Sunday, June 22, 2008

Al Quaida less stronger?

Special report: Is Al Qa'ida in pieces?

It continues to mount brutally effective operations around the world, but from Saudi Arabia to the streets of east London, hardline Islamists are turning against Al-Qa'ida in unprecedented numbers. Is the global terror network self-destructing? A special report by Peter Bergen and Paul Cruickshank

Independent 22 June 2008

Within a few minutes of Noman Benotman's arrival at the Kandahar guest house, Osama bin Laden came to welcome him. The journey from Kabul had been hard – 17 hours in a Toyota pick-up truck, bumping along what passed as the main highway to southern Afghanistan. It was the summer of 2000, and Benotman, then a leader of a group trying to overthrow the Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi, had been invited by Bin Laden to a conference of jihadists from around the Arab world, the first of its kind since al-Qa'ida had moved to Afghanistan in 1996. Benotman, the scion of an aristocratic family marginalised by Qaddafi, had known Bin Laden from their days fighting the communist Afghan government in the early 1990s, a period when Benotman established himself as a leader of the militant Libyan Islamic Fighting Group.
The night of Benotman's arrival, Bin Laden threw a lavish banquet in the main hall of his compound, an unusual extravagance for the frugal al-Qa'ida leader. As Bin Laden circulated, making small talk, large dishes of rice and platters of whole roasted lamb were served to some 200 jihadists, many of whom had come from around the Middle East. "It was one big reunification," Benotman recalls. "The leaders of most of the jihadist groups in the Arab world were there and almost everybody within al-Qa'ida."

Bin Laden was trying to win over other militant groups to the global jihad he had announced against the West in 1998. Over the next five days, Bin Laden and his top aides, including Ayman al-Zawahiri, met with a dozen or so jihadist leaders. They sat on the floor in a circle with large cushions arrayed around them to discuss the future of their movement. "This was a big strategy meeting," Benotman told one of us late last year, in his first account of the meeting to a reporter. "We talked about everything, where are we going, what are the lessons of the past 20 years."
Despite the warm welcome, Benotman surprised his hosts with a bleak assessment of their prospects. "I told them that the jihadist movement had failed. That we had gone from one disaster to another, like in Algeria, because we had not mobilised the people," recalls Benotman, referring to the Algerian civil war launched by jihadists in the 1990s that left more than 100,000 dead and destroyed whatever local support the militants had once enjoyed. Benotman also told Bin Laden that the al-Qa'ida leader's decision to target the West would only sabotage attempts by groups such as Benotman's to overthrow the secular dictatorships in the Arab world. "We made a clear-cut request for him to stop his campaign against the United States because it was going to lead to nowhere," Benotman recalls, "but they laughed when I told them that America would attack the whole region if they launched another attack against it."

Benotman says that Bin Laden tried to placate him with a promise: "I have one more operation, and after that I will quit" – an apparent reference to 11 September. "I can't call this one back because that would demoralise the whole organisation," Benotman remembers Bin Laden saying.
After the attacks, Benotman, now living in London, resigned from the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, realising that the United States, in its war on terrorism, would differentiate little between al-Qa'ida and his organisation.
Benotman, however, did more than just retire. In January 2007, under a veil of secrecy, he flew to Tripoli in a private jet chartered by the Libyan government to try to persuade the imprisoned senior leadership of his former group to enter into peace negotiations with the regime. He was successful. This May, Benotman told us that the two parties could be as little as three months away from an agreement that would see the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group formally end its operations in Libya and denounce al-Qa'ida's global jihad. At that point, the group would also publicly refute recent claims by al-Qa'ida that the two organisations had joined forces.

This past November, Benotman went public with his own criticism of al-Qa'ida in an open letter to al-Zawahiri, absorbed and well received, he says, by the jihadist leaders in Tripoli. In the letter, Benotman recalled his Kandahar warnings and called on al-Qa'ida to end all operations in Arab countries and in the West. The citizens of Western countries were blameless and should not be the target of terrorist attacks, argued Benotman, his refined English accent, smart suit, trimmed beard, and easygoing demeanour making it hard to imagine that he was once on the front lines in Afghanistan.
Although Benotman's public rebuke of al-Qa'ida went unnoticed in the United States, it received wide attention in the Arabic press. In repudiating al-Qa'ida, Benotman was adding his voice to a rising tide of anger in the Islamic world toward al-Qa'ida and its affiliates, whose victims since 11 September have mostly been fellow Muslims. Significantly, he was also joining a larger group of religious scholars, former fighters, and militants who had once had great influence over al-Qa'ida's leaders, and who – alarmed by the targeting of civilians in the West, senseless killings in Muslim countries, and barbaric tactics in Iraq – have turned against the organisation, many just in the past year.

