi Terrorism and the Radicalisation Challenge: European and American Experiences [Second Edition] (Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2011), 340 pages, $49.95. [Paperback]
An important compilation of papers by leading experts on radicalization. Utilizing empirically-generated case studies, the contributors find that since 9/11 jihadi terrorism in the form of al Qaida “Central” has been greatly weakened, now resembling a patchwork of self-radicalizing local cells with international contacts but without any central al Qaida organizational direction and control, which is compared to the radical left-wing terrorism of the 1970s. Another finding is that “self-starter” type radicalization processes are at work in Western Europe and the United States. A separate section in the book examines the components of effective government strategies to de-radicalize extremists.
Daniela Pisoiu, Islamist Radicalisation in Europe: An Occupational Change Process (New York: Routledge, 2011), 216 pages, $130.00. [Hardcover]
The author employs a theoretical model to examine the process of radicalization into Islamist extremism in Europe, based on an empirical study of how such extremists interact with their social environment and how, and under what conditions, individuals choose to radicalize. Especially noteworthy is the author’s biographical approach which uses trial and court materials, along with extensive interviews, to explain how radicalization takes place at the individual level. Also valuable is the author’s explanatory framework, which critiques simplistic deterministic paradigms that posit grievances as causes as well as certain psychological models. She argus that radicalization is a process much like one’s occupational choice – a rational choice made with social and ideational significance. The European governments’ counter-radicalization policies are also assessed.
Assaf Moghadam and Brian Fishman, editors, Fault Lines in Global Jihad: Organizational, Strategic, and Ideological Fissures (New York: Routledge, 2011), 288 pages, $138.00. [Hardcover]
This important edited volume focuses on the causes, nature, and impact of the ideological and theological divisions within the jihadi movement, and the splits between jihadis and other Islamist groups, which are contributing to the weakening of the jihadi movement. After discussing the fissures dividing the jihadis over strategic, tactical, and organizational issues, the book’s second part addresses several case studies of jihadi disagreements with other Muslim and Islamist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, and the Shi’a community, all of which affect the global jihadi movement’s overall cohesion.
Mitchell D. Silber, The Al Qaeda Factor: Plots Against the West (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011), 368 pages, $39.95. [Hardcover]
Written by the Director of Intelligence Analysis, with a primary focus on terrorism, for the New York Police Department, this is an important account, based on primary sources. It covers 16 al Qaida-associated plots and attacks and investigates the specifics of al Qaida’s role in the inspiration, formation, membership, organization, planning and operational command and control over terrorist attacks directed against the West, since the first bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993. Specifically, the author examines the factors that serve to connect radicalized groups in the West to al Qaida’s organization in the borderlands of Afghanistan and Pakistan. He investigates whether such plotters have to attend an al Qaida training camp or meet with an al Qaida trainer in those foreign, or whether they simply can be inspired by al Qaida’s ideology, e.g. over the Internet. Although the author finds that the role of al Qaida “Central” may be limited in directly controlling attacks in the West, with more cases of individuals who have sought its aid or training, the continued interest by Western jihadi wannabes demonstrates that even a weakened al Qaida “Central” is not preventing new plots that are inspired by the group to continuously spring up in the West.
Robert S. Leiken, Europe’s Angry Muslims: The Revolt of the Second Generation (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012), 337 pages, $27.95. [Hardcover]
An in-depth study, based on extensive field research and interviews, of the dynamics that have created the ground for Europe to become a hotbed of Islamist extremism by its second generation of Muslim immigrants. Torn between their ancestral cultures, Europe’s secularism, their parents’ attempts to assimilate into their host societies, and feeling aggrieved over perceived discrimination and hardships, many members of this second generation have turned to extremist versions of Islam, with some taking the next step into terrorist activities. These issues are covered in the book’s case studies on France, Britain, and Germany.
(viii) Funding Terrorism
Jeanne K. Giraldo and Harold A. Trinkunas, editors, Terrorism Financing and State Responses: A Comparative Perspective (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2007), 384 pages, $24.95. [Paperback]
This edited volume’s thematic chapters and organizational and regional case studies examine how terrorist organizations such as al Qaida, Hizballah, Jemaah Islamiyah, and the Taliban organize to raise, transfer, and spend funds in regions such as East Africa, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and South East Asia. The chapters also assess the effectiveness of governmental responses, such as problems of coordination and oversight.
Thomas J. Biersteker and Sue E. Eckert, editors, Countering the Financing of Terrorism (New York: Routledge, 2008), 360 pages, $44.95. [Paperback]
This edited volume brings together leading experts from the disciplines of terrorism, international relations, global finance, law, and criminology, to assess the effectiveness of governments and international organizations in countering the methods employed by terrorists to fund their operations.
Gretchen Peters, Seeds of Terror: How Heroin Is Bankrolling the Taliban and Al Qaeda (New York: Thomas Dunne Books, 2009), 300 pages, $25.95. [Hardcover]
An important account by a veteran investigative journalist, based on extensive field research and interviews in Pakistan and Afghanistan, of how the Taliban and al Qaida succeeded in mounting a financial comeback after they were overthrown in Afghanistan in Fall 2001. One of the reasons, the author explains, is the Taliban’s transformation into a criminal network that earns an estimated half a billion dollars annually from the opium trade, which spans from vast poppy fields in southern Afghanistan to heroin labs run by Taliban commanders, as well as the networks of money launderers in Karachi and Dubai. The author argues that the Taliban must be cut off from their drug earnings in order to defeat them in Afghanistan and Pakistan and create a new economy for Afghanistan that will ultimately break that country’s cycle of violence and extremism. Since some members of the Afghanistan government’s elite are also dependent on wealth generated by the drug trade, this may be difficult to accomplish, but at least the author succeeds in highlighting the issues at stake.
Jodi Vittori, Terrorist Financing and Resourcing (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), 240 pages, $85.00. [Hardcover]
An authoritative primer on terrorist financing, it examines what terrorist organizations need to acquire in order to survive and operate. Vittori describes the various means used to meet these needs. Of particular interest is the author’s discussion of how terrorism financing has evolved over the years and his formulation of what he terms a “seven category typology of terrorist resourcing” based on how each selected strategy affects a group’s operational autonomy. To illustrate this typology, case studies for each category are provided, based on actual examples drawn from the history of terrorism that apply to the spectrum of groups ranging from hierarchical organizations to “lone wolf” cells.
Timothy Wittig, Understanding Terrorist Finance. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), 256 pages, $85.00. [Hardcover]
The author presents a comprehensive framework to analyze how terrorist groups go about financing their activities. This framework is applied to empirical case studies of terrorist group financing in Europe, Africa, South Asia and the Middle East, focusing on fund raising activities ranging from donations, criminality, to legitimate enterprises. Especially noteworthy are tables that estimate the cost of various types of terrorist operations and the impact of real-world counter-terrorist financing regimes on terrorist groups’ illicit economic activities.
