Road Warriors: Foreign Fighters in the Armies of Jihad
Daniel Byman (Author)
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DescriptionEver since the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, fighters from abroad have journeyed in ever-greater numbers to conflict zones in the Muslim world to defend Islam from-in their view-infidels and apostates. The phenomenon recently reached its apogee in Syria, where the foreign fighter population quickly became larger and more diverse than in any previous conflict. In Road Warriors, Daniel Byman provides a sweeping history of the jihadist foreign fighter movement. He begins by chronicling the movement's birth in Afghanistan, its growing pains in Bosnia and Chechnya, and its emergence as a major source of terrorism in the West in the 1990s, culminating in the 9/11 attacks. Since that bloody day, the foreign fighter movement has seen major ups and downs. It rode high after the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, when the ultra-violent Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) attracted thousands of foreign fighters. AQI overreached, however, and suffered a crushing defeat. Demonstrating the resilience of the movement, however, AQI reemerged anew during the Syrian civil war as the Islamic State, attracting tens of thousands of fighters from around the world and spawning the bloody 2015 attacks in Paris among hundreds of other strikes. Although casualty rates are usually high, the survivors of Afghanistan, Syria, and other fields of jihad often became skilled professional
warriors, going from one war to the next. Still others returned to their home countries, some to peaceful retirement but a deadly few to conduct terrorist attacks. Over time, both the United States and Europe have learned to adapt. Before 9/11, volunteers went to and fro to Afghanistan and other hotspots with little interference. Today, the United States and its allies have developed a global program to identify, arrest, and kill foreign fighters. Much remains to be done, however-jihadist ideas and networks are by now deeply embedded, even as groups such as Al Qaeda and the Islamic State rise and fall. And as Byman makes abundantly clear, the problem is not likely to go away any time soon.
Oxford University Press, USA
June 04, 2019
6.2 X 1.2 X 9.3 inches | 1.6 pounds
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About the Author
Daniel Byman is a Professor at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service and a Senior Fellow at the Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution. He is the author of A High Price, The Five Front War, and Al Qaeda, The Islamic State, and the Global Jihadist Movement: What Everyone Needs to Know.
"Byman sits at the top of everybody's shortlist of preeminent scholar/teachers on terrorism and counterterrorism. He has produced a book that will prove every bit as valuable to senior policymakers and practitioners as it will be to generations of scholars and students. Road Warriors is carefully researched and documented and yet it still reads like a first-rate novel as it traces the intellectual and physical journey traveled by this latest generation of jihadist fighters." -- Nicholas J. Rasmussen, Former Director of the National Counterterrorism Center
"Foreign fighters from Osama bin Laden to the ISIS 'Beatles' are force multipliers who have contributed to making jihadist conflicts more ideological and more violent. In this major work of synthesis, Byman elucidates a myriad of sources to create the best account we have of the foreign fighter phenomenon over the past half century." -- Peter Bergen, author of United States of Jihad: Investigating America's Homegrown Terrorists
"Byman's unique study of the phenomenon of foreign fighters is the prism through which he provides a thorough and fascinating story of the origins and evolution of both al Qaeda and the most important jihadist battlefields over the course of the last thirty-plus years." -- Mitchell D. Silber, Former Director of Intelligence Analysis, New York Police Department
"In nearly every conflict in which I've been involved, foreign fighters have played a significant and dangerous role. These disparate groups and individuals have grown to be a permanent fixture of modern extremist movements, and are tied irrevocably to unresolved sources of radicalization, the power of jihadi narratives, the emergence of social media, and the ease of international travel. Byman has captured all of this in one book, which I wish had been available to other commanders and me a generation ago as America first began to grapple with the horrific reality of global terrorism. He has done us all a great service, and I commend this excellent book in the strongest possible terms." -- John R. Allen, former Special Presidential Envoy to the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL; General, US Marine Corps (Ret.), and President, The Brookings Institution