After 11 September, there was considerable fear in the West that we were headed for a clash of civilisations, with the Muslim world led by Bin Laden, who would entice masses of young Muslims into his jihadist movement. But the religious leaders and former militants who are now critiquing al-Qa'ida's terrorist campaign – both in the Middle East and in Muslim enclaves in the West – make that less likely. The potential repercussions for al-Qa'ida cannot be underestimated because, unlike most mainstream Muslim leaders, al-Qa'ida's new critics have the jihadist credentials to make their criticisms bite. "The starting point has to be that jihad is legitimate, otherwise no one will listen," says Benotman, who sees the Iraqi insurgency as a legitimate jihad. "The reaction [to my criticism of al-Qa'ida] has been beyond imagination. It has made the radicals very angry. They are very shaky about it."
Why have clerics and militants once considered allies by al-Qa'ida's leaders turned against them? To a large extent, it is because al-Qa'ida and its affiliates have increasingly adopted the doctrine of takfir, by which they claim the right to decide who is a "true" Muslim. Al-Qa'ida's Muslim critics know what results from this takfiri view: first, the radicals deem some Muslims apostates; after that, the radicals start killing them. This fatal progression happened in both Algeria and Egypt in the 1990s. It is now taking place even more dramatically in Iraq, where al-Qa'ida's suicide bombers have killed more than 10,000 Iraqis, most of them targeted simply for being Shia. Recently, al-Qa'ida in Iraq has turned its fire on Sunnis who oppose its diktats, a fact not lost on the Islamic world's Sunni majority.

Additionally, al-Qa'ida and its affiliates have killed thousands of Muslim civilians elsewhere since 11 September: hundreds of Afghans killed every year by the Taliban, dozens of Saudis killed by terrorists since 2003, scores of Jordanians massacred at a wedding at a US hotel in Amman in November 2005. Even those sympathetic to al-Qa'ida have started to notice. "Excuse me Mr Zawahiri but who is it who is killing, with Your Excellency's blessing, the innocents in Baghdad, Morocco and Algeria?" one supporter asked in an online Q&A with al-Qa'ida's deputy leader in April that was posted widely on jihadist websites. All this has created a dawning recognition among Muslims that the ideological virus that unleashed 11 September and the terrorist attacks in London and Madrid is the same virus now wreaking havoc in the Muslim world.
Two months before Benotman's letter to al-Zawahiri was publicised in the Arab press, al-Qa'ida received a blow from one of Bin Laden's erstwhile heroes, Sheikh Salman al-Oudah, a Saudi religious scholar. Around the sixth anniversary of 11 September, al-Oudah addressed al-Qa'ida's leader on MBC, a widely watched Middle East TV network: "My brother Osama, how much blood has been spilt? How many innocent people, children, elderly, and women have been killed... in the name of al-Qa'ida? Will you be happy to meet God Almighty carrying the burden of these hundreds of thousands or millions [of victims] on your back?"
What was noteworthy about al-Oudah's statement was that it was not simply a condemnation of terrorism, or even of 11 September, but that it was a personal rebuke, which clerics in the Muslim world have shied away from. In Saudi Arabia in February, one of us met with al-Oudah, who rarely speaks to Western reporters. Dressed in the long black robe fringed with gold that is worn by those accorded respect in ' Saudi society, al-Oudah recalled meeting with Bin Laden – a "simple man without scholarly religious credentials, an attractive personality who spoke well", he said – in the northern Saudi region of Qassim in 1990. Al-Oudah explained that he had criticised al-Qa'ida for years but until now had not directed it at Bin Laden himself: "Most religious scholars have directed criticism at acts of terrorism, not a particular person... I don't expect a positive effect on Bin Laden personally as a result of my statement. It's really a message to his followers."

