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Global Alert

The Rationality of Modern Islamist Terrorism and the Challenge to the Liberal Democratic World...

Boaz Ganor



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Columbia University Press
15 May 2015
Islamic studies; Politics & government; Religious & theocratic ideologies; International relations; Terrorism, armed struggle
Many associate terrorism with irrational behavior and believe only lunatics could perpetuate such horrific acts. Global Alert debunks this myth by anatomizing the rationale behind modern terrorism. It draws a distinct picture of its root and instrumental causes and plots the different stages of a terrorist attack, from indoctrination and recruitment to planning, preparation, and launch.

Global Alert also exposes the measured exploitation of democratic institutions by terrorists to further their goals. Despite its strong capabilities and extensive resources, the modern liberal-democratic state is nevertheless subject to the rules of war, which partially restrict the state's ability to operate and maneuver. Boaz Ganor shows how terrorist organizations exploit these values to paralyze or neutralize the states they oppose. In outlining this new hybrid terrorist organization and its activity in both the military?terrorist arena and the political?welfare arena, Ganor advances an international doctrine for governing military operations between state and nonstate actors as part of a new type of armed conflict termed multidimensional warfare.
By:   Boaz Ganor
Imprint:   Columbia University Press
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 229mm,  Width: 152mm,  Spine: 25mm
Weight:   454g
ISBN:   9780231172127
ISBN 10:   0231172125
Series:   Columbia Studies in Terrorism and Irregular Warfare
Pages:   240
Publication Date:   15 May 2015
Audience:   Professional and scholarly ,  Professional and scholarly ,  Undergraduate ,  Further / Higher Education
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active
AcknowledgmentsIntroduction1. Introduction to Multidimensional Warfare: Defining Terrorism, Redefining War2. The Challenges and Dilemmas Faced by Democracies Coping with Modern Islamist Terrorism3. The Proportionality Dilemma in Countering Terrorism4. State Involvement in Terrorism5. The Hybrid Terrorist Organization6. Is Liberal Democracy the Solution to Terrorism-or Is It Part of the Problem?7. The Rationale of Modern Islamist Terrorism8. The Practical Aspects of an Islamist Terrorist Organization's Rationale9. Understanding the Rationale Behind Different Types of Terrorist Attack10. The Rationale of the Modern Islamist Terrorist Organization: Hamas as a Case Study11. ConclusionNotesSelected BibliographyIndex

Boaz Ganor is the founder and executive director of the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT), Ronald Lauder Chair for Counter-Terrorism, and dean of the Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy, and Strategy at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC), Herzliya.

Reviews for Global Alert: The Rationality of Modern Islamist Terrorism and the Challenge to the Liberal Democratic World

A provocative book that will generate discussion. -- Erica Chenoweth, Josef Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver In Global Alert, Boaz Ganor addresses the fundamental dilemmas that confront the liberal democratic state in combating contemporary terrorist groups. Asymmetric warfare implies an unequal contest, with the state clearly having a material advantage over its terrorist adversaries, but rules based upon international law, democratic norms, ethics, values, and even how domestic and foreign audiences might perceive events, all constrain the state's application of power. Ganor makes the point that terrorism is not mindless violence, although earlier generations of terrorists seldom thought beyond the barrels of their guns. At best, they were tacticians, not strategists. While bloody-minded thugs and suicidal fanatics still fill the ranks, today's terrorist leaders think strategically. They have benefitted from decades of experience, observing their predecessors, enabling them to create new kinds of organizations and formulate strategies that exploit the disadvantages of the democratic state.Intellectually, states have not kept up. Official counter-terrorist doctrines are mired in old debates about the need to remove root causes, win hearts and minds, or shed self-imposed constraints and become more ruthless. Radical rethinking is in order. Global Alert starts us in a new direction. -- Mr. Brian Jenkins, Senior Advisor to the President, RAND Corporation When it comes to outstanding informed, analytical and policy-oriented scholarship on counterterrorism in the context of open societies, the work of professor Boaz Ganor is plainly and simply inescapable for academics, politicians, security pratitioners and concerned citizens. -- Fernando Reinares, Professor of Politics and Security Studies at Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, and Senior Analyst on International Terrorism at Elcano Royal Institute, Madrid It is difficult to explain to a person who is used to 21st century liberal-democratic Western values the rationale derived from the desert-nomadic society of the 7th century AD, out of which grew a new religion; a religion that became, in part, extremist and radical over the years in its aim to impose Islam on the world by force, its rejection of coexistence and its sanctification of suicide. In his book, Dr. Boaz Ganor, who has dealt with the phenomenon of Islamic terrorism for over 20 years and is rightly considered an international authority on the subject, deals with the fundamental issues of radical Islam, clarifies them and translates them for the Western conceptual world of the 21st century. Dr. Ganor analyzes the asymmetry between Fundamentalist Islamist society and Western society, between sovereign states and non-state actors, and between opposing normative systems and a society with self-imposed moral restrictions in terms of what is permitted and prohibited, which opposes a society wherein the end justifies the means. There is no doubt that this book will serve as a significant contribution to a better understanding of the conflict that will continue to accompany human society for many years to come -- Shabtai Shavit, Former Director of the Mossad In Global Alert, Dr. Boaz Ganor, a true expert in the field of terrorism and counter-terrorism, enlightens readers of the Israeli-Palestinian reality, which he understands flawlessly. Dr. Ganor presents a new realist, global, and enlightened vision of modern terrorism. He discusses hybrid terrorist organizations, such as Hamas and Hezbollah, as well as addresses the decentralized Global Jihadist structure post-Osama bin Laden. Dr. Ganor engages the reader through his new approaches towards this complex new phenomenon, which is often misunderstood and erroneously examined through a prism full of Western misperceptions of terrorist motivations and their networks. In addition, Dr. Ganor emphasizes the need to create a proactive counter-terrorism policy, while simultaneously protecting fundamental democratic and liberal values, which terrorist organizations continuously try to manipulate and destroy. This book is a must read for researchers, academics, practioners, and decision-makers who will find a comprehensive strategic doctrine and operational approach to counter this plague of modern times. -- Judge Jean-Louis Bruguiere, Former Vice-president of the Paris Court of Serious Claims

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