Thursday, November 8, 2012

Ten key books on Muslim extremism

Jason Burke is the south Asia correspondent of the Guardian and the Observer newspapers. His books include The 9/11 Wars and Al-Qaeda: The True Story of Radical Islam. Lee Konstantinou called Burke’s Al-Qaeda" a really eye-opening look at how the terrorist organization was born and how it really operates."

Burke named a top ten list of books on militant Islamism for the Guardian, including:
Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden by Stephen Coll

There are many great things about this fine investigative history, but the way Coll nails the idea that the US created Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida is one of the most valuable. As Coll explains, and my own research has confirmed, US aid in the 1980s went via the Pakistanis to Afghan groups, not Arab extremists. Bin Laden clearly had no need of US dollars. That al-Qaida was a Frankenstein the CIA created makes for a neat morality tale, but it just isn't true.
Read about the other titles on the list.

See Burke's five top books on Islamic militancy.

--Marshal Zeringue