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Seeds of Terror: An Eyewitness Account of Al-Qaeda's Newest Center of…
by Maria Ressa
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0743251334, Hardcover)While the Middle East receives much scrutiny as the home of extremist Muslim terrorists, Maria Ressa offers a closer look at Southeast Asia as a hotspot where Al-Qaeda forces and other organizations are continually growing larger and more powerful. Ressa, the CNN bureau chief in Jakarta, has been based in the region for most of her career and provides a highly unsettling inside perspective to the people and events of that region. Islamist terrorist networks are, by nature, shadowy and complex, especially to Westerners who might have difficulty understanding the cultures from which they spring, but Ressa adroitly explains the various people and factions in ways that are highly compelling and deeply disturbing. Although Osama bin Laden, Ayman Al-Zawahiri, and other Middle Eastern Al-Qaeda figures are featured here, Ressa also recalls personal interviews she conducted with Abu Bakar Ba'Asyir, the so-called "Asian Osama bin Laden," who denies any connection with terrorist organizations and acts despite voluminous evidence to the contrary. And personal experiences such as that are what make Seeds of Terror such an engrossing work of non-fiction. Tensions are consistently high in the region, especially for a western woman trying to learn the truth about what various groups are up to, and one comes to admire Ressa's persistence in trying to get the story even while repeatedly putting herself in mortal danger. Highlights included an explanation of how a failed Al-Qaeda plot in Singapore gave way to a successful attack in Bali, the career trajectory of an Al-Qaeda operative whose training begins in adolescence, and a look at the very real threat of ninja attacks. There are numerous books that provide investigations of terrorist networks but Ressa's unique point of view combined with how relatively under-publicized the Southeast Asian terrorist threat has been make this a must-read for anyone trying to understand how terrorism grows and spreads. --John Moe
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:49 -0400)
"Every major al-Qaeda attack since 1993 has had a connection to the Philippines, and Maria Ressa, CNN's lead investigative reporter for Asia and a Filipino-American who has lived in the region since 1986, has broken story after story about them. From the early, failed attempts to assassinate Pope John Paul II and Bill Clinton to the planning of the 9/11 strikes and the "48 Hours of Terror." in which eleven American jetliners were to be blown up over the Pacific, she has interviewed the terrorists, their neighbors and families, and the investigators from six different countries who have tracked them down. After the Bali bombing, al-Qaeda's worst strike since 9/11, which killed more than two hundred, Ressa broke major revelations about how it was planned, why it was a Plan B substitute for an even more ambitious scheme aimed at Singapore, and why the suicide bomber recruited to deliver the explosives almost caused the whole plan to fall apart when he admitted he could barely drive a car." "Above all, Ressa has seen how al-Qaeda's tactics are shifting under the pressures of the war on terror. Rather than depending upon its own core membership (estimated at three to four thousand at its peak), the network is now enmeshing itself in local conflicts, co-opting Muslim independence movements wherever they can be found, and helping local "revolutionaries" to fund, plan, and execute sinister attacks against their neighbors and the West. If history is any guide, al-Qaeda revisits its plans over and over until they can succeed - and many of those plans have already been discovered and are here revealed, thanks to classified investigative documents uncovered by Ressa."--BOOK JACKET.
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