Al-Qa'ida's Doctrine for Insurgency: Abd al-Aziz al-Muqrin's "A Practical Course for Guerrilla War"

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9781597972536: Al-Qa'ida's Doctrine for Insurgency: Abd al-Aziz al-Muqrin's

Osama bin Laden’s words carry a great deal of weight in the West. When he speaks, or allegedly speaks, we listen. But what about the words of other key leaders in the Al-Qa'ida terrorist network? We can learn how to conduct the war on terrorism more successfully when we study their own manuals, written for their followers. But few Americans, despite their expertise in intelligence or security, know Arabic.

Fortunately Norman Cigar is fluent, and here he presents the first English translation of Abd al-Aziz al-Muqrin’s “A Practical Course for Guerrilla War.” Saudi security forces killed Al-Muqrin, Al-Qa'ida’s leader in the Arabian Peninsula, in June 2004. Published posthumously, his Arabic-language manual provides a window into Al-Qaida’s strategic thinking and into how these terrorists operate. Accompanying the text’s translation is material on al-Muqrin’s life and Cigar’s cogent and detailed analysis of the key ideas in the jihadist’s doctrine and the results of Al-Qa'ida’s insurgency efforts on the Arabian Peninsula.

This important work provides a primary source for students in the professional military education system who want to read a variety of military thinkers and develop insights into all warfighting philosophies, especially those emanating from non-Western sources. Academics, think tank analysts, and government officials in the United States and abroad will also find the work relevant to their own work on Al-Qa'ida and insurgency theory. With a foreword by Julian Lewis, MP, the Shadow Defence Minister for Great Britain.

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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.

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)

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