Perspectives_on_Terrorism_XI_4_-_Joshua_Sinai

Counterterrorism Bookshelf:

15 Books on Terrorism & Counterterrorism-Related Subjects

Capsule Reviews by Joshua Sinai

This column consists of capsule reviews of books from various publishers.

Daniel Alati, Domestic Counter-Terrorism in a Global World: Post 9/11 Institutional Structures and Cultures in Canada and the United Kingdom (New York, NY: Routledge, 2017), 218 pp., US $ 149.95 [Hardcover], ISBN: 978-1-1386-8450-8.

This is an authoritative legal examination of the responses to terrorism in Canada and the United Kingdom since 2001, explaining how and why they are the product of legal and political structures and cultures in the two jurisdictions. In particular, it examines how both countries have applied the United Nations’ Security Council Resolution 1373, of September 28, 2001, which established the Security Council’s Counter Terrorism Committee (CTC) to monitor member-state compliance with its provisions. The author notes several problematic trends in the two countries, such as the impact of their relationship with the United States in affecting their counter-terrorism (CT) measures, the use of CT judicial measures outside regular criminal law, the enactment of sprawling CT legislation without full parliamentary scrutiny, the use of secret evidence in a variety of legal CT contexts, and, in what is most troublesome to the author, the impact of major terrorist incidents in producing more restrictive and less scrutinized CT measures. Significant trials of terrorist suspects in both countries are also used to analyze how they complied with judicial measures that are meant to guarantee due process and civil liberties. The author is Assistant Professor in the Department of Criminology at Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada.

Rachel Avraham, Women and Jihad: Debating Palestinian Female Suicide Bombings in the American, Israeli and Arab Media (New York, NY: Gefen Books, 2016), 354 pp., US $ 14.95 [Paperback], ISBN: 978-9-6522-9903-1.

This book offers an innovative approach to analyzing the rationale and media impact of the use by terrorist groups of female operatives to carry out suicide bombings against their adversaries. The case of Palestinian terrorist groups is highlighted, particularly during the Second Intifada period (2002 – 2005), with the attacks by eight Palestinian female operatives used to assess how they achieved publicity for their cause as their attacks were reported in Israeli, American, and Arab media accounts. An interesting finding is that female suicide bombers were receiving “up to eight times more publicity than male suicide bombers and the coverage of them tends to be more favorable to the Palestinian terrorist organizations”(p. iv). To analyze these issues, the book’s chapters cover topics such as defining terrorism (with Bruce Hoffman’s definition highlighted as it emphasizes terrorism as “a violent act that is conceived specifically to attract attention and then through the publicity it generates to communicate a message” – p. 23); the role of Islamism in justifying suicide terrorism; the ideologies behind the Palestinian terrorist groups that conduct suicide bombings, specifically, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades; profiles of the eight Palestinian female suicide bombers highlighted in the study; and how these female suicide bombings were covered in the Arab, Israeli, and American media. With terrorism and the media, as the author cites Abraham Miller’s observation that they “are entwined in an almost inexorable, symbiotic relationship”(p. 299), the author finds that “the Arabic language media coverage would overtly justify and glorify the actions of the suicide bombers, while American media coverage would more often rationalize the hardships that prompted the Palestinian female suicide bomber to blow herself up while refraining from condoning suicide bombings”(p.300). The Israeli media, by contrast, were less likely than the American to note motivating factors, yet were still more likely to mention the factors prompting the female suicide bombers had the suicide bomber been a male”(p. 300). The author concludes that appropriate media coverage of terrorist attacks needs to avoid being exploited by terrorist groups by providing them “sympathetic coverage” (p. 304). Related to the author’s discussion of media coverage of Palestinian suicide terrorism, is a separate chapter in the book entitled “Standing Up to Terror Appeasement”. It recounts the author’s experience as an MA graduate student in Middle Eastern studies at Ben Gurion University, which she describes as “notorious in Israel for being dominated by radical leftists,” where she encountered the faculty’s “appeasement” in their discussion of Palestinian terrorism. In spite of such bias, she persevered in her studies and received her MA degree from the university. The book lacks an Index, but is an important contribution to the literature on the relationship between terrorism and the media of communications. The author, an American who immigrated to Israel, is a senior media research analyst at the Center for Near East Policy Research and a correspondent for the Israel Resource News Agency.

