Architect of Global Jihad

Brynjar Lia:
Architect of Global Jihad: The Life of Al-Qaida Strategist Abu Mus'ab Al-Suri
(London, New York: Hurst & Oxford University Press, 2007/2012)
Despite his alleged capture in Pakistan in late 2005, Abu Mus'ab al-Suri, a Syrian originally known as Mustafa Sethmarian Nasar, remains a potent political and ideological figure. Al-Suri trained a generation of young jihadis at al-Qaeda's Afghan camps and helped establish the organisation's European networks. Having gained extensive military experience fighting in the Syrian Islamist insurgency of the early 1980s, he helped to shape al-Qaeda's global strategy in a series of writings, including his influential Global Islamic Resistance Call. In this 1,600 page book, Al-Suri outlines a broad strategy for al-Qaeda's younger generation to follow and describes practical ways to implement the theories and tactics of jihadi guerrilla warfare. In Architect of Global Jihad, Brynjar Lia translates two key chapters from Al-Suri's Global Islamic Resistance Call and exposes his methods for maximising the political impact of jihadi violence and building successful, autonomous cells for "individualised terrorism".  Al-Suri's words have inspired many of today's militants, making Lia's detailed portrait required reading for students and specialists of Islamist movements and the study of contemporary forms of terrorism.
READ an excerpt of the book here..

C. Hurst & Co (UK) and Oxford University Press (USA)
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- C. Hurst & Co (UK)
Oxford University Press (USA)
- book review in The Economist..
- book review in The Globe and Mail.. (Canada)
- book review in Dagbladet.. (Oslo)
- book review in Aftenposten (Oslo)
- book review in London Review of Books..
- book review in Ny Tid..
- book review in Neue Zürcher Zeitung..
- book review in Making Sense of Jihad..
- book review in The American Interest, May-June 2008 
- book review in The New York Review of Books.. May 29, 2008
- book review in The New York Review of Books.. June 12, 2008
- interview about the book on ABC Radio National.. April 23, 2008
- book review in The Washington Independent.. June 30, 2008
- book review in The Telegraph (Calcutta), 25 July 2008
- book review in The Survival.. December 2008 
- book review in Political Studies Review, 2009 - 1
- book review in The Journal of Military History, 72, 4 (2008): 1338
- book review in Terrorism and Political Violence, 20:3, 441 — 442 
- book review in Terrorism and Political Violence, 21:3, 532 — 537 
- book review in Politique Étrangère, 4 (2008): 912-916.
- book review in Greek Review of Middle Eastern Affairs,13, 2008:  23-26.
- book review in Security Management Magazine, Nov 2008
- book review in Contemporary Security Policy, 29, 3, Dec 2008
- book review in Jihadi Recollections No.2 (May 2009): 31-34.
- book review by Professor Madawi Al Rasheed  3 March 2009
- book review in Critical Studies on Terrorism, 2:1 (April 2009): 121-124.
Book event
Jean-Marc Flükiger, "Abu Musab Al-Suri, architecte du jihad global - Entretien avec Brynjar Lia",, 25 juillet 2008
Excerpts from book reviews:
“Contributes significantly to understanding Laden and Al Qaeda”  — Michael Scheuer, Osama Bin Laden p.191.
"A welcome addition to a crowded field of books on Islamist extremism." — The Economist, (Nov 2007). 
"A brilliant, well-researched work." — The Journal of Military History, (Oct 2008).
"A fascinating study." — New York Review of Books, May 2008.
"A genuinely important and path-breaking book."  —  The Globe and Mail (Canada)
"A groundbreaking study" — Suroosh Irfani, Daily Times (Pakistan)
"Two of the books under review are so illuminating about this twilight period in the 1990s that I even wonder if September 11 could have been averted if they had been published a decade earlier. One is Omar Nasiri's Inside the Jihad, a first-person account by a Moroccan-born spy who infiltrated Islamist groups on behalf of European intelligence organizations in the 1990s; the other is Brynjar Lia's Architect of Global Jihad, a Norwegian scholar's account of a top al-Qaeda strategist named Abu Mus'ab al-Suri,.."
New York Review of Books, 55 (10) (June 2008), book review by Ahmed Rashid.

"Despite the ubiquitous disputes over jihadism, one can count only a few Western Islamic scholars and Arabists, who explore this phenomenon fundamentally using primary sources. One exception is the research group lead by Brynjar Lia at the Norwegian military think-tank FFI, which is a leading research centre in Europe on this topic, and which in particular studies jihadi strategists and their literature. Lia's monography on the Syrian [al-Qaida strategist] Mustafa Setmariam Nasar alias Abu Musab al-Suri is a prime example of seminal scientific research which utilises both jihadist primary sources as well as court documents. Even if the title suggests otherwise, this book is by no means just a biography, which reappraises Suri’s activities and networks between 1980 and 2005 in the Middle East, Western Europe and Afghanistan. Rather, it offers a rare glimpse into the evolution of jihadism, its amazing heterogeneity and its transformation."
Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 14. März 2008, book review by D. Slavicek.