Al-Oudah's rebuke was also significant because he is considered one of the fathers of the Sahwa, the fundamentalist awakening movement that swept through Saudi Arabia in the 1980s. His sermons against the US military presence in Saudi Arabia following Saddam Hussein's 1990 invasion of Kuwait helped turn Bin Laden against the United States. And Bin Laden told one of us in 1997 that al-Oudah's 1994 imprisonment by the Saudi regime was one of the reasons he was calling for attacks on US targets. Al-Oudah is also one of 26 Saudi clerics who, in 2004, handed down a religious ruling urging Iraqis to fight the allied occupation of their country. He is, in short, not someone al-Qa'ida can paint as an American sympathiser or a tool of the Saudi government.
Tellingly, al-Qa'ida has not responded to al-Oudah's critique, but the research organisation Political Islam Online tracked postings on six Islamist websites and the websites of Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya TV networks in the week after al-Oudah's statements; it found that more than two-thirds of respondents reacted favourably. Al-Oudah's large youth following in the Muslim world has helped his anti-al-Qa'ida message resonate. In 2006, for instance, he addressed a gathering of around 20,000 young British Muslims in London's East End. "Oudah is well known by all the youth. It's almost a celebrity culture out there... He has definitely helped to offset al-Qa'ida's rhetoric," one young imam told us.

More doubt about al-Qa'ida was planted in the Muslim world when Sayyid Imam al-Sharif, the ideological godfather of al-Qa'ida, sensationally withdrew his support in a book written last year from his prison cell in Cairo. Al-Sharif, generally known as "Dr Fadl", was an architect of the doctrine of takfir, arguing that Muslims who did not support armed jihad or who participated in elections were kuffar – unbelievers. Although Dr Fadl never explicitly called for such individuals to be killed, his takfiri treatises from 1988 and 1993 gave theological cover to jihadists targeting civilians.
Dr Fadl was also al-Zawahiri's mentor. Like his protégé, he is a skilled surgeon and moved in militant circles when he was a member of Cairo University's medical faculty in the 1970s. In 1981, when Anwar Sadat was assassinated and al-Zawahiri was jailed in connection with the plot, Dr Fadl fled to Peshawar, Pakistan, where he operated on wounded mujahideen fighting the Soviets. After al-Zawahiri's release from jail, he joined Dr Fadl in Peshawar, where they established a new branch of the "Jihad group" that would later morph into al-Qa'ida. Osama Rushdi, a former Egyptian jihadist then living in Peshawar, recalls that there was little doubt about Dr Fadl's importance: "He was like the big boss in the Mafia in Chicago." And Bin Laden also owed a deeply personal debt to Dr Fadl; in Sudan in 1993, the doctor operated on al-Qa'ida's leader after he was hurt in an assassination attempt.

So it was an unwelcome surprise for al-Qa'ida's leaders when Dr Fadl's new book, Rationalization of Jihad, was serialised in an independent Egyptian newspaper in November. The incentive for writing the book, he explained, was that "jihad... was blemished with grave sharia violations during recent years... Now there are those who kill hundreds, including women and children, Muslims and non Muslims in the name of jihad!" Dr Fadl ruled that al-Qa'ida's bombings in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and elsewhere were illegitimate and that terrorism against civilians in Western countries was wrong. He also took on al-Qa'ida's leaders directly in an interview with the newspaper Al-Hayat. "Zawahiri and his Emir Bin Laden [are] extremely immoral," he said. "I have spoken about this in order to warn the youth against them, youth who are seduced by them, and don't know them."
Dr Fadl's harsh words attracted attention throughout the Arabic-speaking world; even a majority of al-Zawahiri's own Jihad group jailed in Egyptian prisons promised to end their armed struggle. In December, al-Zawahiri released an audiotape lambasting his former mentor, accusing him of being in league with the "bloodthirsty betrayer", Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak; and, in a 200-page book titled The Exoneration, published in March, he portrayed Dr Fadl as a prisoner trying to curry favour with Egypt's security services and the author of "a desperate attempt (under American sponsorship) to confront the high tide of the jihadist awakening".