Cathy Scott-Clark and Adrian Levy, The Exile: The Stunning Inside Story of Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda in Flight (New York, NY: Bloomsbury, 2017), 640 pp., US $ 30.00 [Hardcover], ISBN: 978-1-6204-0984-8.

This is a comprehensive, and detailed account of al Qaida’s leaders, their activities, personal lives (including, in the case of Usama bin Laden, his polygamous marriages and numerous children) prior to 911, its aftermath, and the events leading up to bin Laden’s killing at his hideaway in Abbottabad, Pakistan, on May 1, 2011. The London-based authors, who are veteran investigative journalists and documentary producers, had travelled to the locations covered in the book’s account, particularly in Pakistan, where they interviewed many of the government officials, journalists, and others involved in countering al Qaida, making this a lively, insider account of what had actually happened on the ground from the perspectives of the terrorists and the counter-terrorism agencies pursuing them. Also covered are the impact of bin Laden’s death on al Qaida and its affiliates, the strained relations between Ayman al-Zawahiri, bin Laden’s successor, and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State, including how the IS succeeded in dominating the jihadi insurgency in Syria. There is much to commend in this authoritative account, with the book’s sections written in chronological order, beginning in May 1996, when bin Laden and his al Qaida group moved back to Afghanistan, and ending in September 2016 in Syria. The authors conclude with a pessimistic observation by a former U.S. State Department counterterrorism coordinator, that “Eliminating the [Islamic State – JS] caliphate will be an achievement….But more likely it will just be the end of the beginning rather than the beginning of the end”(p. 504). Also valuable are the brief biographies of the major persons featured in the book.

George Joffe, (Ed.), Islamist Radicalisation in Europe and the Middle East: Reassessing the Causes of Terrorism (New York, NY: I.B. Tauris, 2013), 320 pp., US $ 120.00 [Hardcover], ISBN: 978-1-8488-5480-2.

This edited volume is based on the proceedings of a conference on drivers into Islamist radicalization at the onset of the Arab Spring (with a paper also presented on Jewish religious extremism in Israel) held at the University of Cambridge in June 2009. As explained by this volume’s editor, the purpose of this publication is to “examine those drivers, rather than the outcomes they might produce.…”(p. 2). While this objective is clear, once the editor begins to define the contributors’ interpretation of the concepts of radicalization and extremism, it is at this point that the volume begins to veer off course. This is due to the fact that their interpretation of radicalization as “contrasted with the parallel concept of extremism”(p. 2), makes, in the view of this reviewer, no sense, as a widely accepted definition of these two concepts in the academic literature is that radicalization is a process that leads at the end point either to non-violent extremism or violent extremism. It is also possible that an individual’s or a group’s radicalization pathway can cease at any point along this trajectory. In another problematic use of the term radicalization, the volume’s editor contrasts it with extremism, which he defines as “the active adoption of an ideology, and the praxis associated with it, to both delegitimize and then to eliminate the state and its associated elites through violence”(p. 3). Thus, instead of contrasting the end-points of the radicalization process either as non-violent extremism or violent extremism, he posits radicalization as non-violent extremism and extremism as violent extremism. This confusion in the introductory chapter’s conceptual framework is highlighted because it affects the way the volume’s contributors apply these concepts to their respective case studies, with the exception of the chapter by Ayla Gul on “Ethnic Radicalisation: Kurdish Identity as Extremism in the Hegemonic Discourse of Turkey,” which explains radicalization as a “path” involving “a search for identity at a moment of crisis”(p. 247). The other chapters cover topics such as profiling the British Islamists Ziauddin Sardar and Ed Husain (who had abandoned his earlier extremism), the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Syria, extremism in Iraq, resistance in Iran, and political Islam in the Gulf Region. In another of the volume’s shortfalls, some of the chapter authors over-use academic jargon, such as Roxane Farmanfarmaian’s “Reluctant Radicals: Hearts and Minds Between Securitisation and Radicalisation,” which defines radicalization in a difficult to comprehend way as “contestation by the Other in response to what is perceived as a discursively produced existential threat, and therefore rendered a security issue for the identity community in question and, in mirror form, for the (larger) society producing the contested hegemonic discourse. In this reading, radicalization of a community is frequently a reflexive process, constituted by, but like-wise, constituting a threat”(p. 95). Interestingly, the most clearly written chapter is Clive Jones’s “Israel’s Insurgent Citizens: Contesting the State, Demanding the Land,” with his discussion at least addressing the pathway of radicalization into non-violent extremism/violent extremism as driven by a “volatile mix of a shared sense of communal deprivation, social alienation and an extreme interpretation of Hillul Hashem [i.e., desecrating the name of God – JS] which carries the potential to visit bloody violence upon Palestinians and Israelis alike”(p. 209). The volume’s editor is Lecturer in the Department of Politics and International Studies at the University of Cambridge, in the UK.

