February 03, 2010


Finally read Omar Nasiris Inside The Global Jihad, which is probably the best book on the subject I have read in a while. An amazing and surprisingly amusing insight which I thought I'd better get round to reading, having heard about his impressions of Hamza and Qatada whist spying for the French and the British in London during the nineties. He manages to present the dichotomy of really enjoying training for jihad whilst secretly being a spy as a most natural thing.

"Omar" his last fake name of many, has a very clear definition of honourable jihad which he has held his whole life. In short, he believes in the Jihad of such people as Ahmad Shah Massoud. He is willing to work against Muslims he views as breaking these clear rules, whilst forming strong relationships with them at the same time.

Obviously I have read a bit around this subject but a few things still surprised me. For example I learnt that Al Qaeda (a name never heard by Omar whilst he was in the camps) were actually against the Taliban in principle because they thought their punishments were sadistic. Reading this book you feel for the young Chechens training in the camps in the nineties, and the parents who were trying to keep them out of the fight with the Russians.

All the usual questions are thrown up in this read. Has Bin Laden, in his global jihad directed against the "enemy far away" tarnished the ability of those who would fight a defensive war against invaders? Can the west accept no honourable jihad post 9/11? Does war and terror by its nature escalate beyond any honourable principles humans might try to subscribe to, culminating in events like Beslan? Is it possible to be an honourable jihadi or an honourable soldier for that matter?

"Omar" is probably the clearest authority I have read on this subject. He has formed his principles the hard way with no real help from anyone and his principles are compelling. Reading all this made me wonder whether peace in the "War on Terror" would be better pursued by ex soldiers and ex jihadis.

Omar articulates a really positive attitude as a Muslim in todays world. He knows better than most that the "War on Terr-r story" is not black and white. Neither Muslims who take to violence nor those who champion a military implementation of democracy should be judged on anything but the way they behave and Omar makes excuses for neither. An excellent, genuinely useful book, which I am sure would ecourage any Muslim contemplating a career as a spy to think twice!

Possibly related stuff I have been reading, may comment on later:-
Cage prisoners/Amnesty International trouble in The Sunday Times
and Mozzam Beggs response on Caged Prisoners here
Paula Newton on CNNs Security Files blog

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