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Jihad in Saudi Arabia: Violence and Pan-Islamism since 1979 (Cambridge Middle East Studies) Paperback – May 17, 2010
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"The definitive work on Al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, this book makes an exceptional contribution to studies of Saudi Arabia, political Islam, and comparative political violence."
David Commins, Dickinson College
"Thomas Hegghammer presents the first substantiated study of the jihadist movement in Saudi Arabia. He brilliantly analyses a wealth of hitherto unexamined material and adds both depth and subtlety to our understanding of Islamic politics in the Kingdom. In doing so, he perceptively highlights the importance of pan-Islamism as a mobilizing and radicalizing factor. This informed and conceptually suggestive study deserves a very wide reading."
James Piscatori, The Australian National University
Top Customer Reviews
The book divides the time from 1979 into three periods. The first period ends in the mid-1990s and covers the rise of what Hegghammer calls "classical jihadism", that is the type of jihad conducted in Afghanistan against the Soviet Union, in defense of muslim territories. Other examples are Checnya and Bosnia. The second period lasts from the mid-1990s until 9/11 2001, and covers the rise of al-Qaida and global jihadism, a much more controversial doctrine than classical jihadism. The third period covers al-Qaidas operations in Saudi Arabia, after they were ousted from Afghanistan. For each period Hegghammer has a chapter on the political environment, a chapter on the leaders and the organisations (e.g. al-Qaida), and a chapter on the jihadist recruits themselves.
To me, the most interesting parts of the book were the ones that covered the rise of jihadism. This gives rise to some general lessons, and also to some thoughts on how to win the war on terror. Hegghammer argues convincingly that doing something about symbols of muslim suffering is more important than political reform at home, at least in dealing with al-Qaida. Of course, this may not be the case with all islamists, and he makes some interesting comparisons between Egyptian and Saudi Arabian islamists.
For someone more interested in Saudi Arabia itself (than me), the parts covering al-Qaidas operations in Saudi Arabia may be just as interesting, and rest assured that Hegghammer has covered this in detail.
Thank you Dr Hegghammer.
Many returned after a week, disgusted with how hard it was. Young men in Saudi Arabia do not do physical labor, but loll about all day. They do not go to the store or seek a job. Some are educated in fine schools and then retire on family money. None do labor work, (it is too hot and it is hired by men from outside the country). It is a very strange society of very wealthy people from their giant pool of oil under the desert. This money is shared by the ruler to keep the people happy and to keep his family in power. He has a group of brothers that have taken turns as rulers. It is soon to be passed to a younger generation as the current generation is growing old and there are thousands of young men heirs to the throne and there will have to be a family election to see who will rule. The Saudi oil money has been the largest contributor to the cost of the battle to convert the world and behead those who do not yield.