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Al-Qa'ida's Doctrine for Insurgency: Abd al-Aziz al-Muqrin's "A Practical Course for Guerrilla War" Paperback – December 1, 2008

4.0 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“An insightful and important book by a seasoned expert on al Qaeda’s strategy and plans to overthrow the Saudi monarchy. Dr. Cigar’s translation and analysis of al Qaeda’s insurgency doctrine is a major contribution to our understanding of al Qaeda, Saudi Arabia and the future of both. Both experts and the public will find much new information in this book.”—Bruce Riedel, senior fellow at the Saban Center in the Brookings Institution and author of The Search for Al Qaeda
(Bruce Riedel 2008-09-22)

“A timely and illuminating work. A superb study that should be essential reading for anyone interested in terrorism, insurgency, and the specific threat posed by Al-Qaida.”—Wray R. Johnson, USMC School of Advanced Warfighting, and author of Airpower in Small Wars: Fighting Insurgents and Terrorists
(Wray R. Johnson 2008-10-31)

“In the short time that he directed Al-Qaida's operations in Saudi Arabia, Abd al-Aziz al-Muqrin made a significant impact on the strategic culture of the organization and Al-Qaida's broader movement. Muqrin represented a new breed of Al-Qaida commander: one that was tactically proficient, strategically forward-looking, and ideologically fluent. Despite his reputation within Al-Qaida as a serious thinker and strategist, however, most of Muqrin's work has gone unread in the West. Norman Cigar's meticulous translation and rigorous analysis of Muqrin's guerrilla strategy offers the warfighter, the intelligence analyst, and the first responder an unparalleled look into the thinking of this critical Al-Qaida commander.”—Jarret Brachman, Ph.D., fellow, Combating Terrorism Center at West Point
(Jarret Brachman 2008-10-31)

“A real delight on many levels. . . . It represents exactly the kinds of materials needed to educate America’s military leaders. . . . [The author] has done a marvelous job highlighting the writings of the late al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula leader Abdul Aziz al-Muqrin. . . . This slim volume is a required read for anyone seriously interested in al-Qaida tactics and strategy."—Naval Intelligence Professionals
(Naval Intelligence Professionals 2009-09-08)

“Norman Cigar has provided estimable assistance to analysts, officials, and scholars.”—Survival
(Survival 2009-12-07)

“Norman Cigar provides a timely and relevant translation and analysis of an important al-Qaeda doctrinal work. [This] analysis greatly benefits from his extensive use of original radical Islamist sources, which include not only a wide variety of al-Muqrin’s writings, but also key related works of other radical Sunni thinkers. The book is well organized and is laid out so that the doctrinal thinking of QAP (and in a larger sense, al-Qaeda) can be clearly understood and easily related to its media operations and operational art. Cigar succeeds in enhancing insights into the war-fighting doctrine, as well as the supported ideology, of radical Islamists.”—Marine Corps University Journal
(Marine Corps University Journal 2010-08-20)

About the Author

Norman Cigar is a research fellow at the Marine Corps University (Quantico, Virginia). Before retiring, he was professor of strategic studies at the U.S. Marine Corps Command and Staff College and also taught at the Marine Corps School of Advanced Warfighting and at the National Defense Intelligence College. The author of numerous works on politics and security issues dealing with the Middle East and the Balkans, he has a strong academic background in Arabic. He has studied and traveled widely in the Middle East for the last forty years. He lives in the Washington, D.C., area.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 210 pages
  • Publisher: Potomac Books (December 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1597972533
  • ISBN-13: 978-1597972536
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.7 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,712,718 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By E. M. Van Court VINE VOICE on November 19, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Norman Cigar's "Al-Qa'ida's Doctrine for Insurgency: Abd al-Aziz al-Muqrin's "A Practical Course for Guerrilla War"" is essential reading for anyone trying to understand events involving Al Qaida (AQ) in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yeman, Saudi Arabia, and elsewhere. It is presented in two sections. First, an extended introduction providing somehistorical context and a detailed analysis of the translated text, and second, the translation of the actual AQ text. The only criticism of consequence is that the nature of AQ makes this translated portion of limited value in examining the entire network.

The first section, the background and analysis is an excellent job of examining Al-Muqrin's text. Each section is carefully examined and discussed. Cultural values and assumptions that are not common American ones are given special emphasis to highlight the differences in world view and thinking between AQ and the U.S. Attention is also paid to influences on AQ doctrine and where the AQ doctrine deviates from traditional European (and Asian) models of insurgency and military thought.

The second section is the actual text. This text was distributed freely in the internet, and actively sought recommendations from its audience. The theoretical material has a distinctly Arab spin to it, with both religious and cultural influences present. Al-Muqrin's taxinomy of wars (Conventional, total, unconventional, and cold) is (as much as I despise admitting it) worthy of serious academic consideration. The tactical aspects are interesting for their departures from older and Western guerrilla texts.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
What is amazing about this book is that its methods are presently being used in the world to end any form of government and replace it with laws called religious, Shariah, but in reality are laws that can be summed up as, "do what Islam says or I'll kill you." Act my way, join my "religion" or I'll kill you. It is also wise to read, Mark A. Gabriel who left Islam for Christianity the name of his book is "Islam And Terrorism: What the Quran really teaches about Christianity, violence and the goals of the Islamic jihad."
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is not your usual book on insurgency. Firstly, it has two authors, one of whom is dead, the other much alive. The one who is dead is the man named on the cover. He was the principal AlQa'ida operative in Saudi Arabia until his death at the hands of Saudi security forces. What makes his book fascinating is the detailed look at insurgency and how it should be applied to the Middle Eastern situation. The threads of what was originally a manual are drawn from countless writers on military strategy, especially insurgency: Mao, Sun Tzu, Clausewitz etc.

The second author is Norman Cigar who translated the work and provides an analysis. Cigar is one of the leading Al-Qa'ida analysts in the West and this analysis is important as it shows that Al-Qa'ida is moving towards a tactically proficient organisation with clear goals and strategy to achieve those goals. It is not an easy read and it would have been better if Cigar's analyses had been placed after al-Muqrin's work but despite that it is worth reading to get an idea of just how difficult it will be to defeat Al-Qa'ida in the long term.
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