(ix) Suicide Terrorism
Suicide terrorism, in which mission success is dependent on the perpetrators intentionally killing themselves together with their intended victims, has been examined extensively in the literature, as exemplified by the following books:
Diego Gambetta, editor, Making Sense of Suicide Missions (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006), 432 pages, $39.95. [Paperback]
With suicide attacks becoming a defining act of the terrorist type of political violence in many conflicts around the world, the contributors to this insightful edited volume attempt to answer questions such as: are these the actions of aggressive religious zealots and irrational extremists, or is there a logic driving their perpetrators? Are their motivations religious or do they use the language of religion to express what are essentially political causes? How do the perpetrators maintain their motivation in carrying out their operations in the face of certain death? And: do these disparate attacks share a common cause?
Ami Pedahzur, editor, Root Causes of Suicide Terrorism: The Globalization of Martyrdom (New York: Routledge, 2006), 224 pages, $43.95. [Paperback]
The contributors to this edited volume examine the root causes of suicide terrorism at the organizational and rank-and-file levels. Although their thesis that in the case of Muslim operatives suicide bombing is not closely connected to Islam can be challenged, the conceptual methodologies they present are worth noting.
Cindy D. Ness, editor, Female Terrorism and Militancy: Agency, Utility, and Organization (New York: Routledge, 2008), 242 pages, $39.95. [Paperback]
This important edited volume discusses the drivers behind why and how women and girls become radicalized into extremism and terrorism, and the strategies that are required to counter this phenomenon. Unlike their male counterparts, females who engage in terrorism, especially suicide martyrdom attacks, the authors point out, are generally viewed as violating conventional notions of gender and power in traditional societies where women’s roles are subservient to those of men. Several of the volume’s articles are based on field research where the authors interviewed incarcerated female terrorists.
Anat Berko, The Path to Paradise: The Inner World of Suicide Bombers and Their Dispatchers (Washington, DC: Potomac Books, 2009), 196 pages, $19.95. [Paperback]
One of the most insightful examinations of Palestinian suicide bombers and the men who dispatch them on their martyrdom missions. While perceived grievances against Israel and its occupation policy — primarily in the West Bank (since Israel has withdrawn from the Gaza Strip) — drive most Palestinian suicide bombers to attack Israelis, the cult of death through martyrdom is reinforced daily through indoctrination and hate propaganda in Palestinian mosques, schools, media and popular music, which give free reign to recruiters to spot vulnerable individuals to carry out such missions. How can suicide bombings be stopped? The key, Israeli criminologist Dr. Berko believes, rests with Muslim religious leaders, who “have the moral responsibility to forcefully condemn suicide bombing attacks and to issue unequivocal fatwas [religious rulings] against them.” They must emphatically state that those who carry out such attacks “not only do not automatically go to paradise, but that they automatically go to hell.” The book contains a wealth of information about Palestinian society, such as the impact of polygamous families and arranged marriages on the sons and daughters who decide to become suicide martyrs.
Ariel Merari, Driven to Death: Psychological and Social Aspects of Suicide Terrorism (New York: Oxford University Press, 2010), 328 pages, $42.95. [Hardcover]
The author, a clinical psychologist, is one of the world’s preeminent experts on suicide terrorism, and a long-time adviser to Israeli governments on these issues. In this important book, the author discusses the psychological, cultural and political factors that drive individuals to intentionally kill themselves in order to kill others on behalf of their political or religious cause. In the case of Palestinian suicide bombers, the author’s findings are based on empirical data gathered by a team of Israeli researchers (including Dr. Anat Berko), who interviewed Palestinian prisoners who had ‘failed’ to carry out their suicide attacks. The result was a first-hand assessment of the personality characteristics and motivation of such suicide bombers. Also discussed are the ways suicide bombers are recruited, prepared and dispatched to their planned death, as well as how they feel and behave along this road. Although focused primarily on Palestinian suicide bombers, the book also discusses other groups, such as al Qaida.
Paul J. Murphy, Allah’s Angels: Chechen Women in War (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2010), 320 pages, $34.95. [Hardcover]
A comprehensive account of the involvement by Chechnya women in terrorism, which the author writes began with the eruption of the Islamist insurgency against Russia in the early 1990s. Initially known as the “Black Widows,” these Chechen women have ventured beyond their traditional societal roles only to be manipulated and exploited by their male recruiters into carrying out suicide missions. Drawing on extensive field research in the region, the author presents valuable portrayals of the women who participate in the Chechen jihad as suicide bombers, as well those who perform noncombatant roles such as collecting intelligence, logistics, and managing safe houses.
Mordecai Dzikansky, Gil Kleiman, and Robert Slater, Terrorist Suicide Bombings: Attack Interdiction, Mitigation, and Response (Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 2011), 342 pages, $79.9 5. [Hardcover]
What sets this book apart is that it was written by veteran law enforcement officers (one an Israeli and the other an American NYPD detective who was detailed to Israel) with first-hand investigatory experience in handling suicide bombings. Among the many issues discussed are how to fortify potential suicide bombing targets, how suicide bomber teams operate and the types of weapons they are likely to employ. Also valuable are the accounts of actual incidents which the authors had investigated, including managing the aftermath of bombing scenes, where first responder teams take over. Also discussed are the psychological effects of suicide bombings, including how terrorists seek to exploit the media, and recommendations for measures that government and media can implement to diffuse the terrorists’ propaganda.
Mia Bloom, Bombshell: Women and Terrorism (Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011), 320 pages, $29.95. [Hardcover]
With female suicide bombers committing more than 200 such attacks since 1985, women have become increasingly prominent in conducting such operations. The book provides interesting case studies ranging from Northern Ireland to Sri Lanka, where female operatives have been used to conduct a variety of terrorist activities, such as propaganda, logistics, and bombing attacks. Their motivations, the author points out, range from a desire to serve their groups’ as martyrs to having some of them coerced by physical threats or other means of social control. The author also discusses how terrorist groups such as al Qaida target women for radicalization and recruitment through Internet publications such as the March 2011 issue of its magazine Al Shamikha, dubbed the jihadi Cosmo.
Assaf Moghadam, The Globalization of Martyrdom: Al Qaeda, Salafi Jihad, and the Diffusion of Suicide Attacks [Reprint Edition] (Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2011 [originally published in December 2008]), 360 pages, $30.00. [Paperback]
An important and comprehensive analysis of the rise and spread of religiously-motivated suicide attacks around the world between 1981 and 2007. Numbering some 1,270 suicide operations, the author attributes their proliferation to the ascendance of al Qaida and its Salafi jihad ideology, which not only rejects the spread of secularism, but, most importantly, the “Western-imposed” notion of national boundaries, as part of its objective to create a global Muslim community. As a result, its martyrdom operations take place worldwide. This differentiates it, for example, from the ‘traditional’ suicide bombing operations of Palestinian groups which are primarily localized in their targeting.