Elisabeth Kendall and Ewan Stein (Eds.), Twenty-First Century Jihad: Law, Society and Military Action (New York, NY: I.B. Taurus, 2017), 336 pp., US $ 120.00 [Hardcover], US $ 29.00 [Paperback], ISBN: 978-1-7845-3671-8.

The contributors to this volume examine, from a multidisciplinary perspective, the concept of jihad as it has been applied throughout the ages, ranging from spiritual struggle and self-defense to mobilizing for holy war against adversaries. Following the editors’ introductory overview on “Contextualizing Twenty-First Century Jihad,” the volume is divided into three parts: Part I, “Historical Antecedents of Contemporary Jihad” (e.g., “Divine Authority and Territorial Entitlement in the Hebrew Bible and the Qur’an” and “The ‘Greater’ Jihad in Classical Islam”); Part II, “Jihad in Modern Politics and Society” (e.g., “Sectarian Violence as Jihad,” approaches to jihad by al Qaida, the Muslim Brotherhood, and others); and Part III, “Representations of Jihad in Modern Culture” (e.g., “Yemen’s Al-Qa’ida and Poetry as a Weapon of Jihad,” “Hollywood and Jihad,” and “The Appeal of Yusuf al-Qaradawi’s Interpretation of Jihad”). While this anthology lacks critical perspectives on jihad (for example, how jihad is an anti-modernization concept), it nevertheless is recommended as a useful resource for understanding how jihad is interpreted by these academic specialists. Elisabeth Kendall is Senior Research Fellow in Arabic and Islamic Studies, Oxford University, and Ewan Stein is Senior Lecturer in International Relations at the School of Social and Political Studies at the University of Edinburgh.

Zieva Dauber Konvisser, Living Beyond Terrorism: Israeli Stories of Hope and Healing (Jerusalem, Israel/New York, NY: Gefen Publishing House, 2014), 356 pp., US $ 26.95 [Hardcover], ISBN: 978-9-6522-9643-6.

This is an important account, within the Israeli context, of the psychological and emotional consequences facing those who survive terror attacks, including their impact beyond the victims and their families to wider circles in society. These issues are examined by answering questions such as: “How do Israeli survivors and families of survivors and victims live with the constant threat of terrorism and the social and economic disruptions of their lives? How do they develop coping skills and adapt to their situation? What do these changes look like and how are they manifested? What accounts for the fact that so many of them did as well as they did? Was their recovery due to certain pre-trauma personality traits and inner resources and/or to their post-trauma environment – their families, their communities, and the organizations with which they had contact?”(p. 262). These questions were posed to the study’s sample of twenty-four Israelis who had survived Palestinian terrorist attacks between 2001 and 2003, with the interviews conducted in 2004, with follow-up interviews held in 2007 and 2013. The book consists of an introductory overview of terrorism and its impact on its victims and others in society, which is followed by an account of the personal stories of the survivors. The concluding chapter presents the author’s findings, for example, that with the help of support networks, such individuals can experience post-traumatic stress as well as post-traumatic growth and resilience(p. 262). The Appendices include an explanation of the study’s research methodology, a chronology of major events in the Arab-Israeli conflict, a glossary and a selected bibliography. The author is a Fellow of the Institute for Social Innovation at Fielding Graduate University, in Santa Barbara, CA.

Malcolm Nance and Chris Sampson, Hacking ISIS: How to Destroy the Cyber Jihad (New York, NY: Skyhorse Publishing, 2017), 320 pp., US $ 27.99 [Hardcover], ISBN: 978-1-5107-1892-0.

