Jason Burke Al-Qaeda

Discussion in 'Films, Music and All Things Artsy' started by flowers, Sep 22, 2005.

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  1. Morning folks!

    I have just started on this book and I am keen to know anyone else thoughts or reviews on it. I did try doing a search on arrse but for some reason my PC keeps blanking out, fainting and saying 'woe is me' when I try and make it do that, so if this has been posted about before I apologise.

    So if you have read it, let me know what your thoughts are, and maybe if you could suggest some other reading in a similar vein that would be great. I am generally trying to swot up on the whole Middle East thang so any help is gratefully received!! :)
  2. When you say "swot up" is this for general knowledge or academic study?
  3. I don't think it's a great book for getting to grips with the subject. Jane Corbin's book "The Base " is a much better primer on a complex subject. She has been investigating Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda for years and can legitimately call herself an expert. Mr Burke has just jumped on the bandwagon
  4. Also have a look at this site


    You have to be careful about using some resources on the net as they are ofetn unreliable, susceptible to spin doctoring and other agendas
  5. DB this is for general stuff, I am not studying it at a college or anything. I am actually trying to make myself a better understanding gal rather than just jumping into the media and reading what they choose to print.

    I might as well admit it now :roll:, but with fingers crossed that everything goes well I am hoping to be a late entry officer since I have come to the stark realisation that the city doesn't suit me work wise. RMAS next year ideally so I want to start being prepared and have a good base knowledge before then. And learning more about such stuff can't be a bad thing in it's own right anyway! :wink:

    Thanks Ozgerbobble will check out that lady!
  6. I was only wondering for the same reasons as Oz has pointed out: post Sept 11th 2001 the number of ME 'experts' who've crawled out of the woodwork is quite extraordinary. Obviously new experts do emerge each year, but I always find it helpful to cross-reference sources and use bibliographies of 'proper' academic work to help you sift the wheat from the chaff.

    As well as books, if you're near a university library, go and chat to a librarian and see if they'll issue you with a day pass so you can read their journals. Ones I'd recommend are:

    Adelphi Papers
    Foreign Affairs

    There are loads more and the librarians (& no doubt other ARRSErs) will be able to point you in the right direction.
  7. 8O 8O 8O Woah! Where on earth did you get the idea that we shared a bed!!?? (pretty sure I haven't ever been that drunk! :lol:)

    Will check out the Seven Pillars book though Deputy.

    Anymore for anymore peeps??

    Ozgerbobble - loving that isn website

    DBint - cheers hun! I am near the strand so I might ask the lovely people at Kings College if I can raid their library, ooohhh I might have to put my glasses on to look intellectual! :razz:
  8. Thanks Deputy!
  9. I've read both Burke's AQ and Corbin's the base; personally I think Burke's is a much better analysis of what AQ was a few years ago. Corbin's book just did not quite work for me; although it is useful. In parts it drew heavily (without reference) on an earlier book by Simon Reeve "The New Jackals" which is pretty good also. I especially liked Burke's AQ as a 'franchise' analogy. However, whilst all the above are useful primers, the AQ concept/ideology/mythology has moved on considerably since VERITAS/OEF in 2001.
  10. Try;

    Tariq Ali's A Clash of Fundamentalisms - sometimes very personal, but it does give an insight into the development of militant salafism/islamism through the period of 'The Jihad' (anit-Soviet in Afghanistan) via various international conduits, though, to be fair, they are probably the ones you would expect to read about.

    Wheatcroft, A. Infidels Penguin, LONDON. 2003 - traces the development of Islam throughout the centuries, with particular reference to the cultural crisis points in the historical relationship between Islam and Christianity - towards the end he concentrates on his own academic area (written propaganda) and it is probably less relevant to what you're after.

    Meddeb, A. Islam and its discontents Heinemann, LONDON. 2002 Short but relevant to what you're after.

    Hourani, A. A History of the Arab Peoples Faber &Faber, LONDON. 1991 Very detailed and heavy on the early history. Afterword by Malise Ruthven from Cambridge's Institute of Ismaili Studies- who is worth looking at in his own right (Oh, the hubris!).

    Sructon, R. The West and the Rest: Globalization and the Terrorist Threat ISI Books, September. 2002 - A rather different look at the situation - Scruton postulates his own ideas of how the world works and then attempts to explain how the two strands from his title and interconnected.

    Loads more - pm me when you've read this lot. :smile:

    Ozzer - I'm tempted to agree about the Burke, with the consideration that he has clearly spent a lot of time in personal contact with people, at a variety of levels, from governmental/diplomatic right through to individual mujj who have personal experience of the training facilities and regimes on which he concentrates. In retrospect, I found that the most interesting/revealing part of the whole thing - having read a little bit in this area - is the end-notes.
  11. Agreed. Burke obviously put a lot of work into his book, and his endnotes demonstrate an astonishing amount of primary, secondary, and first hand research. He is particularly strong on the various threads which constitute Al-Qaeda, and on the historical background to its rise. It should be read in conjunction with other works, and bear in mind that in the rapidly changing situation the book is already becoming dated.
  12. RTFQ


    As an interesting primer for wider reading:

    "Battle for God" by Karen Armstrong

    I read it pre Sept 11 and I don't believe it has been updated, but it deals with the historical roots of extremism in all three major monotheistic religions. And it's by a nun, which is kind of kinky...

    edited so as not to upset the Taoists, Hindus and Jedis
  13. Thanks for the link RTFQ c'est tres 'elpful!

    Cheers guys thats a mountain of reading ahead of me!

    If any of you have any other general (or especially pre-RMAS) book/journal/article ideas please PM me or drop a suggestion on this thread as the help has been fab so far, I really appreciate it! (virtual beers all round!)
  14. RTFQ


    What? You calling my mum a whore?
  15. :lol: :lol: :lol:

    Might be.... Wanna make something of it?? (Let's see how your core stabilty holds up now! :razz:)

    Obviously I'm not and I am sure that Mummy RTFQ is absolutely delightful, irregardless of what is written on graffiti outside her house