Tamara Herath, Women in Terrorism: Case of the LTTE (Los Angeles, CA: Sage, 2012), 264 pages, $40.00. [Hardcover]
An interesting examination of the significance of the growing numbers of women who engage in terrorist activities around the world in order to formulate social science theories about the changing roles of women in such warfare. Toward that end, and based on extensive field research in Sri Lanka, the author analyzes the role of Tamil women combatants belonging to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in all aspects of its terrorist warfare, including martyrdom suicide operations.
(x) International Law and Terrorism
Since terrorism is considered a violation of a country’s criminal laws as well as international conventions on military warfare, authoritative studies and handbooks have been published on the legal instruments to define and prosecute those who engage in terrorist activities. These are ranging from directly engaging in combat to providing ideological, financial and logistical support to such groups, as well as the judicial frameworks that can be used to prosecute them. Excellent and authoritative books on these subjects include the following:
Emanuel Gross, The Struggle of Democracy against Terrorism: Lessons from the United States, the United Kingdom, and Israel (Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 2006), 320 pages, $35.00. [Hardcover]
One of the best studies on the legal challenges and moral dilemmas faced by democracies in countering the threats posed by terrorists in terms of balancing security against civil liberties, human rights and the rule of law. Mr. Gross, a law professor at Haifa University and a former military court judge in Israel, covers the spectrum of topics such as defining terrorism, the laws of war in countering terrorism, interrogating terrorists, the powers of military commanders in administering areas where terrorists operate (such as in Iraq or the West Bank), administrative detention, the right to privacy by citizens during emergency periods, the use of civilians by terrorists or armies as human shields, and thwarting terrorist acts through targeted killings of terrorist leaders and operatives.
Ben Saul, Defining Terrorism in International Law (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008), 408 pages, $65.00. [Paperback]
An important exploration of the public policy need to define terrorism, which is necessary in formulating the basic elements of a consensual international definition with the power to criminalize such acts. With terrorist acts undermining human rights and peaceful politics, the author argues that a new consensual definition would be able to distinguish between political and “private” violence and enable governments to apply “acceptable proportionality” in their counter-terrorism measures. At the same time, the author points out, any consensual definition of terrorism must also accommodate “reasonable claims” to resorting to political violence, particularly against repressive governments. It is necessary, therefore, to define the range of exceptions and justifications that “self-determination” movements can turn to, as well as to define what is meant by ‘State terrorism’ and the resort to violence in armed conflict.
Benjamin Wittes, editor, Legislating the War on Terror: An Agenda for Reform (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press, 2009), 288 pages, $34.95. [Hardcover]
An examination by experts, many of whom served in the U.S. government, on how 9/11’s catastrophic attacks transformed America’s anti-terrorism judicial legislation. They discuss issues such as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), whether a National Security Court is required, interrogation laws, the legal regime for covert actions, the relationship between immigration law and counterterrorism, the appropriate legal regime of trying accused terrorists as criminals.
Clive Walker, Terrorism and the Law (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011), 720 pages, $300.00. [Hardcover]
Written by a leading British expert on anti-terrorism legislation, this important volume contains extensive, up-to-date analysis of key materials on anti-terrorism law and legal practice, including a comprehensive coverage of major domestic, European, and international laws, and their impact on the United Kingdom. The book’s first part discusses the relationship between anti-terrorism law and politics, while the second part focuses on major United Kingdom anti-terrorism legislations. The final part discusses the impact of European, international and transnational anti-terrorism laws and practices on issues such as international cooperation in the extradition of terrorists, in countering terrorist activities, and how they relate to adherence to human rights considerations.
Amos N. Guiora, Global Perspectives on Counterterrorism [Second Edition] (Austin, TX: Wolters Kluwer, 2011), 432 pages, $68.00. [Paperback]
The author, a specialist in law of armed conflict and a former attorney in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), presents an interdisciplinary and global exploration of the laws, policies, intelligence gathering, and operational decisions surrounding governmental counter-terrorism strategies and tactics. The counterterrorism policies of seven nations (India, Israel, Russia, Spain, the United States, China and Colombia) are presented and discussed in a comparative perspective. As a valuable textbook, each chapter includes issues to consider, such as actual dilemmas and scenarios, including simulation exercises that put students in the role of policy decision-makers. Specific issues covered include interrogations, the proper forum for trying terrorists, judicial review, international law, intelligence gathering, and policy responses to terrorism. A separate chapter discusses future hotspots of terrorism, such as Mexico, where new types of counterterrorism against new types of threats might require the formulation of new legal requirements. An appendix includes policy documents and a discussion of terrorism incidents around the world.
Norman Abrams, Anti-Terrorism and Criminal Enforcement [Fourth Edition] (St. Paul, MN: West, 2012), 848 pages, $176.00. [Hardcover]
This new and revised edition of a classic reference text discusses current issues in the field of United States antiterrorism law. The materials in this comprehensive volume cover issues such as extraordinary rendition, interrogation, torture, the National Security Agency’s electronic surveillance program, the president’s inherent authority, and trying enemy combatants in military commissions. The volume also contains the text and notes from relevant legal cases, which are intended for use by legal practitioners as well as law school classes.
Maria O’Neill, The Evolving EU Counter-Terrorism Legal Framework (New York: Routledge, 2012), 328 pages, $145.00. [Hardcover]
With Europe increasingly targeted by terrorism, this book examines the rapidly emerging area of European Union (EU) law and policy regarding counter-terrorism, addressing these twin disciplines from both a theoretical and practical perspective.
Ana Maria Salinas De Frias, et al, editors, Counter-Terrorism: International Law and Practice (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012), 1120 pages, $290.00. [Hardcover]
A valuable comprehensive reference resource that brings together leading experts on the spectrum of legal issues involved in formulating and applying counter-terrorism policies domestically and internationally. Some of these issues include policy choices involved in implementing security measures, such as balancing security and civil liberties, the tensions between criminal justice, counter-terrorism and military measures, and legal aspects associated with counter-radicalization programs.
(xi) Terrorism on the Internet
As today’s generations of terrorists are tracked and monitored by government counterterrorism agencies, they possess a distinct advantage that their older predecessors lacked: access to computers, the worldwide Internet, and cyberspace’s myriad technological benefits in enabling them to bypass a country’s physical borders to radicalize and recruit new members, raise funds, train operatives in warfare, direct operations, and then broadcast such incidents on their supporting websites. The following books illustrate some of the latest findings on how terrorists exploit the Internet:
Gabriel Weimann, Terror on the Internet (Washington, DC: Potomac Books, 2006), 256 pages, $19.96. [Paperback]
When Terror on the Internet was published in 2006 it was considered ground breaking and an instant classic as the first comprehensive study of this issue. Still highly relevant, it discusses how terrorist groups and their extremist affiliates have established a sophisticated and dynamic presence on the Internet, which has transformed the way they communicate, obtain information, conduct propaganda and issue threats against their adversaries. Terrorists also use the Internet to radicalize and recruit new members, raise funds, train followers in tactics and weaponry, organize and carry out warfare, and then broadcast such incidents on their own websites. The author’s discussion is illustrated with numerous examples from terrorist websites.