This is a well-researched and detailed reference resource about how the Islamic State (IS/ISIS) operates in cyberspace and the measures being employed to counter and defeat what the authors term “cyber jihad.” The book’s chapters cover topics such as the history of the cyber jihad (e.g., from al Qaida in Iraq to the Islamic State of Iraq); the cyber caliphate’s “spy chain of command” (the media propagation teams and media council); the extent of its cyber battlespace (e.g., the surface web, the deep web, and the dark web); its applications such as Telegram, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and others; the software used by the global jihadists, such as end-to-end encrypted messaging apps (e.g. WhatsApp); its official and “wannabe” cyber warrior units, such as online jihadi groups, the Islamic State Hacking Division; its video media structure, video themes, and magazines; the involvement of women in the cyber jihad; and the appeal of the cyber jihad to lone wolves. The final chapters discuss the anti-ISIS’s cyber campaign (e.g., the online campaigns against ISIS by the United States, other countries, and social media corporations, such as Facebook and Twitter, and even a counter-ISIS campaign by the Anonymous hacker community); and intelligence tools that are used to counter ISIS’s websites, such as counter-narratives, the use of malware, and trolling. In the conclusion, the authors insightfully point out that “the destruction of ISIS will be a historic achievement, but the by-product will be a less centralized terror group that will rely much more on inspiring terror attacks rather than planning them and deploying cells”(p. 250). As a result, they foresee a rise in attacks by lone wolves, “who dream up a plan and then execute it without saying a word or leaving a deep digital footprint, [which] are extremely difficult to detect”(p. 250). It is such insights and an encyclopedic listing of entries on ISIS’s operations in cyberspace that make this book an indispensable reference resource for analyzing latest trends in cyber jihad and how to counter it at the governmental and private sector levels. Both authors are veteran terrorism and counterterrorism experts and executive leaders of the research institute TAPSTRI – Terror Asymmetrics Project on Strategy, Tactics, and Radical Ideologies.

Naim Qassem [Translated from the Arabic by Dalia Khalil], Hizbullah: The Story From Within (London, UK: Saqi, 2007), 464 pp., US $ 29.95 [Hardcover], US $ 16.95 [Paperback], ISBN: 978-0-8635-6699-8.

This is a sympathetic account of Hizbullah’s origins, evolution, political agenda, and future direction by one of the organization’s founding members, who had served as its Deputy Secretary-General beginning in 1991. The book’s seven chapters discuss topics such as Hizbullah’s vision and goals; its organization and public work projects; key milestones in is history; its position towards the Palestinian cause; issues such as its approach to participating in Lebanon’s state institutions and parliamentary elections, and kidnapping foreigners; regional and international relations, such as relations with Iran, Syria, other Arab regimes, the United States, and Western Europe; and the organization’s future in terms of the “persistence of resistance” against Israel, and future expectations. The Appendix includes Hizbullah’s 1992 election program. This book is recommended as an official resource on Hizbullah.

Anthony Sadler, Alek Skarlatos, Spencer Stone, with Jeffrey E. Stern, The 15:17 to Paris (New York, NY: Public Affairs, 2016), 256 pp., US $ 25.99 [Hardcover], US $ 15.99 [Paperback], ISBN: 9781610398190.

This is a dramatic account of the events in the lives of three American friends from California (two of whom were off-duty members of the U.S. Armed Forces) that led to the attack by Ayoub El-Khazzani, an ISIS-inspired jihadi terrorist, who had boarded train #9364 in Brussels, bound for Paris, on August 21, 2015, on which all four were passengers. With El-Khazzani launching his attempted shooting and knifing attack, the three Americans who were in the same train car, succeeded in overpowering him, thereby preventing a potential mass casualty incident. This book was written by Jeffrey Stern, a professional journalist, in collaboration with the three Americans. Interspersed in the account are italicized sections that discuss El-Khazzani’s background and pathway into becoming an Islamist terrorist, which on their own are a valuable resource for understanding how such Muslim individuals living in the West who feel for a variety of reasons, whether legitimate or not, that their marginalized lives can be uplifted by striking against their European adversaries on behalf of their jihadi cause. As a result of their bravery, the three Americans were awarded numerous honors and medals in France and the United States, including ceremonies in their honor in the White House and the Pentagon.

