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Chechen Jihad: Al Qaeda's Training Ground and the Next Wave of Terror Hardcover – December 26, 2007

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--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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About the Author

Yossef Bodansky, author of The Secret History of the Iraq War and the number one New York Times bestseller Bin Laden: The Man Who Declared War on America, was the director of the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare for sixteen years (1988–2004). He is also the longtime director of research at the International Strategic Studies Association. The author of ten books, he has written frequently for numerous periodicals, including Global Affairs, Jane's Defence Weekly, Defense and Foreign Affairs: Strategic Policy, and BusinessWeek. A member of the Prague Society for International Cooperation, he is a former senior consultant for the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Department of State. Bodansky was also a visiting scholar in the Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies. He divides his time between the Middle East and the Washington, D.C., area.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; 1 edition (December 26, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060841702
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060841706
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #855,007 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By T. Quiggin on April 29, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Like most of Bodansky's work, this is simply a product of his imagination filled in by knowledge gained through media reporting. Here is an informative view of the book by the Naval Institute Press:


The importance to the global jihad of the Chechen wars that have roiled the Caucasus region for more than fifteen years is something Western commentators on terrorism persistently underestimate. For most Western observers, the battle for Chechnya has more to do with tribalcum- national conflicts and human rights abuses than fighting against the forces of armed radical Islam. Russian claims that it, too, is waging its own "war on terror" (a view that held currency in the United States only briefly after 9/11) now fall on deaf ears. For most people outside the former Soviet Union, the arduous Russian struggle against Chechen mujahideen has evaporated from the headlines and amounts to a forgotten war.

This is unfortunate for many reasons, not least that al-Qa`ida considers the jihad in the Caucasus to be a major front in its global campaign. The first Chechen war (1994 to 1996) was a humiliating debacle for Moscow that resulted in the establishment of a Chechen pseudostate, which soon fell under the influence of Islamic radicalism.
Al-Qa`ida believed this to be a clear win for its cause. The second Chechen war, which began in 1999 and coincided with the rise of Vladimir Putin, presents a much different picture. For all intents and purposes,
Russia has won--Moscow has successfully reestablished its authority over most of the breakaway region. For al-Qa`ida, by the same token, Chechnya today is a much less promising venue than it was a decade ago.

The continuing neglect of Chechnya in the "terrorism studies" canon is, therefore, a problem.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Dave Foley on April 19, 2013
Format: Paperback
As we unfortunately now know, this book is correct. The Boston Marathon bombing has been carried out by two Chechen brothers, who came to America with the intent on killing Americans. This book describes the why and how, and the information we should have been aware of prior to this past Monday.
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I appreciate what Yossef Bodansky is trying to do in charting the conflict between Russia and Chechnya from over two hundred years ago, to the drive for independence during the free for all that developed when the Soviet Union collapsed, the first nationalist driven war between Russia and Chechnya in the 1990s, and then the Islamic exploitation of the conflict that occurred from 2000 to present. His main point is ultimately that Al Qaeda will seek to use regional conflicts to train and prepare fighters for attacks against Western interests globally. The execution leaves something to be desired.

There is a ton of information in this book largely without analysis. One may come out of the reading experience having been informed on Chechnya or drowning in a sea of dates and events, wishing they had never picked the thing up. Further, in points it reads like we should be terrified of every regional conflict falling into the hands of Al Qaeda. We shouldn’t automatically tie a struggle in one part of the world in with our own, that’s a very dangerous strategy.

A well researched book, but be mindful of the attempt to connect everything together.
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20 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Sasha Valoir on December 27, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Yossef Bodansky's encyclopedic "Secret History of the Iraq War" drew criticism for having no footnotes. Turns out that persons employed in a certain critical US security organization have to sign an employment contract agreeing not to publish any book with a footnote unless the manuscript is subject to serious editing, at least, by appointed officials. Fortunately, the organization is not the boring, error-filled CIA; it seems to be a quieter one that actually knows something. And so, we can see with years of hindsight, did the author.

Now this mysterious, consummately expert writer has published "Chechen Jihad," another comprehensive work. This one is on a small, combative, fearsome group that, under bombardment, dispossession, slaughter, and unceasing attack by Moscow for its intention to secede from Russia, has thrown its considerable talent and bellicosity in with the global jihad. While sullen, hormonal, anomie-laden Saudi and Pakistani rich boys may pull off ghastly stunts, the really scary guys in the game today are the Chechens.

Thank heaven for Bodansky. Always ahead of other analysts, sometimes by years, and always lavish in laying out information that almost without exception has proven accurate over time, Yossef Bodansky is a secret luminary of open-source genius.

In to the heart of the book, we see a thorough explanation of how Russia has poured men and vast monies into an inch-by-inch fight for territory and, in throwing in billions of petro-rubles for physical development, a fight toward a moderately peaceful society. A central premise is that outsiders can favorably influence a tribal society only by working respectfully through the existing structure of tribal elders and traditions.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dannyboy on April 21, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
I predict this book will become very sought after by serious researchers and historians.
Bodansky's credentials are validated by other, earlier works like "Target The West",
published in 1993. Then he meticulously chronicled even early practicing by Iranian suicide pilots with jet passenger and transport jets in the mid 1980s, including 727s and 747s with the goal of crashing them into targets. (pages 14 - 15)
These works do not read like novels, are not meant to be entertaining. The mind - numbing detail on the formation of seemingly endless radical islamist groups, alliances, international conferences for sabotage, assassination, infiltration training and terror offensives are in the encyclopedic category. The detailed references with dates and sources are included in a 38 page "Notes" section at the conclusion of the book.
In "Chechen Jihad" published in 2008, we again see Bodanski's correctly serious, accurate warnings and research about what has become, with the (April, 2013) Boston Marathon bombing, another must-read. It is for those who wonder how this distant and little-known part of the former USSR could come to have such deadly impact for Americans. Like Claire Sterling's book "The Terror Network" (fourth edition 1984) these books taken together and studied leave us with no excuses not to take heed; and for journalists, reporters and analysts not to step up and arm yourselves with the serious background knowledge you really need to have.
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