Hunting in the Shadows: The Pursuit of al Qa'ida since 9/11

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Overview

This comprehensive, landmark history chronicles our ongoing battle against al-Qa’ida, the greatest threat the West has faced in the modern era. An internationally recognized authority on terrorism and counterinsurgency, Seth G. Jones presents a dramatic narrative of the on-the-ground police work; the elaborate, multiyear investigations led by the CIA, FBI, and Britain’s MI5; and the shifting and deadly alliances between terrorist groups that have characterized the conflict. With gripping detail he recounts the ...

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Hunting in the Shadows: The Pursuit of al Qa'ida since 9/11

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Overview

This comprehensive, landmark history chronicles our ongoing battle against al-Qa’ida, the greatest threat the West has faced in the modern era. An internationally recognized authority on terrorism and counterinsurgency, Seth G. Jones presents a dramatic narrative of the on-the-ground police work; the elaborate, multiyear investigations led by the CIA, FBI, and Britain’s MI5; and the shifting and deadly alliances between terrorist groups that have characterized the conflict. With gripping detail he recounts the against-the-clock hunt for the Times Square bomber and reveals startling information about Osama bin Laden’s behavior during his final days. Drawing on recently declassified documents and court materials, transcripts of wiretapped conversations, and interviews with current and former government officials from the United States and key allies, Jones navigates the “waves” (al Qa’ida attacks) and “reverse waves” (successful efforts to disrupt al’Qa’ida), explaining how we might analyze past patterns in order to successfully counter al Qa’ida and its allies in the future.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Jones (In the Graveyard of Empires), an analyst at RAND and an adjunct professor at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School, explores the waxing and waning of al-Qaeda in this sprawling narrative history. Drawing on court records from terrorism trials, government documents, and interviews with well-placed officials, Jones proposes a wave theory of al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorism. The first wave began with the U.S. embassy bombings in Africa in 1998, crested on 9/11, and ebbed as al-Qaeda was flushed from Afghanistan. The U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 “provided an opportunity for redemption” and “triggered a new wave of attacks in the West.” This second wave ended when Iraq’s Sunni tribes united against al-Qaeda’s harsh “punishment strategy.” The third wave, characterized by “homegrown plots” inspired by al-Qaeda, began in 2007 and ended with the deaths of bin Laden and other al-Qaeda leaders. Despite the reversals, Jones warns that the war on terror is far from over and that the goal of the U.S. should now be “prevent a fourth wave.” The author’s cycles, however tenuous, lead him to propose a preventive strategy of “implementing a light-footprint” and “helping local governments establish basic law and order.” Jones’s detailed history is a timely addition to the debate over the way forward against international terrorism. Agent: William Lupfer, WME. (May)
Vali Nasr
Hunting in the Shadows is a well-documented and perceptive look into the shadowy world of Al-Qaeda since 9/11, and a clear-headed assessment of how effective the War on Terror has been in containing it. This book is an important contribution to public debate on America's security and how best achieve it in a changing Muslim world.”
Kirkus Reviews
A chronological, historical walk-through of successive waves of al-Qaeda terrorism from 1998 to the present. What has caused the three surges in terrorist activity over the past decade-plus, and can the next one be predicted? RAND analyst Jones (In the Graveyard of Empires: America's War in Afghanistan, 2009, etc.) fashions a complete tutorial in the rise of violent jihadism, which emerged from the struggle against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the late 1980s. The organization's early leaders had competing visions about its mission that created enormous tension. Chief Egyptian idealogue Sayyid Imam al-Sharif, author of the seminal Primer in Preparing for Jihad, warned against taking the violent campaign against the Egyptian government and asserted that the terrorist tactics "grossly misinterpreted Islam." His deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri became increasingly militant, joining with other groups and turning the struggle outward to the corrupting influence of the West on Islam. In 1998, al-Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden and others published a fatwa to kill Americans, yet it wasn't until the simultaneous attacks on U.S. embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam that the U.S. finally took full notice. Jones tracks the American response--e.g., by CIA officials Henry Crumpton and Philip Mudd, as the first wave of violence crested with 9/11. The author ably organizes all the pieces of the puzzle regarding successive terrorist attacks, fleshing out the numerous personalities involved, tracking the U.S. and British response and decade-long hunt for bin Laden and establishing excellent perspective on the amorphous nature of the enemy and the dissention from within. In preventing a next wave of terrorism, Jones propounds exploiting al-Qaeda's tendency to kill civilians as a way of eliciting backlash against the group. From a knowledgeable guide, a thoughtful study of the pattern of violence and response.
The New York Times Book Review
…an important book, though less for the individual stories it tells than for the broader analysis Jones uses to frame them.
—Jonathan Mahler
New York Times Book Review
A wider-angle view of the war on terror. . . . [A]n important book.— Jonathan Mahler
Jonathan Mahler - New York Times Book Review
“A wider-angle view of the war on terror. . . . [A]n important book.”
Steve Coll
“Seth Jones is a gifted writer and scholar. His research, attention to detail and narrative skills make Hunting in the Shadows essential reading. At a time of public uncertainty about where the war against Al Qaeda is going, here is a reliable, compelling map, rich with new information.”
David Kilcullen
“Seth Jones has produced a masterpiece, pulling together a fragmented and little-known sequence of events into a coherent, and highly readable account. His ‘wave and counter-wave’ framework helps make sense of complex patterns, and his analysis is likely to stand the test of time. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in current events or in the future of conflict.”
Bruce Riedel
“The best researched study of al Qaeda’s plots, both successful and foiled, to attack America and its allies since 911. A critical account essential to understanding how the threat is evolving.”
Admiral Eric T. Olson
“Seth Jones was called to the war zones by commanders of special operations forces to advise them on the nuances of the places, people and events of high importance in our pursuit of terrorists. Hunting in the Shadows is a clear and engaging account that draws on Seth’s long experience in the region - a truly valuable work by a uniquely knowledgeable and talented writer.”
New York Times Book Review - Jonathan Mahler
“A wider-angle view of the war on terror. . . . [A]n important book.”
Admiral - Eric T. Olson
“Seth Jones was called to the war zones by commanders of special operations forces to advise them on the nuances of the places, people and events of high importance in our pursuit of terrorists. Hunting in the Shadows is a clear and engaging account that draws on Seth’s long experience in the region - a truly valuable work by a uniquely knowledgeable and talented writer.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393081459
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/1/2012
  • Pages: 544
  • Sales rank: 832,437
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 2.00 (d)

