Al-Qaeda still threatens the West despite the fact that thousands of its fighters have been killed or captured. Attacks continue, even as Usama bin Laden and his top lieutenants hide in distant caves. The terror network’s resiliency lies in the existence of “affiliate groups.” Numbering more than two-dozen worldwide, these groups maintain operatives from al-Qaeda’s training camps and battlefields. They are local and autonomous, but fight in the name of al-Qaeda’s global jihad.
Using never-before published material, Arabic language sources, and personal interviews from the Middle East, Schanzer examines affiliates in Egypt, Lebanon, Algeria, Yemen and Iraq. The author also shares research from a fact-finding mission in Iraq, where he interviewed al-Qaeda fighters and one of Saddam Hussein’s former intelligence officers.
Fighting affiliate groups will likely be the next challenge in the war on terror. Schanzer provides a field guide to al-Qaeda’s Middle East armies and explores what it will take to successfully combat them.