Boaz Ganor, et al, editors, Hypermedia Seduction for Terrorist Recruiting (Amsterdam, Holland: IOS Press, 2007), 289 pages, $155.96. [Hardcover]
This edited volume (in which this reviewer participated) is an important collection of papers by an eclectic group of international experts on terrorism and terrorists’ use of the Internet, advertising, and graphic design, who gathered at a NATO Advanced Workshop to formulate a comprehensive campaign to counter terrorists’ appeal on the Internet. The volume’s chapters examine the “seductive” appeal of radical Islamist websites for propaganda, radicalization and recruitment, the use of symbolism in Islamic fundamentalism and Jihad, and how to uncover a terrorist group’s rebellion’s root causes by examining its Internet presence. The author provides practical ways to counter the “seductive” terrorist web by monitoring their cyberspace activities.
Yaakov Lappin, Virtual Caliphate: Exposing the Islamist State on the Internet (Washington, DC: Potomac Books, 2011), 212 pages, $21.56. [Hardcover]
A compelling account by an Israeli journalist who covers terrorism, of how al Qaida, which sees itself as a government in exile, along with its myriad affiliate organizations, while failing to achieve its goal of reestablishing the Islamic caliphate on the ground, has succeeded in establishing a virtual caliphate in cyberspace. As an Islamist state that exists on computer servers around the world, the virtual caliphate is used by such Islamists to carry out functions typically reserved for a physical state, such as creating training camps, mapping out a state’s constitution, and drafting tax laws. In such a way, he explains, these groups hope to upload the virtual caliphate into the physical world. Also noteworthy is the author’s discussion of the components of effective countermeasures.
Philip Seib and Dana M. Janbek, Global Terrorism and New Media: The Post-Al Qaeda Generation (New York: Routledge, 2011), 146 pages, $$43.95. [Paperback]
A comprehensive account of how terrorist groups use the Internet’s new media by examining the content of their websites, including their extremist television programs. Based on the authors’ content analysis of the discussion in such extremist forums and chat-rooms, they discuss how terrorism 1.0 has migrated to 2.0 where the interactive nature of new media is used to build virtual organizations and communities that transcend physical boundaries. Terrorist groups’ media efforts are also directed at women and children, which are part of their long term strategies to radicalize whole communities. Of particular interest is the authors’ examination of the relationship between terrorists’ media presence and their actual terrorist activity on the ground. They conclude that, although the use of social networking tools such as Facebook and YouTube may advance terrorist groups’ broadcast reach, the full impact of their use of such new media remains uncertain. Also discussed is the future of cyber terrorism and lessons learned from government counterterrorism strategies against terrorists’ use of the Internet.
(xii) Terrorism and Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)
While conventional weapons continue to represent terrorists’ “weapons of choice,” past incidents, such as Aum Shinrikyo’s 1995 sarin gas attack against the Tokyo subway system and the post 9/11’s anthrax letters attacks, as well as several thwarted plots involving ricin and radiological dispersal devices, are reminders that the resort to weapons of mass destruction (WMD) warfare represents the “next frontier” in catastrophic terrorist attacks. These issues are discussed in the following books:
Brian Michael Jenkins, Will Terrorists Go Nuclear? (Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 2008), 457 pages, $26.95. [Hardcover]
An authoritative discussion by a veteran counterterrorism expert of terrorists’ motivations and efforts to acquire nuclear weapons, the availability of nuclear black markets, whether ‘suitcase’ nuclear bombs are feasible, and how mysterious substances such as red mercury have been thought of being instrumental in manufacturing such weapons.
Stephen M. Maurer, editor, WMD Terrorsim: Science and Policy Choices (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2009), 619 pages, $38.00. [Paperback]
A comprehensive, multidisciplinary account on weapons of mass destruction (WMD) terrorism and governments’ options for counter-action. Topics covered include terrorists’ incentives for acquiring WMD; nuclear, radiological, biological, and chemical weapons technologies and genetically engineered weapons; sensor technologies; mathematical methods for analyzing terrorist threats and allocating governmental response resources; the role of domestic U.S. politics in shaping defense investments to counter WMD; port and airport defense; response and recovery technologies for WMD-contaminated sites; research and development incentives for bio-weapon vaccines and other homeland security technologies; psychological treatment of WMD survivors, and international initiatives to limit WMD proliferation by terrorist groups.
Gary Ackerman and Jeremy Tamsett, editors, Jihadists and Weapons of Mass Destruction (Boca Raton, FL: CRS Press, 2009), 494 pages, $82.95. [Hardcover]
An authoritative and comprehensive examination by leading experts of the likelihood of Islamist terrorist groups resorting to WMD warfare by documenting current trends in the ideology, strategy, and tactics of jihadists as these relate to WMD proliferation. Topics discussed include terrorists’ interest in using chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear weapons, an exploration of the roles of governments’ intelligence, law enforcement, and policymakers in anticipating, deterring, and mitigating WMD attacks, an overview of nonproliferation policies designed to keep WMD out of the hands of terrorists, a groundbreaking quantitative empirical analysis of terrorist behavior, and a polling of leading experts’ estimates of the likelihood of a future WMD threat by such terrorist groups.
Magnus Ranstorp and Magnus Normark, editors, Unconventional Weapons and International Terrorism: Challenges and New Approaches (New York: Routledge, 2009), 224 pages, $148.00. [Hardcover] [Paperback, 2012, $39.95]
The volume’s editors have assembled an important collection of papers originally presented at a 2007 workshop on these issues, held at the Swedish National Defence College. The book’s chapters discuss issues such as identifying early warning indicators to identify terrorists’ possible acquisition and use of weapons of mass destruction, although such inquiry is hampered by the dearth of reliable data since there have been so few cases of such terrorist warfare. To address this challenge, the volume’s essays attempt to develop a new methodological framework that encompasses both the technical factors contributing to a terrorist organization’s ability to use such weapons and the motivational factors that might drive it to plan and conduct such attacks.
Benjamin Cole, The Changing Face of Terrorism: How Real is the Threat from Biological, Chemical and Nuclear Weapons? (New York: I.B. Taurus, 2011), 320 pages, $25.00. [Paperback]
With terrorists expressing interest in potentially deploying chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) weapons in their warfare, the author evaluates the likelihood of such threats ever materializing. Also discussed are the components of effective governmental counter measures, such as police, military, and intelligence means, as well as carefully evaluating the politics, motivations (including personal and religious), scientific and technical abilities of the groups expressing an interest in resorting to such catastrophic warfare. The author’s previous edition of this volume, co-authored with Nadine Gurr, was published in 2001.