Mike Smith, Boko Haram: Inside Nigeria’s Unholy War (New York, NY: I.B. Tauris, 2015), 272 pp., US $ 29.95 [Hardcover], US $ 15.95 [Paperback], ISBN: 978-1-7845-3553-7.

This is a well-informed and detailed account of the origins, activities, and objectives of Boko Haram, which is based in Northern Nigeria but operates throughout the country. The book’s author is a foreign correspondent for the Agence France-Presse (AFP) news agency, who had served as its bureau chief in West Africa from 2010 to 2013. One of the difficulties in covering Boko Haram, the author explains, is that “Even the name Boko Haram is something of an illusion. Roughly translated to mean ‘Western education is forbidden’, it was given to the group by outsiders based on their understanding of the budding sect and its beliefs”(p. 12). To understand the group, the author explains that “It is best to think of Boko Haram as an umbrella term for the insurgency and the violence that has come with it, with an unclear number of cells or factions carry out attacks. Foot soldiers may be shared or recruited as needed, drawn from the massive population of desperate young men vulnerable to extremist ideas and perhaps attracted to the money and support the group can provide. Any kind of true organization may exist only at the very top, with limited cooperation between the various cells”(p. 13). There are limited prospects to resolve the Boko Haram insurgency, the author concludes, because “The problem is nothing less than the current state of Nigeria and the way it is being robbed daily – certainly of its riches, but more importantly, of its dignity”(p. 211).

Robin Brooke-Smith, Storm Warning: Riding the Crosswinds in the Pakistan-Afghan Borderlands (New York, NY: The Radcliffe Press/An Imprint of I.B. Tauris & Co ltd., 2013), 288 pp., US $ 55.00 [Hardcover], ISBN: 978-1-7807-6408-5.

This is a fascinating first-hand account by a former Principal of the British-established Edwardes College in Peshawar, Pakistan, of the growing influence of the Taliban and other extremist Islamist groups and the complicity of the Pakistani military and intelligence agencies in tolerating their militant activities in the strategically important Afghan-Pakistan borderlands in the period preceding 9/11 until the author was ordered to return to England in 2004. Among the book’s numerous insights about the causes of the serious political crises facing contemporary Pakistan is a prescient observation in the 1990s by Sahabzada Yaqub Khan, a retired Pakistani army general and a former foreign minister, who was one of the author’s friends, that “The Americans have left a power vacuum in Afghanistan and they are now playing with the fire. They gave huge financial and logistical support to the mujahedeen, in their fight to remove the Soviet Union from Afghanistan, but now they have walked away or at least they don’t seem to know what to do. Into the void come the Taliban and al-Qaeda. Clinton doesn’t seem to know what to do. The CIA is focusing on Bin Laden, but will not support his enemy the Northern Alliance. They are trying to use special hit squads from Pakistan to try to capture or kill Bin Laden. The emerging al-Qaeda network is extending its power and influence and its nerve centres are right under your nose in Peshawar and NWFP and just across the border in Afghanistan.”(p. 137). In another insightful comment, the author’s friend Abubakar Siddique, a Pakistan academic, observed, when they met in London in 2010, that “The once promising social change, modernity and development [in the cross-border region – JS] have all been set back decades by senseless violence.”(p. 277). Such insights and the author’s account of his own experiences in the region within the broader context increasing Islamist militancy engulfing the region, make this book invaluable for understanding the seemingly insurmountable problems facing the Afghan-Pakistan borderlands. The author is currently an England-based writer and international educational consultant.

Ali Soufan, Anatomy of Terror: From the Death of Bin Laden to the Rise of the Islamic State (New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Company, 2017), 384 pp, US $ 27.95 [Hardcover], ISBN: 978-0-3932-4117-4.

