The New Terrorists
Number of pages
The increasing number of attacks by lone-operator terrorists presents a new and terrible danger in the twenty-first century. Even unsuccessful attacks can cause widespread disruption and damage—as did the failed Christmas Day 2009 bombing of Northwest Flight 253. In his latest book, The New Terrorists, international expert in radical and terrorist groups Mathieu Guidère explores this Al-Qaeda-inspired avatar of global terrorism.
Over the last twenty years, Al-Qaeda has demonstrated an extraordinary ability to adapt. It reacts rapidly to modernize itself and to respond to attacks and counterattacks. One of its notable modes of self-reinvention led to the rapid growth of lone-operator terrorism, through which Al-Qaeda became truly interactive, integrating the technology, the virtuality, and the connectivity of the Internet into its own network.
Al-Qaeda uses the Internet to attract isolated people and involve them in jihad movements, and then to recruit and instruct potential kamikazes and terrorists. The lone operator, once recruited, motivated, and educated in acts of destruction, can decide independently when and where to move against any military, governmental, or civilian target. This type of action has become the most widespread of terrorist threats, the most dangerous, and the most difficult to contain, since there is no trail to follow beyond the individual—no cell to destroy, no leader to capture.
The New Terrorists concentrates primarily on events that have taken place in or against the United States, which is Al-Qaeda’s main target. The arguments and explanations Guidère proposes are broadened by examples, references, and telling details. His chapters cover all aspects of the new terrorism: the turning of isolated individuals into activists; how the Internet is used to create the lone operators; psychological considerations; the changing role of women; and different solutions initiated by governments and agencies to prevent future terrorist events.
Mathieu Guidère :
A leading researcher on cognitive linguistics and its applications to defense and security, Mathieu Guidère is a professor at the University of Geneva. Dr. Guidère was a senior fellow at the Center for Advanced Defense Studies in Washington, D.C. and a professor of Arabic history, culture, and dialects at the French military academy, Saint-Cyr. He has published a number of books on Al-Qaeda, especially on Al-Qaeda activities in North Africa and the Middle East.