Todd M. Masse, Nuclear Jihad: A Clear and Present Danger? (Washington, DC: Potomac Books, 2011), 360 pages, $27.96. [Hardcover]
Written by a branch chief at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, this is a highly authoritative account of the likelihood that Islamist terrorist groups might resort to nuclear warfare in pursuit of their political objectives. The author’s appraisal of this threat is based on two major contending schools of thought: (1) the “conventionalists,” who view the possibility of a nuclear terrorist attack as highly likely over the next five to ten years, and (2) the “skeptics” who recognize the grave consequences of a terrorist nuclear detonation but discount the potential of terrorists ever deploying a nuclear fission device in the United States because massive casualties and widespread panic can still be produced by ‘conventional’ attacks. This is an important and objective assessment of the likelihood of a nuclear terrorist threat and the range of policy options required to address such threats.
Russell D. Howard and James J.F. Forest, editors, Weapons of Mass Destruction and Terrorism [Second Edition] (New York: McGraw Hill, 2012), 821 pages, $77.33. [Paperback]
A substantially revised and updated collection of original and previously published articles by scientists, academics, and government officials from the communities of counter-WMD proliferation and counterterrorism. The volume’s first part presents an overview of key terms and significant strategic and policy debates on the current security environment and outlines how such catastrophic weapons might be employed by terrorist groups. The second part discusses the characteristics, availability, and dangers posed by specific types of such weapons, including how they play out in five case studies. The third part focuses on key dimensions of the WMD threat to a nation’s critical infrastructure. The fourth part looks at past, present, and future national and international responses to such threats. In the final part, several analytical frameworks are provided (including one co-authored by this reviewer on threat convergence) to predict future WMD threats and identify lessons and strategies for the future. The appendices include U.S. national strategy documents on countering terrorism and standards for controlling WMD materials and technologies.
The literature on governmental counterterrorism programs has produced valuable concepts and methodologies on the components required to formulate effective counterterrorism campaigns, including metrics to assess their effectiveness. Domestically, counterterrorism – or, anti-terrorism, its ‘defensive’ manifestation – is an important component of what is termed ‘homeland security.’ These and other issues are discussed in the following books:
Boaz Ganor, The Counter-Terrorism Puzzle: A Guide for Decision Makers (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 2007), 317 pages, $29.95. [Paperback]
The author, one of Israel’s top academic experts on counterterrorism, presents an important model for effective governmental counterterrorism. The “puzzle” of the book’s title refers to the myriad ways a governmental response to a terrorist rebellion can affect policy making, intelligence analysis, and offensive and defensive law enforcement and military countermeasures, and how to avoid the “boomerang effect” in exacerbating a terrorist rebellion that can result from faulty policies.
Paul Wilkinson, editor, Homeland Security in the UK: Future Preparedness for Terrorist Attacks Since 9/11 (New York: Routledge, 2007), 432 pages, $44.95. [Paperback]
The volume’s contributors assess the effectiveness of the British government’s responses to terrorism in terms of preventing, pre-empting, and countering such threats, and, in the event of an attack, mitigating its consequences. Effective counterterrorism, they point out, needs to consider a matrix of factors such as the nature of the adversaries’ terrorist networks, tactics and targeting. The contributors also compare and contrast the UK’s response with other states in the European Union and the United States. Also discussed are whether the post 9/11 era’s domestic security measures in the UK are able to balance homeland security measures and civil liberties.
Robert J. Art and Louise Richardson, editors, Democracy and Counterterrorism: Lessons From the Past (Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace Press, 2007), 481 pages, $35.00. [Paperback]
Although dated, this edited volume is an important comparative study of the policies, strategies, and measures employed by thirteen democratic governments in countering the terrorist threats facing them. With many of the chapters using similar methodological frameworks, some of the findings include the need to understand one’s adversary through effective intelligence, integrating counterterrorism agencies to work in unison, employing discriminate and proportional force to avoid unnecessarily escalating a conflict, and engaging moderate elements among the insurgents’ constituencies to marginalize and reject the legitimacy of violent extremists in order to create the foundation for a possible negotiated settlement.
James J.F. Forest, editor, Countering Terrorism and Insurgency in the 21st Century: International Perspectives [Three Volumes] (Westport, CT: Praeger Security International, 2007), 2016 pages, $400.00. [Hardcover]
The three volumes bring together contributions by dozens of experts (including this reviewer) to discuss terrorist threats around the world and the components required for governments to defeat them. Volume I covers “Strategic and Tactical Considerations”, Volume II examines “Sources and Facilitators”, and Volume III discusses “Lessons Learned from Combating Terrorism and Insurgency”.
Amos N. Guiora, Fundamentals of Counterterrorism (Austin, TX: Wolters Kluwer, 2008), 208 pages, $44.00. [Paperback]
An authoritative, multidisciplinary discussion of the multiple issues affecting governmental counterterrorism, written from a legal and policy perspective as they apply to nations around the world. The author is a former senior official in the Israel Defense Forces’ Judge Advocate General’s Corps, which gives the volume a practitioner’s expertise on these issues. Issues discussed include defining terrorism, what motivates terrorists, terrorism and geo-politics, the limits of governments’ power, terrorism and the media, state-sponsored terrorism, where terrorists are to be tried, and responding to terrorism as it affects the separation of a government’s constitutional powers.
Daniel Byman, The Five Front War: The Better Way to Fight Global Jihad (Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2008), 320 pages, $27.95. [Hardcover]
A discussion by a leading academic expert of the components required for effective counterterrorism against al Qaida-type terrorism through the use of intelligence, law enforcement, counter ideological narratives, reforms in the targeted countries, and strong international alliances.
James J.F. Forest, editor, Influence Warfare: How Terrorists and Governments Fight to Shape Perceptions in a War of Ideas (Westport, CT: Praeger Security International, 2009), 392 pages, $59.95. [Hardcover]
This edited volume focuses on the components involved in the competition for strategic influence between governments and their terrorist adversaries, including ways to neutralize terrorists’ use of the Internet in spreading their propaganda. These issues are further discussed in the volume’s case studies.
Stewart Baker, Skating on Stilts: Why We Aren’t Stopping Tomorrow’s Terrorism (Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution Press, 2010), 375 pages, $19.95. [Hardcover]
The author, who served as the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s first Assistant Secretary for Policy, draws on this experience to give the reader an insider’s account of his agency’s post-9/11 strategy to upgrade border and aviation security. This involved obtaining improved information about travelers who might have a nexus to terrorism, and the strong resistance from privacy advocacy groups against expanding such databases. As a result, the author argues, certain security gaps still remain open and resistance by privacy groups is making it difficult to forestall future threats posed by new technologies, such as biotech viruses, which he argues could be more devastating than 9/11.