In this sweeping, comprehensive, and interesting account, the author, a former FBI Special Agent who was one of the first to investigate al Qaida prior to 9/11, focuses on key individuals responsible for the evolution and current state of al Qaida and the Islamic State. As the author explains, through tracing important figures such as Usama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri (his long-time deputy and the group’s current leader), Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Jordanian militant who established the organization that would become the Islamic State (IS), and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, its current ‘caliph’, and others, “we will trace the transformation of al-Qaeda as an organization, the simultaneous development of bin Ladenism into a far more potent and lethal force, the rise and decline of the Islamic State, and the impending resurgence of al-Qaeda”(p. xviii). There is much to commend in this account, including the author’s discussion of the Islamic State’s attempt to implement their doctrinal Management of Savagery’s three phases of establishing an Islamic Caliphate (terrorism, insurgency, and establishment of a proto-state), with the prospect for the third phase currently being rolled back by coalition adversaries, which will result in its reverting to the terrorism phase. The concluding chapter presents the author’s recommendation for countering the Islamic State, which is based on four measures: exposing this movement’s “basic hypocrisy,” utilizing effective spokesmen, such as rehabilitated former extremists in counter-narrative campaigns, “inoculating” the population that supports them with “the tools of critical thinking to resist false narratives and identify true ones”, and offering them rehabilitation programs to help them re-integrate in their societies(pp. 297-300). The author is the CEO of The Soufan Center, a consultancy on counterterrorism, in New York City.

Anne Stenersen, Al-Qaida in Afghanistan (New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2017), 300 pp., US $ 99.99 [Hardcover], US $ 29.99 [Paperback], ISBN: 978-1-1398-7150-1.

In this well-researched and detailed account, the author explores what she terms a paradox about al Qaida: “If al-Qaida was an international terrorist network bent on destroying the United States, why did it spend so many resources on training and fighting in Afghanistan?”(p. 2). The answer, the author explains, is that “al-Qaida in 1996-2001 followed a dual strategy. Although a small part of al-Qaida carried out international terrorist attacks, the larger part was involved in building a resilient organization….[which – JS] would play a crucial part in the next stage of al-Qaida’s battle, which was to oust Arab dictators in the Middle East and install Islamic regimes in their place”(p. 2). To examine this thesis, the book focuses on al Qaida’s activities and priorities in Afghanistan during the period from 1988 to 2001. The book’s chapters examine topics such as al Qaida’s establishment in 1988, its involvement in the Afghan civil war from until 1996, Usama bin Laden’s return to Afghanistan in 1996, the relationship between al Qaida and the Taliban, al Qaida’s training camps under the Taliban, and al Qaida’s international terrorist campaign. The concluding chapter discusses the evolution of al Qaida’s “dual strategy” in Afghanistan and its strategic reasoning behind its attacks against the United States on 9/11. The author concludes that 9/11 represented bin Laden’s belief that “al-Qaida was the vanguard of the Islamic revolution. The strategy said that war against the United States was an absolutely necessary step toward Islamic revolutions in the Middle East”(p. 175). With the Islamic State (IS) [which is intentionally not discussed by the author] assuming primacy in global jihadism, it appears that contrary to bin Laden’s projection, it is IS, but not al Qaida (which is led by the uncharismatic Ayman al-Zawahiri), that appears to have become the ideological and military vanguard for the global jihadi movement. The author is a Senior Research Fellow at the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI) in Norway.

Archana Upadhyay, India’s Fragile Borderlands: The Dynamics of Terrorism in North East India (New York, NY: I.B. Tauris, 2009), 288 pp., US $ 110.00 [Hardcover], ISBN: 978-1-8451-1586-9.

This is a well-researched and detailed account of the types of terrorist threats confronting the North East Indian regions and the nature of the government’s counter-terrorism campaign against these insurgencies. As described by the author, the regions of North East India constitute 7.9 percent of India’s total land space, and comprise the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim. The book is divided into four thematic parts: Part I, “Theorizing Terrorism: Attempts and Pitfalls” (e.g., definition, motivating factors, contemporary terrorism, and terrorism and insurgency); Part II, “India’s North Eastern Borderlands and the Dynamics of Terrorism” (e.g., the nature of the terrorist threats posed by tribal, ethnic, and criminal groups; an overview of the conflicts within the North Eastern regions; cross-border linkages involving Bangladesh, Burma, China, Pakistan, Thailand, Nepal and Bhutan; the country origins of the procurement of weapons into the region; and the nature of illegal migration from Bangladesh and Islamic militancy, which is a fallout of the population surge across India’s porous borders); Part III, “The Road Ahead” (e.g., the government’s response measures, attempts at peacemaking, and the author’s proposal for a “Comprehensive Regional Security Framework”); and Part IV, “Appendices” (a compilation of significant historical documents, such as peace accords and anti-terrorism legislation). Although the book’s coverage is dated, as it was published in 2009, it provides an invaluable resource for the study of current terrorism-related developments in the region. At the time the book was published, the author was an Associate Professor in the School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India.

