Inside Al Qaeda

Tuesday 9 July 2002

A University of St Andrews terrorism expert has produced the first serious in-depth account of the origins and workings of Al Qaeda and how it mutated into a multi-national terrorist enterprise across the globe.

“Inside Al Qaeda: Global Network of Terror”, written by Dr Rohan Gunaratna, is published by both C Hurst and Company (Publishers) Limited and Columbia University Press and is now on the US bestseller list.

Dr Gunaratna is a Research Fellow at the University’s Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence, established in 1994 to investigate the roots of political violence, develop a body of theory spanning its various disparate elements and study the impact of violence, and responses to it, at societal, governmental, and international levels. He is also an Honorary Fellow at the International Policy Institute for Counter-Terrorism in Israel.

After months of concentrated attack in Afghanistan, Dr Gunaratna argues that Al Qaeda is as threatening as it was prior to September 11th and that the world must remain vigilant to the threat of attack. Dr Gunaratna sheds light on Al Qaeda’s financial infrastructure and how they provide combat trainers and vanguard fighters for multiple guerrilla, terrorist and semi- conventional campaigns in the Middle East, Asia, Africa, the Caucuses, and the Balkans. In addition, the author covers the clandestine Al Qaeda operational network in the West. Themes covered by the book include:

Al Qaeda’s long-range, deep- penetration agent handling system in Western Europe and North America for setting up safe houses and procuring weapons;

How the O55 Brigade – Al Qaeda’s guerrilla organisation – integrated into the Taliban;

How the arrest of Zecharias Moussaoui forced Al Qaeda to move forward on September 11th;

How the Iran-Hezbollah-Al Qaeda link provided the knowledge to conduct coordinated, simultaneous attacks on multiple targets, including failed plans to destroy Los Angeles International Airport, the USS Sullivan, the Radisson Hotel in Jordan, and eleven US commercial airliners over the Pacific ocean; How one-fifth of international Islamic charities and NGOs are infiltrated by Al Qaeda;

How Al Qaeda’s capacity to regenerate new cells far exceeds the US capacity to neutralize existing cells;

How the US response is effective militarily in the short term, but insufficient to counter Al Qaeda’s ideology in the long-term. There have been several critical failures of the intelligence community. The U.S. government never took the threat seriously- the FBI mistranslated the ‘Al Qaeda’ bomb-making manual seized at the airport and labeled the documents “irrelevant and miscellaneous Islamic documents.”

Dr Gunaratna is an internationally renowned expert on Al Qaeda. He is also the Principal Expert on Al Qaeda for the UK Crown Prosecution Service. As an expert on terrorism in the Asia-Pacific region, he conducted field research on Asian groups, examining their terrorist support networks in North America, Europe and the Far East. For the past five years, he has made Al Qaeda his sole focus of study. He has conducted extensive interviews with its members; has done field research in Al Qaeda-supported conflict zones in Central, South and Southeast Asia and the Middle East; and has monitored Al Qaeda infiltration of diaspora and migrant communities in North America and in Europe. In his new book, Inside Al Qaeda, he examines the leadership, ideology, structure, strategies and tactics of the most violent politico- religious organisation the world has ever seen. The author of six books on armed conflict, Dr Gunaratna was called to address the United Nations, the US Congress and the Australian Parliament in the wake of September 11th. Previously, Gunaratna was Principal Investigator of the United Nations’ Terrorism Prevention Branch and has served as a consultant on terrorism to several governments and corporations. He has lectured widely in Europe, Latin America, North America, the Middle East, and Asia on terrorism and countermeasures.

Dr Gunaratna’s colleague Dr Magnus Ranstorp, Depute Director of the University’s Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence said, “Based on meticulous research, unique access to Al Qaeda members and interviews with law enforcement officials, Inside Al Qaeda is the first serious in-depth account of how Al Qaeda was really founded, how it works and how it mutated into a truly multinational terrorist enterprise across the globe. The author has crafted a masterful but frightening picture of Al Qaeda’s global reach and the degree of clear and present danger posed by its leadership and its footsoldiers. Inside Al Qaeda is likely to remain the standard work on Bin-Laden and his terrorist Network for the future.”



For more information, please contact Michael Dwyer, Christopher Hurst & Co. – telephone 020-7240- 2666, fax 020-7240-2667 or email [email protected].

Issued by Beattie Media on behalf of the University of St Andrews For more information contact Claire Grainger – 01334 462530 or email [email protected] Ref: rohan/standrews/chg/10july2002

Category Research

Related topics

Share this story