David Omand, Securing the State (New York: Columbia University Press, 2010), 320 pages, $29.50. [Hardcover]
While democratic governments recognize that their citizens expect certainty and protection in their daily lives, especially safety from terrorism, this also places enormous pressures on their institutions to balance justice and civil liberty in the pursuit of such comprehensive security. The author, a retired former senior level security official in the British government, argues that while public security is necessary for good government, it should not come at the expense of eroding civil liberties, which might tip the balance in favor of bad government and, ultimately, result in an insecure state. To remedy this problem, the author establishes a set of principles and approaches for upgrading intelligence in counterterrorism while respecting the requirements of basic civil liberties.
Christopher Paul, et al., Victory Has a Thousand Fathers: Sources of Success in Counterinsurgency (Santa Monica, CA: RAND, 2010), 188 pages, $18.00. [Paperback]
An examination of the components of effectiveness in counterinsurgency, based on some 30 cases of resolved insurgencies. With several of these insurgencies featuring terrorist groups, the authors’ analysis is highly relevant to counterterrorism. Also examined are the factors that serve to hinder effectiveness in counterinsurgency. Especially noteworthy are the tables and figures that illustrate the volume’s analysis.
Paul Wilkinson, Terrorism Versus Democracy: The Liberal State Response [Third Edition] (New York: Routledge, 2011), 238 pages, $39.95. [Paperback]
Paul Wilkinson who passed away in 2011, was one of the founders of terrorism studies in the early 1970s and became one of its most prominent experts. In Terrorism Versus Democracy, Dr. Wilkinson continues his assessment of the terrorism threat, which he outlined in his earlier seminal book, Terrorism and the Liberal State, first published in 1977. Here, he examines the terrorist networks that operate globally and analyzes the long-term future of terrorism and terrorist-backed insurgencies. This new edition discusses the political and strategic impact of modern transnational terrorism, the need for maximum international cooperation by law-abiding states to counter not only direct threats to the safety and security of their own citizens but also to preserve international peace and security through strengthening counter-proliferation and cooperative threat reduction (CTR) regimes.
Andrew Silke, editor, The Psychology of Counter-Terrorism (New York: Routledge, 2011), 216 pages, $39.95. [Paperback]
Beginning with a discussion of the psychology of terrorists, such as their motivations, the factors that sustain them in their involvement in terrorist groups, and what eventually might drive some of them to end their involvement in terrorism, the chapters’ primary focus is on the psychological challenges involved in responding to terrorism. Practical information is provided on short-term tactical problems (e.g. interviewing), as well long-term strategic questions involved in terminating a terrorist campaign. The authors find that more complex countermeasures are required than merely a quest for apprehension of individuals who engage in terrorism because otherwise they may result in deficient outcomes and needlessly prolonged terrorist violence.
Nadav Morag, Comparative Homeland Security: Global Lessons (Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2011), 400 pages, $89.95. [Hardcover]
Organized topically, the textbook begins with an explanation of homeland security, and then proceeds to discuss the comparative homeland strategies and measures adopted by nine countries to combat terrorism, including countering radicalization, emergency response, border and transportation security, critical infrastructure protection, public health and military support for civil authorities in the event of a catastrophic incident.
Beatrice de Graaf, Evaluating Counterterrorism Performance: A Comparative Study (New York: Routledge, 2011), 376 pages, $138.00. [Hardcover]
An innovative approach to assess effectiveness in governmental counterterrorism measures through what the author terms “the concept of the performative power of counterterrorism,” which is “the extent to which governments succeed in mobilizing public and political support in favor of their policies, thereby weakening terrorists’ ability to create their “social drama.” This concept is then applied to governmental counterterrorism campaigns in the Netherlands, Italy, the Federal Republic of Germany and the United States in the 1970s. Drawing on a case study approach which utilizes primary sources and interviews with counterterrorist officials and former terrorists, the author finds a correlation between a high level of counterterrorism “performative power” and a corresponding decline in terrorist incidents when linked to effective counter- radicalization efforts. Thus, addressing a terrorist conflict’s underlying causes is an important factor in improved counterterrorism performance.
Brian Michael Jenkins and John Paul Godges, editors, The Long Shadow of 9/11: America’s Response to Terrorism (Santa Monica, CA: RAND, 2011), 218 pages, $19.95. [Paperback]
This edited volume by RAND analysts addresses the issue of the American government’s response to the terrorist threat in the 10 years since 9/11, by assessing the military, political, fiscal, social, cultural, psychological, and moral implications of U.S. policymaking, and suggests policy options for effectively dealing with the terrorist threat in the future.
Michael B. Kraft and Edward Marks, U.S. Government Counterterrorism: A Guide to Who Does What (Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 2012), 407 pages, $69.95.
This is the first published guide to many of the U.S. government’s departments, agencies, and programs involved in all aspects of countering terrorism domestically and overseas. The authors, veterans of the U.S. government’s counterterrorism efforts, present an insider’s view of these counterterrorism efforts, addressing such topics as government training initiatives, countering weapons of mass destruction, interagency coordination, research and development, and the congressional role in legislative issues covering policies and budgets. Also covered are the still contested issues of defining terrorism and the government’s efforts to counter violent extremism by susceptible communities. The authors also raise new trends in global events that are likely to affect how government agencies will need to approach counterterrorism in the future.
(xiv) Intelligence in Counterterrorism
The following books discuss intelligence issues involved in counterterrorism, such as using analytic methods to identify key players, map how terrorist groups are organized, track terrorist funding, and forecast future terrorist warfare.
Sundri Khalsa, Forecasting Terrorism: Indicators and Proven Analytic Techniques (Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2004), 103 pages; $40.00. [Paperback]
In this highly innovative book, the author identifies 68 indicators that span the spectrum of terrorist activity, based on terrorist capability and intention, that, when applied to an actual group, serve as an early warning framework to anticipate future terrorist activity. A CD-ROM is included to graphically display the forecasting system and explain the author’s methodology.
Kim Cragin and Sara A. Daly, The Dynamic Terrorist Threat: An Assessment of Group Motivations and Capabilities in a Changing World (Santa Monica, CA: RAND, 2004), 126 pages, $20.00. [Paperback]
The authors develop a methodology to assess, forecast, and prioritize likely threats posed by terrorist groups under investigation. It is a highly practical methodology, with the assessment of terrorist threats, for example, consisting of identifying indicators of terrorists’ intentions and capabilities which are then applied to assessing the threats presented in the case studies of four terrorist groups. Also examined are how different terrorist groups adapt and change over time, which is important in identifying their strengths and potential vulnerabilities.
