"Although Williams presents the content with all of the rigor and discipline one would expect from an expert in this field, Counter Jihad explains this history in a way that is both interesting and understand- able to someone with minimal knowledge about the Middle East. The result is an excellent resource for the junior Airman, Marine, Sailor, or Soldier desiring to learn more about the complex world in which he or she fights. From explanations of mid-twentieth-century conflicts around Israel to an analysis of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria's (ISIS) strength in early 2016, this book offers the reader a thorough and balanced summary that is neither strictly pro-American nor pro-Middle East but pro-truth."—Air and Space Journal (US Air Force Research Institute)
"In addition to providing just the right mix of in-depth coverage and artful analysis, Brian Glyn Williams skillfully leverages his first-hand experiences in the region to breathe life into combatants from all sides as well as ordinary civilians caught up in the Iraq, Syrian, and Afghan conflicts. A must read for those seeking a balanced, behind-the-scenes explanation of the events dominating the news cycle since 9/11."—Lieutenant Colonel Mark J. Reardon (U.S. Army Retired), Office of the Chief of Staff of the Army, Operation Enduring Freedom Study Group
"A reasonable, step-by-step look back at the war on terror that aims to dispel misconceptions [and a] refreshingly nonpolemical work that walks through the benumbing stages of war and response to the present Islamic State group problem."—Kirkus Reviews
"Balanced and apolitical, Williams argues that only by exploring the past can we understand the jihad, the attacks on our homeland, and the nearly sixteen years of war ranging from mountains of Afghanistan, to the sands of Iraq and Syria, and to the streets of Paris and San Bernardino, California. In this, his sixth book, Williams presents an easy-to-read narrative on the rise of ISIS, informed by his deep understanding of the Middle East and Central Asia, extensive and meticulously detailed research, and his own personal experiences while deployed to the region on many occasions."—Military Review (US Army)
"Counter Jihad is a thoroughly researched, easy to read, informative, and important book. It is a thorough accounting of how and why the United States fought (and is fighting) wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria and the key events that led to these wars."—Middle East Journal
Williams (The Last Warlord), professor of Islamic history at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, designs a primer for understanding America’s current strategic position in the Middle East and the way the U.S. government uses the military for political objectives. He relates that his university students know little to nothing of modern Middle East history, U.S. military operations there, nor who opposes those operations. Williams traces the roots of conflict in the Middle to biblical times, succinctly and comprehensively highlighting the major events of the last 3,000 years that are relevant to understanding the modern Middle East. He then argues that Operation Desert Storm placed the U.S., Al Qaeda, Iraq, and Afghanistan on a collision course leading up to the attack of 9/11 and subsequent military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. Finally, the book brings the reader logically to the state of U.S. Middle East policy today, including ongoing operations in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan, as well as the host of other issues, including the recent terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels. Williams manages to articulate complex concepts and history to provide a one-stop synopsis for the knowledgeable reader and a great introduction to the material for laypeople. (Dec.)
A reasonable, step-by-step look back at the war on terror that aims to dispel misconceptions held by a younger generation.A specialist in the study of terrorism who has worked with the CIA to track suicide bombers in Afghanistan, Williams (Islamic History/Univ. of Massachusetts, Dartmouth; The Last Warlord: The Life and Legend of Dostum, the Afghan Warrior Who Led U.S. Special Forces to Topple the Taliban Regime, 2013, etc.) finds his students ignorance about the Afghanistan and Iraq wars troubling. In this meticulous survey, he offers an after action report to help readers understand why the U.S. is (still) deeply mired in wars in three Middle East countries. From his previous workse.g., on Uzbek Afghan warlord Abdul Rashid Dostum, who helped the Americans defeat the Taliban in 2001the author has certainly immersed himself in the complicated ethnic makeup of Afghanistan (Williams provides a useful map of the major ethnic groups). He grasps the deep roots of the resentments in the region, from the ancient Sunni-Shiite split to the Palestinian-Israeli conflictand Americas pro-Israel position. One of the salient points the author hammers home as he tracks the beginning of the U.S. military presence in the region is that from 1991 to 1998, Saddam Husseins atomic bomb capability was essentially dismantled (despite his boasts), rendering George W. Bushs weapons of mass destruction proclamations absolute hype. Moreover, there was no evidence that Osama bin Laden collaborated with Hussein, while only one farsighted U.S. official, former national security adviser Richard Clarke, was tracking the al-Qaida threat, especially after the 2000 sinking of the USS Cole. Williams also examines some of the persistent conspiracy theories about 9/11e.g., that the attack was the work of the Zionists. A refreshingly nonpolemical work that walks through the benumbing stages of war and response to the present Islamic State group problem.