The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001
Author: Steve Coll
Category: Political Science
Provides a comprehensive overview of the CIA's and other covert agencies' operations in Afghanistan, from the Soviet invasion in 1979 through the summer of 2001, detailing the rise of the Taliban and bin Laden, the secret efforts of the CIA to capture or kill bin Laden since 1998, and their failure to stop bin Laden, al Qaeda, and the events of September 11th.
From the managing editor of the Washington Post, a news-breaking account of the CIA's involvement in the covert wars in Afghanistan that fueled Islamic militancy and gave rise to bin Laden's al Qaeda. For nearly the past quarter century, while most Americans were unaware, Afghanistan has been the playing field for intense covert operations by U.S. and foreign intelligence agencies-invisible wars which sowed the seeds of the September 11 attacks and which provide its context. From the Soviet invasion in 1979 through the summer of 2001, the CIA, KGB, Pakistan's ISI, and Saudi Arabia's General Intelligence Department all operated directly and secretly in Afghanistan. They primed Afghan factions with cash and weapons, secretly trained guerrilla forces, funded propaganda, and manipulated politics. In the midst of these struggles bin Laden conceived and then built his global organization. Comprehensively and for the first time, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Steve Coll tells the secret history of the CIA's role in Afghanistan, from its covert program against Soviet troops from 1979 to 1989, to the rise of the Taliban and the emergence of bin Laden, to the secret efforts by CIA officers and their agents to capture or kill bin Laden in Afghanistan after 1998. Based on extensive firsthand accounts, Ghost Warsok is the inside story that goes well beyond anything previously published on U.S. involvement in Afghanistan. It chronicles the roles of midlevel CIA officers, their Afghan allies, and top spy masters such as Bill Casey, Saudi Arabia's Prince Turki al Faisal, and George Tenet. And it describes heated debates within the American government and the often poisonous, mistrustful relations between the CIA and foreign intelligence agencies. Ghost Wars answers the questions so many have asked since the horrors of September 11: To what extent did America's best intelligence analysts grasp the rising threat of Islamist radicalism? Who tried to stop bin Laden and why did they fail? Amazon.com Review Steve Coll's Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001 offers revealing details of the CIA's involvement in the evolution of the Taliban and Al Qaeda in the years before the September 11 attacks. From the beginning, Coll shows how the CIA's on-again, off-again engagement with Afghanistan after the end of the Soviet war left officials at Langley with inadequate resources and intelligence to appreciate the emerging power of the Taliban. He also demonstrates how Afghanistan became a deadly playing field for international politics where Soviet, Pakistani, and U.S. agents armed and trained a succession of warring factions. At the same time, the book, though opinionated, is not solely a critique of the agency. Coll balances accounts of CIA failures with the success stories, like the capture of Mir Amal Kasi. Coll, managing editor for the Washington Post, covered Afghanistan from 1989 to 1992. He demonstrates unprecedented access to records of White House meetings and to formerly classified material, and his command of Saudi, Pakistani, and Afghani politics is impressive. He also provides a seeming insider's perspective on personalities like George Tenet, William Casey, and anti-terrorism czar, Richard Clarke ("who seemed to wield enormous power precisely because hardly anyone knew who he was or what exactly he did for a living"). Coll manages to weave his research into a narrative that sometimes has the feel of a Tom Clancy novel yet never crosses into excess. While comprehensive, Coll's book may be hard going for those looking for a direct account of the events leading to the 9-11 attacks. The CIA's 1998 engagement with bin Laden as a target for capture begins a full two-thirds of the way into Ghost Wars, only after a lengthy march through developments during the Carter, Reagan, and early Clinton Presidencies. But this is not a critique of Coll's efforts; just a warning that some stamina is required to keep up. Ghost Wars is a complex study of intelligence operations and an invaluable resource for those seeking a nuanced understanding of how a small band of extremists rose to inflict incalculable damage on American soil. --Patrick O'Kelley Review Ghost Wars...is a welcome antidote to the fevered partisan bickering that accompanied the release of Clarke's book. -- New York Times Book Review
Early work in conflict resolution and peace research focused on why wars broke out, why they persisted, and why peace agreements failed to endure. Later research has focused on what actions and circumstances have actually averted destructive escalations, stopped the perpetuation of destructive conduct, produced a relatively good conflict transformation, or resulted in an enduring and relatively equitable relationship among former adversaries. This later research, which began in the 1950s, recognizes that conflict is inevitable and is often waged in the name of rectifying injustice. Additionally, it argues that damages can be minimized and gains maximized for various stakeholders in waging and settling conflicts. This theory, which is known as the constructive conflict approach, looks at how conflicts can be waged and resolved so they are broadly beneficial rather than mutually destructive. In this book, Louis Kriesberg, one of the major figures in the school of constructive conflict, looks at major foreign conflict episodes in which the United States has been involved since the onset of the Cold War to analyze when American involvement in foreign conflicts has been relatively effective and beneficial and when it has not. In doing so he analyzes whether the US took constructive approaches to conflict and whether the approach yielded better consequences than more traditional coercive approaches. Realizing Peace helps readers interested in engaging or learning about foreign policy to better understand what has happened in past American involvement in foreign conflicts, to think freshly about better alternatives, and to act in support of more constructive strategies in the future.