Ronald V. Clarke and Graeme R. Newman, Outsmarting the Terrorists (Westport, CT: Praeger Security International, 2006), 316 pages, $49.95. [Hardcover]
The authors contend that effective counterterrorism should strive to stop terrorists before they can attack by reducing opportunities for such attacks by protecting likely targets, controlling the weapons likely to be used by terrorists, and removing any vulnerable conditions that might make such attacks possible. The authors believe that such countermeasures are essential because response agencies need to prepare for what the terrorists are likely to do: identify vulnerable targets, analyze their specific weaknesses, consider the weapons needed to be used in an attack, and assess access to the targets. Once these countermeasures are implemented, counterterrorism agencies will then be able to provide appropriate protection, limit accessibility to potential targets, anticipate the response forces that might be required to prevent a potential attack, and be prepared to mitigate the consequences of an attack if it does occur. By employing such a methodology, terrorists can be ‘outsmarted’ and effectively defeated before they strike.
Hsinchun Chen, et al, editors, Terrorism Informatics: Knowledge Management and Data Mining for Homeland Security (New York: Springer, 2008), 640 pages, $169.00. [Hardcover]
Terrorism informatics (a term invented by this reviewer in 2004) is the application of social science methodologies, information technology and computational software to analyze and model terrorism in all its configurations, making it one of the cutting edge methodologies used in the discipline of terrorism and counterterrorism studies. The contributors to this important volume (including this reviewer) discuss a multidisciplinary spectrum of topics in terrorism informatics ranging from mapping terrorism research, including identifying key figures in “terrorism studies”; applying methodologies and templates to identify and map terrorism’s root causes in order to generate solutions; developing information technology-based knowledge management databases, such as incident databases and group profiles in order to generate future warfare trends; applying techniques to conduct threat assessments; identifying “learning patterns” by terrorist groups in order to counter them technologically; utilizing data mining technologies to “hunt” for potential terrorists in government and commercial databases and the civil liberties issues associated with such searches; applying social network analysis software tools to map how terrorist groups are organized and operate; using “web mining” technologies to analyze terrorists’ use of the Internet; and applying situational awareness technologies for disaster response.
Malcolm W. Nance, Terrorist Recognition Handbook: A Practitioner’s Manual for Predicting and Identifying Terrorist Activities (Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 2008), 480 pages, $64.95. [Paperback]
Written by a 20-year veteran of the U.S. intelligence community, this book provides an assessment of terrorists’ motivations and methods, including a listing of pre-incident indicators of potential terrorist activity, and the methodologies required to organize such information into actionable intelligence for effective response measures. Also discussed are the measures required to mitigate damage from terrorist attacks. The information is explained through numerous illustrations, including explanations of the types of conventional weapons and weapons of mass destruction that might be used by terrorists.
Gregory F. Treverton, Intelligence for an Age of Terror (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009), 328 pages, $19.99. [Paperback]
An account of the challenges posed by the transformation of U.S. intelligence to take into account new trends in the threats posed by terrorist groups. Such threats, the author writes, are of a different order of magnitude than those posed by state actors, which still pose first order threats, because terrorist groups are organized differently than state adversaries, as well as being geographically decentralized. This presents different types of challenges, such as forcing greater cooperation in information sharing between intelligence and law enforcement agencies and less demarcation between foreign and domestic jurisdictions in countering such threats.
Michael R. Ronczkowski, Terrorism and Organized Hate Crime: Intelligence Gathering, Analysis, and Investigations [Third Edition] (Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 2012), 417 pages, $89.95. [Hardcover]
Written by a recently retired senior law enforcement officer in Miami – Dade County Florida police department who also held command position in the county’s homeland security department, this is an authoritative handbook on how to manage intelligence in countering terrorism at the local level. Especially useful is the author’s practical protocol for gathering, analyzing, investigating, and disseminating terrorism-related intelligence, including how to recognize the radicalization process, behavioral and activity indicators of an impending terrorist operation and how to deter such an attack before it can take place. Also discussed are informer source development and its use in investigations, the role of fusion centers, terrorism financing, the handling of classified materials, and the National Suspicious Activity Reporting (SAR) Initiative.
Resolving Terrorist Rebellions
Effective counterterrorism is expected to resolve terrorist insurgencies either through military/law enforcement or political/socio-economic conciliatory measures or through a creative mix of these response categories. Conciliatory measures are intended not only to address and solve the root causes underlying a terrorist rebellion, and, if possible, engage terrorist groups in a negotiation process, but also to facilitate the disengagement of a group’s operatives from terrorist to peaceful activities. Terrorism can also end through the implosion of a terrorist group on its own, independent of a government’s counterterrorism campaign. These issues are discussed in the following books:
(xv) Deradicalization and Disengagement from Terrorism
Tore Bjorgo and John Horgan, editors, Leaving Terrorism Behind: Individual and Collective Disengagement (New York: Routledge, 2009), 327 pages, $39.95. [Paperback]
An important collection of case studies, using empirical data to analyze the processes by which individuals and groups are likely to disengage from terrorism – a crucial component in the research on how to resolve terrorist insurgencies. Using a comparative method, the chapters compare and assess the various strengths and weaknesses in the disengagement programs in Colombia, northern Europe, Italy, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia. The lessons learned from these cases are valuable in explaining their potential utility in a counter-terrorism program’s ability to facilitate this crucial component in insurgency resolution.
John Horgan, Walking Away from Terrorism: Accounts of Disengagement from Radical and Extremist Movements (New York: Routledge, 2009), 216 pages, $36.95. [Paperback]
An important overview of how and why individuals are likely to leave terrorist movements, as well as the lessons and implications that emerge from this process. Focusing on the tipping points for disengagement from groups such as al Qaida, the IRA and the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF), the author’s account uses field research and interviews to explain why former terrorists left terrorism behind. The book examines three major issues: what we currently know about de-radicalization and disengagement, how discussions with terrorists about their experiences of disengagement can help identify how such exit routes come about, and how they fare as ‘ex-terrorists’ away from the terrorist “structures” that previously protected them, and the implications of these findings for counterterrorism agencies.
(xvi) Peace Negotiations With Terrorists
John Bew, Martyn Frampton, and Inigo Gurruchaga, Talking to Terrorists: Making Peace in Northern Ireland and the Basque Country (New York: Columbia University Press, 2009), 256 pages, $27.50. [Paperback]
Northern Ireland’s 1998 peace agreement, which put an end to some 30 years of the Provisional IRA’s terrorist insurgency, is widely regarded as a “best practice” model of enlightened conflict resolution by governments and terrorist groups. In this important volume, the authors discuss the range of variables that played out in the Ulster negotiations, such as the selection of state representatives, the information provided by intelligence agencies, the wielding of hard power, and the wider democratic process used to manage the peace process. One of the reasons the negotiations succeeded, the authors point out, is that a sufficiently large faction within the PIRA had begun to realize that their aims were no longer attainable through violent means, with the British and Irish governments, in turn, realizing that the underlying conditions driving the conflict needed to be resolved. At the same time, the American government was able to provide neutral third party mediation, which was trusted by all the parties to the conflict. This volume is important in explaining the basis on which such a peace process was initially established and how its lessons can be applied to other cases, such as Spain and its Basque insurgency.
