Saudi Arabia, homeland of Osama bin Laden and many 9/11 hijackers, is widely considered to be the heartland of radical Islamism. For decades, the conservative and oil-rich kingdom contributed recruits, ideologues and money to jihadi groups worldwide. Yet Islamism within Saudi Arabia itself remains poorly understood. Why has Saudi Arabia produced so many militants? Has the Saudi government supported violent groups? How strong is al-Qaida's foothold in the kingdom and does it threaten the regime? Why did Bin Laden not launch a campaign there until 2003? This 2010 book presents the first ever history of Saudi jihadism based on extensive fieldwork in the kingdom and primary sources in Arabic. It offers a powerful explanation for the rise of Islamist militancy in Saudi Arabia and sheds crucial new light on the history of the global jihadist movement.
• The first ever history of al-Qaida in Saudi Arabia - helps understand the causes of 9/11 • Includes new information from fieldwork and primary sources to fill numerous holes in our understanding of radical Islamism • Contains detailed descriptions of recruitment and radicalisation in Saudi Arabia
Introduction; 1. The politics of pan-Islamism; 2. The classical jihadists; 3. Recruitment to the early jihad fronts; 4. Opportunities for global jihad; 5. Al-Qaida and Saudi Arabia; 6. Recruitment to al-Qaida; 7. Post-9/11 Saudi Arabia; 8. The Mujahidin on the Arabian Peninsula; 9. Recruitment to the QAP; 10. The failure of the jihad in Arabia; Conclusion.
Silver Medal, Arthur Ross Book Award 2011 - Winner
'The definitive work on Al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, this book makes an exceptional contribution to studies of Saudi Arabia, political Islam, and comparative political violence.' David Commins, Dickinson College
'Thomas Hegghammer presents the first substantiated study of the jihadist movement in Saudi Arabia. He brilliantly analyses a wealth of hitherto unexamined material and adds both depth and subtlety to our understanding of Islamic politics in the Kingdom. In doing so, he perceptively highlights the importance of pan-Islamism as a mobilising and radicalising factor. This informed and conceptually suggestive study deserves a very wide reading.' James Piscatori, The Australian National University
'… draws on an impressive collection of biographies and written sources from al-Qaeda websites. … This dense book is not an easy read for novices, but it is a welcome contribution to understanding the Saudi paradox and the enigma of the QAP.' The Times Higher Education Supplement
'Jihad in Saudi Arabia fills a gap in the existing literature on violent Islamism and specifically the history of Muslim activism inside the kingdom. … this book is one of the best and most comprehensive studies of Islamist activism yet written and is a must-read …' The Muslim World Book Review