The Unresolved Key to the Future of Pakistan and Afghanistan
Author: Abubakar Siddique
Most contemporary journalistic and scholarly accounts of the instability gripping Afghanistan and Pakistan have argued that violent Islamic extremism, including support for the Taliban and related groups, is either rooted in Pashtun history and culture, or finds willing hosts among their communities on both sides of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. Abubakar Siddique sets out to demonstrate that the failure, or even unwillingness, of both Afghanistan and Pakistan to absorb the Pashtuns into their state structures and to incorporate them into the economic and political fabric is central to these dynamics, and a critical failure of nation- and state-building in both states. In his book he argues that religious extremism is the product of these critical failures and that responsibility for the situation lies to some degree with the elites of both countries. Partly an eye-witness account and partly meticulously researched scholarship, The Pashtun Question describes a people whose destiny will shape the future of Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Gorbachev's Adaptability, Reagan's Engagement, and the End of the Cold War
Author: James Wilson
Pubpsher: Cornell University Press
Category: Political Science
In The Triumph of Improvisation, James Graham Wilson takes a long view of the end of the Cold War, from the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in December 1979 to Operation Desert Storm in January 1991. Drawing on deep archival research and recently declassified papers, Wilson argues that adaptation, improvisation, and engagement by individuals in positions of power ended the specter of a nuclear holocaust. Amid ambivalence and uncertainty, Mikhail Gorbachev, Ronald Reagan, George Shultz, and George H. W. Bush—and a host of other actors—engaged with adversaries and adapted to a rapidly changing international environment and information age in which global capitalism recovered as command economies failed. Eschewing the notion of a coherent grand strategy to end the Cold War, Wilson paints a vivid portrait of how leaders made choices; some made poor choices while others reacted prudently, imaginatively, and courageously to events they did not foresee. A book about the burdens of responsibility, the obstacles of domestic politics, and the human qualities of leadership, The Triumph of Improvisation concludes with a chapter describing how George H. W. Bush oversaw the construction of a new configuration of power after the fall of the Berlin Wall, one that resolved the fundamental components of the Cold War on Washington’s terms.
Release on 2007-01-01 | by Elena Mastors,Alyssa Deffenbaugh
Recruits and the Al-Qaida Network
Author: Elena Mastors,Alyssa Deffenbaugh
Pubpsher: Rowman & Littlefield
Category: Political Science
These motivational forces, or the "push," combine with al-Qaida's recruitment efforts, or the "pull." Through robust and proactive propaganda efforts, the al-Qaida network entices potential recruits to follow its call to armed jihad.
A hard-hitting assessment of Obama's current foreign policy and a sweeping look at the future of the Middle East The 2011 Arab Spring upended the status quo in the Middle East and poses new challenges for the United States. Here, Fawaz Gerges, one of the world's top Middle East scholars, delivers a full picture of US relations with the region. He reaches back to the post-World War II era to explain the issues that have challenged the Obama administration and examines the president's responses, from his negotiations with Israel and Palestine to his drawdown from Afghanistan and withdrawal from Iraq. Evaluating the president's engagement with the Arab Spring, his decision to order the death of Osama bin Laden, his intervention in Libya, his relations with Iran, and other key policy matters, Gerges highlights what must change in order to improve US outcomes in the region. Gerges' conclusion is sobering: the United States is near the end of its moment in the Middle East. The cynically realist policy it has employed since World War II-continued by the Obama administration--is at the root of current bitterness and mistrust, and it is time to remake American foreign policy.
How America's War on Terror Became a Global War on Tribal Islam
Author: Akbar Ahmed
Pubpsher: Brookings Institution Press
Category: Political Science
In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, the United States declared war on terrorism. More than ten years later, the results are decidedly mixed. Here world-renowned author, diplomat, and scholar Akbar Ahmed reveals an important yet largely ignored result of this war: in many nations it has exacerbated the already broken relationship between central governments and the largely rural Muslim tribal societies on the peripheries of both Muslim and non-Muslim nations. The center and the periphery are engaged in a mutually destructive civil war across the globe, a conflict that has been intensified by the war on terror. Conflicts between governments and tribal societies predate the war on terror in many regions, from South Asia to the Middle East to North Africa, pitting those in the centers of power against those who live in the outlying provinces. Akbar Ahmed's unique study demonstrates that this conflict between the center and the periphery has entered a new and dangerous stage with U.S. involvement after 9/11 and the deployment of drones, in the hunt for al Qaeda, threatening the very existence of many tribal societies. American firepower and its vast anti-terror network have turned the war on terror into a global war on tribal Islam. And too often the victims are innocent children at school, women in their homes, workers simply trying to earn a living, and worshipers in their mosques. Battered by military attacks or drone strikes one day and suicide bombers the next, the tribes bemoan, "Every day is like 9/11 for us." In The Thistle and the Drone, the third volume in Ahmed's groundbreaking trilogy examining relations between America and the Muslim world, the author draws on forty case studies representing the global span of Islam to demonstrate how the U.S. has become involved directly or indirectly in each of these societies. The study provides the social and historical context necessary to understand how both central governments and tribal societies have become embroiled in America's war. Beginning with Waziristan and expanding to societies in Central Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, and elsewhere, Ahmed offers a fresh approach to the conflicts studied and presents an unprecedented paradigm for understanding and winning the war on terror. The Thistle and the Drone was the 2013 Foreword Reviews Gold winner for Political Science.
A highly valuable resource for students of intelligence studies, strategy and security, and foreign policy, this volume provides readers with an accessible and comprehensive exploration of U.S. espionage activities that addresses both the practical and ethical implications that attend the art and science of spying. • Provides a comprehensive, up-to-date examination of all aspects of intelligence by experts in the field, from collection-and-analysis and counterintelligence to covert action and accountability • Probes into how the United States' intelligence agencies attempt to protect the nation from cyberattacks by foreign nations and terrorist groups—and documents the successes and failures • Documents the involvement of the National Security Agency (NSA) in bulk "metadata" collection of information on the telephone records and social media communications of American citizens • Examines the effects that have resulted from major leaks in the U.S. government, from Wikileaks to the NSA Snowden leaks