Carolin Goerzig, Talking to Terrorists: Concessions and the Renunciation of Violence (New York: Routledge, 2010), 192 pages, $130.00. [Hardcover]
An examination, based on empirical field research in several countries, including interviews with current and former terrorists, of the effectiveness of governments’ responses to terrorism based on their position on whether or not to negotiate with terrorist insurgents. The empirically derived findings are then used to establish whether there is any link between negotiating with such groups in order to address a conflict’s underlying causes and the spread of terrorist violence when such negotiations either do not take place or fail. It also tests the hypothesis of whether terrorist groups proliferate when they realize that such acts of violence succeed in achieving their political goals or if they spread if governments give in to their demands. The author concludes that a qualitative relationship exists between providing concessions to terrorists and limiting the proliferation of terrorist groups, because it is through concessions that the “mentalities” and actions of terrorist groups are likely to change in favor of a peaceful resolution to their conflict.
Guy Olivier Faure and I. William Zartman, editors, Negotiating with Terrorists: Strategy, Tactics, and Politics (New York: Routledge, 2010), 256 pages, $138.00. [Hardover]
An important collection of papers analyzing when, why, and how governments and NGOs can negotiate with terrorist groups, including recommendations for best practice in negotiation processes. Part I discusses the theory and quantifiable data produced from analysis of hostage situations, while Part II explores several high profile case studies and the lessons that can be learnt from them. Negotiations involve attempts to align what began as completely polarized parties, with governments viewing terrorism as unacceptable means used to promote extremist demands, while terrorists view their actions as completely justified, even on moral and religious grounds. If both sides are to try and reconcile these polarized positions, the authors explain, it is essential for those in charge of negotiations to understand the terrorists’ culture, profiles and personalities, their views of the world, and, for the terrorist “negotiators” to understand the nature of the government authorities, their values and how they frame the problems raised by the resort to terrorism, including hostage taking.
William Zartman and Guy Olivier Faure, editors, Engaging Extremists: Trade-Offs, Timing and Diplomacy (Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace Press, 2011), 300 pages, $19.95. [Paperback]
The volume’s contributors contend that engaging extremists by governments is possible when it becomes part of a comprehensive roadmap that can ultimately lead to a conflict’s negotiated agreement by addressing underlying problems and promoting factions that can be engaged with. Case studies focus on how such engagements have worked out in practice in the past.
Judith Renner and Alexander Spencer, editors, Reconciliation after Terrorism: Strategy, Possibility or Absurdity? (New York: Routledge, 2012), 248 pages, $130.00. [Hardcover]
The edited volume brings together scholars from the disparate fields of terrorism and reconciliation studies to examine from theoretical and empirical perspectives whether and how reconciliation may be a feasible strategy for dealing with, and ending, a terrorist conflict. This is an important issue for policy makers involved in responding to terrorist rebellions because terrorism is often a sign of deep societal rifts which reconciliation measures may help to overcome, if properly managed. Interestingly, as noted by some of the contributors, in some cases terrorist leaders might turn into political actors during the reconciliation process, making such a past no longer a contentious issue (e.g., the ANC in South Africa), while in others, their persistence in violence makes them an untenable partner for negotiations. To explain these issues, the contributors analyze the central questions involved in the reconciliation process, such as what constitutes ‘reconciliation’ as a process and an outcome, and how reconciliation can be facilitated in a situation of social conflict.
(xvii) How Terrorist Conflicts End
Audrey Kurth Cronin, How Terrorism Ends: Understanding the Decline and Demise of Terrorist Campaigns (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2009), 432 pages, $22.95. [Paperback]
Starting with the assumption that terrorist campaigns usually “come to an end,” the author contends that it is important to examine the processes facilitating such terminal points in order for counterterrorism agencies to understand how to formulate effective strategies to hasten the decline of terrorist groups. The book addresses crucial questions such as: how long do terrorist campaigns generally last? When does targeting the leadership for assassination actually severely damage a group’s capability? When do negotiations between governments and terrorist groups result in terminating the conflict? What conditions enable terrorist groups to transition to more widespread forms of warfare, such as guerrilla insurgency or civil war? How and when do terrorist groups succeed, fail, or disappear on their own? These theoretical issues are applied to a range of historical examples, such as the anti-tsarist Narodnaya Volya, the Provisional IRA, Peru’s Shining Path, Japan’s Aum Shinrikyo, and various Palestinian groups.
Seth G. Jones and Martin C. Libicki, How Terrorist Groups End: Lessons for Countering al Qa’ida (Santa Monica, CA: RAND, 2008), 250 pages, $33.00. [Paperback]
Utilizing empirical research, the authors find that terrorist rebellions usually end when they join the political process or local police and intelligence agencies succeed in arresting or killing key leaders. Their recommendation, however, that in dealing with groups such as al Qaida policing and intelligence, not military force, should form the backbone of U.S. counterterrorism efforts might be questioned, since it has been demonstrated that a comprehensive approach to counterterrorism is most effective in countering terrorist groups whose political and religious extremism is so unyielding that it needs to be countered with military measures, such as the targeted killings of their leaders, as well.
Ben Connable and Martin C. Libicki, How Insurgencies End (Santa Monica, CA: RAND, 2010), 268 pages, $32.80. [Paperback]
Although focusing primarily on guerrilla insurgencies, many of this important volume’s case studies also include terrorist rebellions, making their analysis of how insurgencies end highly relevant to counterterrorism studies. Their examination of 89 insurgencies finds that most last for about ten years, that being organized hierarchically increases their operational capabilities, as is the provision to them of state sponsorship. Having a sanctuary from which to organize their operations is also vital. They also contend that insurgents’ use of terrorism often backfires. The authors conclude that there are no shortcuts to defeating insurgent groups, but that some key indicators for tipping points include an increase in insurgent fighter desertions and defections.
Leonard Weinberg, The End of Terrorism? (New York: Routledge, 2011), 168 pages, $41.95. [Paperback]
Written by a veteran scholar on terrorism, this is an insightful discussion of how warfare by terrorist groups generally comes to an end, based on an historical empirical examination of terrorism since the 1960s. Especially interesting is the author’s discussion of the factors driving individuals who embarked on ‘careers’ in terrorism over the years to begin to disengage from violence. In addition to studying the roles of defection or the de-radicalization of individuals who engage in terrorism, the author also focuses on how terrorist groups are defeated, or how they end up defeating themselves.
About the Reviewer: Joshua Sinai is an Associate Professor/Research, specializing in Counterterrorism Studies at the Virginia Tech Research Center – Arlington. He can be reached at: email@example.com.
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