"It is hard to overstate the impressive level of detail achieved by Lia in composing a biography of a man necessarily secretive in his whereabouts and activities for the more interesting segments of his life. Drawing on interviews with those relatively few individuals connected to al-Suri yet accessible to a researcher, as well as on news reports and on al-Suri’s own writings and statements, Lia has compiled a remarkably coherent and reliable chronicle of al-Suri’s life and times, whereabouts and activities."
Critical Studies on Terrorism Journal, 2 (1) (April 2009), book review by J.Geltzer.

"A thoroughly-researched investigation into the life of al-Suri and a critical assessment of his activities in the cause of global jihad. It is wellwritten and very readable ... " 
Terrorism and Political Violence Journal, 20 (3) (July 2008), book review by H. Jones 
".. Lia has drawn upon an impressive amount of source material to write what will probably be the standard biography of al-Suri and his role in international jihadism ... " 
Terrorism and Political Violence Journal, 21 (3) (July 2009) book review by J. C. Zimmermann.
".. extremely impressive .. It meets any and all reasonable criteria for academic rigour.."
—  Contemporary Security Policy, 29 (3) (November 2008), book review by Jack Kalpakian.
""An exceptional book ..."
Greek Review of Middle Eastern Affairs, 13 (November 2008), book review by Marina Eleftheriadou.
"All in all, this book is a must read for anyone interested in how the strategists of al-Qaa’idah think today ..."
The Ignored Puzzle Pieces of Knowledge-Blog (a pro-jihadi website), April 2009
"In these series of papers, we intend to do a chapter-by-chapter summary and analysis of this important book for the purpose of exploring not only al-Suri’s life and the importance of his role today and in the future, but the obstacles for future jihadi military theoreticians in wake of America’s Counterinsurgency strategies...."
Jihad Recollections, No.2 (May 2009), book review by Qaq'aa bin Atta'.
"Lia combines solid academic training in language and research methodology with policy oriented inclinations to construct a thorough and detailed biography of this figure ..."                      
Professor Madawi Al Rasheed's blog, Oxford University.
"a truly remarkable intellectual biography of al-Suri"
— Mark Stout, On War and Words
Praise for the book:
"Lia's study is a groundbreaking analysis of the militant trajectory of one of the most important - albeit little known - jihadist ideologues of the post 9/11 era. It provides essential reading for any one eager to penetrate in-depth the intellectual environment and logic of radical Islamist terrorist doctrine, thanks to Lia's remarkable mastery of Arabic and Islamic culture. The book is also a testimony to the quality of the Norwegian school of contemporary Islamic studies, one of the best in the world today."
Professor Gilles Kepel, Chair of Middle Eastern Studies, Sciences-Po, Paris

"Architect of Global Jihad is a compelling and meticulously researched biography of one of the most influential strategists and thinkers in Islamist circles. Abu Musab al Suri may not be a household name in the West, but his importance as a theorist, organizer and ideologue is difficult to overstate. For those seeking to understand Al Qaida and its affiliates, author Brynjar Lia's work is critical reading and highly illuminating." 
Craig Whitlock, Berlin Bureau Chief, Washington Post

"Brynjar Lia has written an impressively authoritative biography of one of contemporary jihad's most important and influential thinkers. In Architect of Global Jihad, Lia charts the rise and consequences of Abu Mus'ab al-Suri's prominence in al-Qaeda and how his world view continues to shape and define the movement's strategy and tactics. This work is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand al-Qaeda's violent struggle and its likely future trajectory." 
Professor Bruce Hoffman, Georgetown University and Senior Fellow, Combating Terrorism Center, US Military Academy

"Brynjar Lia's book is an innovative, well-sourced, and thorough account of the life and work of Abu Mus'ab al-Suri. Lia's book digs behind the myths and public speculation around al-Suri and gives a comprehensive picture of the man and his works. It is crucial to an understanding of international jihadi ideology and needs to be widely studied." 
Jeevan Deol, Lecturer at SOAS, University of London
"An excellent window into not only Setmariam, but also the leadership of this terrorist movement ... "
Marc Sageman, Author of Understanding Terror Networks (2004)
“The best works [on bin Laden and Al Qaeda] are by Peter Bergen, Abdel Bari Atwan, Steve Coll, and Brynjar Lia".
— Michael Scheuer, Osama Bin Laden p.18)
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