Robert W. White, Out of the Ashes: An Oral History of the Provisional Republican Movement (Dublin, Ireland: Merrion Press/ Distributed by ISBS, Portland, OR, 2017), 500 pp., US $ 45.00 [Paperback], ISBN: 978-1-7853-7093-9.

This oral history is the product of the author’s more than thirty years’ series of interviews and discussions with Irish Republican Movement activists. It is also a substantial revision and update of his earlier Provisional Irish Republicans: An Oral and Interpretive History, which was published by Praeger in 1993. The new volume is divided into five parts. Part 1, “Introduction,” presents a brief historical overview of the Northern Ireland conflict from 1969 to 2005, and a conceptual framework that discusses the relationship between terrorism and social movements in order to demonstrate how Irish Republicanism fits the category of a social movement because it engaged in political violence against British state repression. Also discussed are the benefits of using oral history to examine “the political choices that led people into two organizations of the Irish Republican Movement, namely the Provisional IRA and ‘Provisional’ Sinn Fein,” as well as its unique feature in being “informed by accounts from activists that were collected over a thirty-year period”(p. 12). The author’s methodological procedures in collecting these oral histories are discussed in the book’s first Appendix. The first part’s second chapter presents an historical overview of resistance in the Northern Ireland province to British rule from 1170 to 1923. Part 2, the volume’s longest section, presents oral histories from 1923 to 2005, which are accompanied by the author’s running narrative. Part 3, “Revolution Over the Life Course and Life Over the Course of the Revolution,” presents personal accounts of recruitment into the movement and why some people stayed while others withdrew. Part 4, “The War is Over: The Irish Republican Movement Continues (Activism since 2005),” presents the activists’ thinking on the movement’s post-violence political struggle. Part 5, “Conclusion,” is the author’s sociological assessment of the Provisionals’ ‘life span,’ which are explained by the theories of academics such as Sidney Tarrow, “that there are phases or cycles of protest that extend across social systems”(p. 389), which are amplified by Francis Fox Piven and Richard Cloward insight that there are social processes that cause moderation in radical organizations (p. 390). Two Appendices provide the author’s methodology for conducting oral history research and a listing of the “Provisional Republican Roll of Honour” who were killed in action. This is followed by an extensive bibliography. This book is an invaluable primary resource for understanding the outlooks of the activists who joined the Provisional Irish Republican movement, which the author has masterfully compiled and narrated. The author is Professor and Chair of the Department of Sociology at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI).

Wang Yizhou, On Terrorism: Chinese Perspectives (Paths International Ltd./Social Sciences Academic Press (China)/Distributed by ISBS, Portland, OR, 2014), Translated by Zhang Yidan, 86 pp., US $ 98.00 [Hardcover], ISBN: 9781844643035.

With a title promising to present “Chinese Perspectives” on terrorism, this short book, instead, is a general and competent overview of terrorism, without any mention of anything distinctly Chinese in its contents, including any discussion of terrorism in China. This book is divided into three sections: “Definitions of Terrorism” (including the historical origins and dynamics of terrorism, the characteristics of terrorist behavior, the causes of terrorism, the ideology of terrorism, and terrorism and international relations); “Types of Contemporary Terrorism” (e.g., extremist nationalistic and religious terrorism, extremist right-wing and left-wing terrorism, and terrorism and criminality); and “The North-South Income Gap and Terrorism” (e.g., the impact of negative income distribution on the rise in international terrorism). The author is Professor and Deputy Dean, Institute of International Relations, SIS, PKU, in China [this affiliation is not listed in the book – JS].

About the Reviewer: Dr. Joshua Sinai is the Book Reviews Editor of ‘Perspectives on Terrorism’. He can be reached at: [email protected].



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Perspectives on Terrorism is  a journal of the Terrorism Research Initiative and the Center for Terrorism and Security Studies

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