Meet the Author

A former senior advisor at U.S. Special Operations Command, Seth G. Jones is currently a RAND analyst, an adjunct professor at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School, and the author of In the Graveyard of Empires.
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Table of Contents

List of Maps and Charts vii

Chapter 1 A Model Investigation 1

Part I The First Wave

Chapter 2 The Origins of Dissent 29

Chapter 3 Hunting in the Hindu Kush 53

Chapter 4 Al Qa'ida in Pakistan 79

Chapter 5 Coming to America 108

Part II The Second Wave

Chapter 6 Al Qa'ida in Iraq 141

Chapter 7 The Madrid Attacks 161

Chapter 8 The London Attacks 185

Chapter 9 Resurgence in Pakistan 214

Chapter 10 The Tide Turns in Iraq 239

Chapter 11 Revolt from Within 261

Part III The Toird Wawe

Chapter 12 Leaderless Jihad? 287

Chapter 13 Al Qa'ida Strikes Back 311

Chapter 14 The Rise of Yemen 336

Chapter 15 A Different Breed 368

Chapter 16 A Near Miss 392

Chapter 17 We Got Him 414

Part IV The Fourth Wave?

Chapter 18 Prevention 433

Acknowledgments 445

Notes 449

Index 511

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 16, 2012

    Kari

    Looks at the moon pool and remembers her days of being a medic.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2012

    Grassclan moonpool

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2012

    This is one of the best books -- if not the best book -- I've re

    This is one of the best books -- if not the best book -- I've read on al Qa'ida over the past decade. It is well-researched and well-written. I have worked on counterterrorism issues for the U.S. government, and can attest that Dr. Jones demonstrates an innate ability to hit the key issues -- both good and bad -- for the major al Qa'ida plots over the past decade: from Khalid Sheikh Mohammad's post-9/11 plots to Najibullah Zazi in 2009. Most useful, however, is his argument that al Qa'ida's strength has not been linear, but has ebbed and flowed as part of a series of "waves" and "reverse waves." Great book. If you're going to read one book on the history of al Qa'ida, this is it!!!

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