Ultimately, the ideological battle against al-Qa'ida in the West may be won here in Britain, in places such as Leyton and Walthamstow, east London, whose residents include five of the eight alleged al-Qa'ida operatives currently on trial for plotting to bring down US-bound passenger jets in 2006. It is in this country that many leaders of the jihadist movement have settled as political refugees, and the capital has long been a key barometer of future Islamist trends. There are probably more supporters of al-Qa'ida in Britain than any other Western country. Over the last half-year, we have been interviewing London-based militants who have defected from al-Qa'ida, retired mujahideen, Muslim community leaders, and members of the security services. Most say that, when al-Qa'ida's bombs went off in London in 2005, sympathy for the terrorists evaporated.

In Leyton, the local mosque is on the main road, a street of terraced houses, halal food joints, and South Asian hairdressers. Around 1,000 people attend Friday prayers there each week. Usama Hassan, an imam at the mosque, has a PhD in artificial intelligence from Imperial College in London, read theoretical physics at Cambridge, and now teaches at Middlesex University. But he also trained in a jihadist camp in Afghanistan in the 1990s and, until a few years ago, was openly sympathetic to Bin Laden. And, in another unusual twist, he is now one of the most prominent critics of al-Qa'ida. Over several cups of Earl Grey in the tea room next to the mosque, Hassan – loquacious and intelligent, every bit the university lecturer – explained how he had switched sides.
Raised in London by Pakistani parents, Hassan arrived in Cambridge in 1989 and, feeling culturally isolated, fell in with Jam'iat Ihyaa Minhaaj Al-Sunnah (Jimas), a student organisation then supportive of jihads in Palestine, Kashmir and Afghanistan. In December 1990, Hassan travelled to Afghanistan, where he briefly attended an Arab jihadist camp. He was shown how to use Kalashnikovs and M-16s and was taken to the front lines, where a shell landed near his group's position. "My feeling was, if I was killed, then brilliant, I would be a martyr," he recalls. Later, as a postgraduate student in London, Hassan played a lead role in the student Islamic Society, then a hotbed of radical activism. "At the time I was very anti-American... It was all black and white for us. I used to be impressed with Bin Laden. There was no other leadership in the Muslim world standing up for Muslims." When 11 September happened, Hassan says the view in his circle was that "al-Qa'ida had given one back to George Bush".
As al-Qa'ida continued to target civilians for attacks, Hassan began to rethink. His employment by an artificial intelligence consulting firm also integrated him back toward mainstream British life. "It was a slow process and involved a lot of soul-searching... Over time, I became convinced Bin Laden was dangerous and an extremist." The July 2005 bombings in London were the clincher. "I was devastated by the attack," he says. "My feeling was, how dare they attack my city."

Three days after the London bombings, the Leyton mosque held an emergency meeting; about 300 people attended. "We explained that these acts were evil, that they were haram [unlawful]," recalls Hassan. It was not the easiest of crowds; one youngster stormed out, shouting, 'As far as I'm concerned, 50 dead kuffar is not a problem.'"
In Friday sermons since then, Hassan has hammered home the difference between legitimate jihad and terrorism, despite a death threat from pro-al-Qa'ida militants: "I think I'm listened to by the young because I have street cred from having spent time in a [jihadist] training camp." This spring, Hassan helped launch the Quilliam Foundation, an organisation set up by former Islamist extremists to counter radicalism by making speeches to young British Muslims about how they had been duped into embracing hatred of the West.
Such counter-radicalisation efforts will help lower the pool of potential recruits for al-Qa'ida – the only way the organisation can be defeated in the long term. But the reality facing British counterterrorism officials, such as Detective Inspector Robert Lambert, the recently departed head of the Metropolitan Police's Muslim Contact Unit, is that "al-Qa'ida values dozens of recruits more than hundreds ' of supporters". In order to target the most radical extremists, the Metropolitan Police have backed the efforts of a Muslim community group, the Active Change Foundation, based around a gym in Walthamstow run by Hanif and Imtiaz Qadir, two brothers of Kashmiri descent.

