Inside Al Qaed International Counter Terrorism Expert Rohan Gunaratna

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INSIDE AL QAEDA Rohan Gunaratna New York: Columbia University Press, 2002, 272 pp. International counter-terrorism expert Rohan Gunaratna’s book Inside Al Qaeda is an analysis of leadership, ideology, structure and strategies, of the ‘first multinational terrorist group’ [1] of the twenty-first century. Based on five years of research and extensive interviews with over 200 militants, the book traces the genesis of al-Qaeda and its rise to prominence leading up to the September 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center. Though Inside Al Qaeda has elicited effusive praise from the Western media, some of the claims made by the author in this book had been widely challenged by the Australian media, the Malaysian government and scholars. As for the ordinary reader, Inside Al Qaeda may come across as a ‘data dump’[2] than a comprehensive commentary on the subject. The biographical sketches of Osama bin Laden and Sheikh Khalid Muhammad, the key planner of the 9/11 attacks, is by far the strongest section of the book. A detailed description of al Qaeda 's networks across the Middle East, Europe, South America and North America is another aspect that sets this book apart from other literature on the subject. The book throws up new data about al Qaeda’s global networks quoting first-hand interviews. For instance, Gunaratna gave a detailed account of how the arrest of the twentieth hijacker Zaccarias Moussaoui affected the 9/11 attacks [3] and how Hizballah operative Imad Mughniyeh

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