The Rise of Militant Islam: An Insider's View of the Failure to Curb Global Jihad, Anthony Tucker-Jones

The Rise of Militant Islam: An Insider's View of the Failure to Curb Global Jihad, Anthony Tucker-Jones

Despite the rather sensationalist cover this is a highly detailed and thought provoking book which chronicles the Western powers campaigns against the threat of  militant Islam. This is a very detailed and well written book which does not demonize or idolize the Islamic terrorist and is not slow to criticize Western policy which (as the book illustrates) so often made the problem far worse and just helped unintentionally spread extremism and violence to other states. The books 22 chapters cover a wide range of countries not just Afghanistan and the Middle East with details of conflicts in Somalia, Chechnya, Kosovo, Egypt, Sudan, Yemen, Iraqi, Algeria, and Syria.

The detail and international interconnections are complex and at times hard to follow but the book does a good job of illustrating how action in one state ripples out to affect others. It also shows how the war against terror has become like to trying to hit a moving target as the terrorists relocate as one state no longer becomes safe.  Chapters on Bosnia and Syria help fill in the gaps and connections to Afghanistan that most people aren’t aware of and shows how those states who harboured terrorist groups and provided safe havens suddenly found themselves victims of the same terrorists and facing destabilisation from within. Some of the most interesting chapters are those that detail the evolution of the use of armed drones in the war on terror which gives a glimpse on the future of counter insurgency warfare.

Although rightly critical of the west the book does portray the leader of militant Islam as little better in its organisation and dispels some of the myths of  organised and courageous guerrilla fighters and more of an organisation constantly on the run and slowly being eroded. It puts forward the idea that although the war on terror is far from over, it is slowly being won by West although often more by luck than judgement and sheer determination by the West. It is on this cynical but strangely hopeful note that the book ends. It suggests the war of terror will not but won by a bang , but go out with a whimper, slowly burning itself out over the next decade.

Author: Anthony Tucker-Jones
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 256
Publisher: Pen & Swordd
Year: 2010

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