Hanif Qadir, now 42, revealed to us that he himself was recruited by al-Qa'ida after the US overthrow of the Taliban in Afghanistan. Jihadist recruiters in east London, no doubt noting wealth, sought out Qadir, who had earned enough money running a car repair shop to buy a Rolls-Royce and live in some style, and recounted lurid tales of American brutality in Afghanistan. "The guy who handled me was a Syrian called Abu Sufiyan... I'm sure he was from al-Qa'ida," recalls Qadir. "He was good at telling you what you wanted to hear... he touched all my emotional buttons, like the fact I've always wanted to help others."
Qadir agreed to join. He drew up a will and, in December 2002, bought a first-class ticket to Pakistan. But, as the truck he was in crossed the dirt roads into Afghanistan, a chance occurrence changed his life: a truck carrying wounded fighters approached them from the other direction, among them a young Punjabi boy whose white robes were stained with blood. "These are evil people," another of the wounded shouted. "We came here to fight jihad, but they are just using us as cannon fodder." Qadir's truckload of wannabe jihadists made a U-turn. "That kid, he was like an angel. He kicked me back into reality," he recalls. When Qadir landed back in the UK he was so angry at having been manipulated that he wanted to find his recruiters and confront them. He never found them, but became determined to stop others like him from being recruited. In 2004, he and his brother opened the gym and community centre in Walthamstow. Soon, hundreds of young Muslims were attending.

The scale of the challenge was quickly clear. Soon after the centre opened, he got wind that pro- al-Qa'ida militants were secretly booking rooms there for their meetings. Worse, in the summer of 2006, several of those arrested in connection with the al-Qa'ida airlines plot, including alleged ringleader Abdullah Ahmed Ali, were found to have attended his gym. But, rather than shutting the radicals out, Qadir continued to allow them to meet. "Sometimes our youngsters get into debates with these people, for example on jihad, and make them look ridiculous in front of their followers," he says. Qadir believes his approach is finally starting to pay off: "The extremists are burning out: the number of radicals in Walthamstow is diminishing, not growing."
Qadir, determined to do his part to prevent all innocent loss of life, is now extending his deradicalisation drive to the rest of London. "We are going to mirror our adversaries' tactics by identifying and recruiting vulnerable youngsters," he told us last week, "but we are going to channel their desire to help their fellow Muslims in a positive direction, by involving them in local community projects, for example."

Not far down the road from Walthamstow is the Finsbury Park mosque, dominated by the notorious, hook-handed cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri from the late 1990s until it was shut down by police in 2003. Abu Hamza's followers continued to have a strong presence in the area. But in February 2005, police helped broker a deal for the mosque to re-open under the leadership of the local chapter of the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB), a Muslim Brotherhood group. The Brotherhood is the most powerful Islamist group in the Arab world, with chapters throughout Europe and North America. It has long opposed al-Qa'ida's jihad, a stance that so angered al-Zawahiri that he published a book, The Bitter Harvest, condemning the organisation in 1991.
No sooner had the moderates gained control of the mosque than they were confronted by Abu Hamza's angry followers, led by the pugnacious Atilla Ahmet, who calls himself "the number-one al-Qa'ida in Europe" and who, in October, pled guilty to providing British Muslims with terrorist training. "They brought sticks and knives with them," recalls Kamal El-Helbawy, spokesman for the new trustees at the mosque.
Undeterred, a few days later Helbawy gave the first Friday sermon, explaining that this was a new start for the mosque and stressing how important it was for Muslims to live in harmony with their neighbours. Detective Inspector Lambert, the Metropolitan Police officer who helped broker the takeover, says that, because of its social welfare work and its track record supporting the Palestinian cause, the MAB has "big street cred in the area and [has] made an impact on Abu Hamza's young followers".

Salman al-Oudah, the Saudi preacher, spoke at the re-opened mosque in 2006, as has Abdullah Anas, an Algerian former mujahideen fighter based in London who has been a critic of al-Qa'ida for years. Anas worked with Bin Laden in Pakistan during the 1980s, fought in Afghanistan for almost a decade against the communists, and married the daughter of a Palestinian cleric who is still lionised as the spiritual godfather of the jihadist movement, the most radical wing of which would morph into al-Qa'ida. Anas told us that his critiques of al-Qa'ida were not well received in 2003, but that, "in the last two or three years, there has been a change in opinion", citing the Madrid and London bombings as turning points. In 2006, Anas went public with his criticisms of al-Qa'ida in an interview with Asharq Alawsat, one of the leading newspapers in the Arab world, criticising the London subway bombings as "criminal deeds... prohibited by sharia".
In December, al-Qa'ida's campaign of violence reached new depths in the eyes of many Muslims, with a plot to launch attacks in Saudi Arabia while millions were gathered for the Hajj. Saudi security services arrested 28 al-Qa'ida militants in Mecca, Medina and Riyadh, whose targets allegedly included religious leaders critical of al-Qa'ida, among them the Saudi Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh, who responded to the plot by ruling that al-Qa'ida operatives should be punished by execution, crucifixion or exile. Plotting such attacks during the Hajj could not have been more counterproductive to al-Qa'ida's cause, says Anas, who was making the pilgrimage to Mecca himself. "People over there... were very angry. The feeling was, how was it possible for Muslims to do that? I still can't quite believe it myself. The mood was one of shock, real shock."

