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Architect of Global Jihad: The Life of Al Qaeda Strategist Abu Mus'ab al-Suri / Edition 1

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New York 2008 Octavo; vg+/vg; dj, glossy black spine with white and green text; dj, light shelf wear; HB, black spine with gold text; boards, minor shelf wear and bumping; text ... block, clean; 510pp. Rockville. Read more Show Less

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Despite his alleged capture in Pakistan in late 2005, Abu Mus'ab al-Suri, a Syrian originally known as Mustafa Sethmarian Nasar, remains a potent political and ideological figure. One of the foremost theoreticians of the global jihadist movement, al-Suri trained a generation of young jihadis at al-Qaeda's Afghan camps and helped to establish the organization's vast European networks. Having gained extensive military experience fighting in the Syrian Islamist insurgency of the early 1980s, he helped to shape al-Qaeda's global strategy in a series of writings, including his influential Global Islamic Call. In that 1,600 page book, al-Suri outlined a broad strategy for al-Qaeda's younger generation to follow and described practical ways to implement the theories and tactics of jihadi guerrilla warfare.

Architect of Global Jihad is a biography of this powerful, charismatic, and prophetic individual. Examining not only the life of Al-Suri but also the world that gave rise to him, Brynjar Lia reveals al-Suri's skill for maximizing the political impact of jihadi violence. Lia provides the first and only English translation of two key chapters from al-Suri's Global Islamic Call and exposes his methods for building successful, autonomous cells for "individualized terrorism." Al-Suri's words have inspired thousands of today's militants, making Lia's carefully researched, detailed portrait required reading for students and specialists of Islamist movements and the study of contemporary forms of terrorism.

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Editorial Reviews

Globe & Mail - Peter Hart

A genuinely important and path-breaking book.

The American Interest - Steven Brooke

An authoritative volume on a man who is possibly the most important jihadi theoretician alive.

New York Review of Books - Ahmed Rashid


New York Review of Books - Malise Ruthven

A fascinating study.

The Journal of Military History - Lester W. Grau

A brilliant, well-researched work.

Political Studies Review - Marisa Urgo

Lia's book should be essential reading.

Middle East Quarterly - Daveed Gartenstein-Ross

This valuable biography of Abu Mus'ab al-Suri... contributes to the understanding of jihadi strategic thought, an area where incisive and thorough scholarship has been lacking.

Globe & Mail
A genuinely important and path-breaking book.

— Peter Hart

The American Interest
An authoritative volume on a man who is possibly the most important jihadi theoretician alive.

— Steven Brooke

New York Review of Books
A fascinating study.

— Malise Ruthven

The Journal of Military History
A brilliant, well-researched work.

— Lester W. Grau

Political Studies Review
Lia's book should be essential reading.

— Marisa Urgo

Middle East Quarterly
This valuable biography of Abu Mus'ab al-Suri... contributes to the understanding of jihadi strategic thought, an area where incisive and thorough scholarship has been lacking.

— Daveed Gartenstein-Ross

Jeevan Deol

Brynjar Lia's book is an innovative, well-sourced, and thorough account of the life and work of Abu Mus'ab al-Suri. Lia's book digs behind the myths and public speculation around al-Suri and gives a comprehensive picture of the man and his works. It is crucial to an understanding of international jihadi ideology and needs to be widely studied.

Jeffrey Cozzens

Brynjar Lia's masterfully-researched work remains the only known contribution to the terrorism studies field that parses the history and thought of al-Suri, a formidable ideologue by virtue of his pragmatism, rational approach to history, and realistic, 'egalitarian' view of the future of jihad. Far beyond its utility as an historical analysis, Lia's work is extraordinarily timely as he extracts the finer points of al-Suri's now widely-circulated theories that may have informed the conduct of the London and Madrid attacks.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231700306
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 1/24/2008
  • Series: Columbia/Hurst Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 600,622
  • Product dimensions: 8.60 (w) x 5.80 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Brynjar Lia is a research professor at the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI). A former Visiting Fulbright Scholar at Harvard University, he is the author of several books on Islamism and terrorism.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements     ix
Abbreviations     xi
Note     xii
Introduction     1
How important is Abu Mus'ab-al-Suri today?     5
Sources on al-Suri's life     29
Who is Abu Mus'ab al-Suri?     30
The Syrian Jihad     35
Turmoil and uprising     35
Joining the rebels     37
A jihadi in exile     40
The Hama debacle     47
In exile in Saudi Arabia     49
Exile in Europe     51
Between exile in France and the Syrian jihad     51
In Andalus     54
Al-Suri's first publication: 'The islamic jihadi revolution in Syria'     58
The bombing of El Descanso restaurant in Madrid?     65
Afghanistan: Land of Holy War     69
The road to Afghanistan     69
From a Syrian to a global jihad     72
With Abdallah Azzam and Osama bin Laden     75
Training and combat     79
From military instructor to jihadi intellectual     84
The rise of the Egyptian jihadi trend in Peshawar     88
Introducing 'A Global Islamic Resistance' concept     102
Leaving Peshawar     105
Behind Enemy Lines     109
Algeria: his next jihad     111
The GIA and al-Qaida in Sudan     125
A new Syrian jihad group?     131
The rise of an al-Qaida cell in Spain     137
A Media Jihadi in Londonistan 1994-97     149
In the service of the Algerian GIA     152
Bin Laden's media agent     160
Al-Suri's film on channel 4     163
Facilitating CNN's bin Laden interview     165
With al-Quds al-Arabi in Tora Bora     170
Meeting the Financial Times     171
Suing the Arab world's largest newspaper     174
Companions, Rivals, Acquaintances     181
Abu Qutadah al-Filastini: a love-hate relationship     182
Muhammad Bahayah: life-long friend and companion     189
Taysir Allouni: a point of contact in al-Jazeera     193
Amir Azizi: a Moroccan aide and training associate?     199
Adil Abd al-Bari: a fellowjihadi journalist     208
Saad al-Faqih and Khalid al-Fawwaz: acquaintances inside the Saudi camp     212
Noman Benotman and the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group     220
In the Service of the Taleban     229
Leaving Londonistan      229
Taleban: the true islamic emirate     234
The Afghan training camps     240
The Ghuraba training camp     246
Teaching jihadi terrorism     259
Moroccan jihadis, Abu Layth al-Libi and Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi     265
Writer and journalist     272
Al-Suri and the al-Qaida leadership     278
A secessionist leader?     293
Weapons of mass destruction     299
The September 11th attacks     313
A {dollar}5 Million Dollar al-Qaida Fugitive     317
New books, a reward, and global fame     318
His activities and whereabouts     324
Al-Suri, Al-Zarqawi, and the Iraqi front     328
Masterminding terror?     332
A message to the Europeans, July 2005     340
Al-Suri's testament     342
The capture of al-Suri     343
'The Global Islamic Resistance Call' (Key excerpts)     347
Bibliography and Sources     485
Index     503
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