Is al-Qa'ida going to dissipate as a result of the criticism from its former mentors and allies? Despite the recent internal criticism, probably not in the short term. Al-Qa'ida, on the verge of defeat in 2002, has regrouped and is now able to launch significant terrorist operations in Europe. And, last summer, US intelligence agencies judged that it had "regenerated its [US] Homeland attack capability" in Pakistan's tribal areas. Since then, al-Qa'ida and the Taliban have only entrenched their position further, launching a record number of suicide attacks in Pakistan in the past year. Afghanistan, Algeria and Iraq also saw record numbers of suicide attacks in 2007 (though the group's capabilities have deteriorated in Iraq of late). Meanwhile, al-Qa'ida is still able to find recruits in the West. In November, Jonathan Evans, the head of MI5, said that record numbers of UK residents are now supportive of the group, with around 2,000 posing a "direct threat to national security and public safety".

However, encoded in the DNA of apocalyptic jihadist groups such as al-Qa'ida are the seeds of their own long-term destruction: their victims are often Muslim civilians; they don't offer a positive vision of the future (but rather the prospect of Taliban-style regimes from Morocco to Indonesia); they keep expanding their list of enemies, including any Muslim who doesn't share their precise world view; and they seem incapable of becoming politically successful because their ideology prevents them from making the real-world compromises that would allow them to engage in genuine politics.
Which means that the repudiation of al-Qa'ida's leaders by its former religious, military and political guides will help hasten the implosion of the jihadist terrorist movement. As Churchill remarked after the battle of El Alamein in 1942, which he saw as turning the tide in the Second World War, "This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."

Noman Benotman, Bin Laden's Libyan former companion-in-arms, assesses that al-Qa'ida's recent resurgence, which he says has been fuelled by the Iraq war, will not last. "There may be a wave of violence right now, but... in five years, al-Qa'ida will be more isolated than ever. No one will give a toss about them."
The scholars and fighters now criticising al-Qa'ida, in concert with mainstream Muslim leaders, have created a powerful coalition countering the organisation's ideology. According to Pew polls, support for al-Qa'ida has been dropping around the Muslim world in recent years. The numbers supporting suicide bombings in Indonesia, Lebanon and Bangladesh, for instance, have dropped by half or more in the past five years. In Saudi Arabia, only 10 per cent now have a favourable view of al-Qa'ida, according to a December poll by Terror Free Tomorrow, a Washington-based think tank. Following a wave of suicide attacks in Pakistan in the past year, support for suicide operations among Pakistanis has dropped to 9 per cent (it was 33 per cent five years ago), while favourable views of Bin Laden in the North-West Frontier Province of Pakistan, around where he is believed to be hiding, have plummeted to four per cent from 70 per cent in August 2007.

Unsurprisingly, al-Qa'ida's leaders have been thrown on the defensive. In December, Bin Laden released a tape which stressed that "the Muslim victims who fall during the operations against the infidel Crusaders... are not the intended targets". Bin Laden warned the former mujahideen now turning on al-Qa'ida that, whatever their track records as jihadists, they had now committed one of the "nullifiers of Islam", which is helping the "infidels against the Muslims".

Kamal El-Helbawy, the Muslim Brotherhood leader who helped bring in moderates at the Finsbury Park mosque in London, believes that al-Qa'ida's days may be numbered: "No government, no police force, is achieving what these [religious] scholars are achieving. To defeat terrorism, to convince the radicals... you have to persuade them that theirs is not the path to paradise."

About the authors
Peter Bergen and Paul Cruickshank are research fellows at New York University's Center on Law and Security. Peter Bergen is also a senior fellow at the New America Foundation and the author of The Osama Bin Laden I Know. This article first appeared in The New Republic magazine in the US.


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