Author: Michael Chandler and Rohan Gunaratna
ISBN No: 978 1 86189 30
Review date: 29/11/2023
No of pages: 256
Publisher: Reaktion Books
Year of publication: 11/09/2012
The former British Army man and the scholar, Michael Chandler and Rohan Gunaratna respectively, have written one of the more sharp-eyed books on counter-terrorism.
It’s a pithy analysis of recent international politics and raises some deep questions, such as: where does the terror finance come from? The authors do not shy from pointing out an already missed chance for international co-operation against terror after 9-11. Odd though that it’s yet another terror study that misses the point that most of the targets and the people defending against a repeat are in the private sector. How have UK police moves to staff large counter-terror departments led to de-policing of other, lesser crimes? There is a master’s degree thesis there for someone.
Before September 11, 2001 many countries had developed ways to deal with terrorists, but for the most part these groups were regarded as only domestic threats, the authors argue, quoting from Africa for instance. The actions of the ‘Atta Group’ on 9-11, however, not only destroyed the World Trade Center but also blew away forever attitudes of complacency, it is claimed. The horror and enormity of the attacks on such iconic targets prompted an unprecedented response from across the globe. The book looks at the responses to terrorism, not only 9-11 but the London and Madrid bombings, plus terrorist activity in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Palestine and elsewhere. The authors argue that despite the international community being presented with a prime chance to collaborate against trans-national terrorism, the opportunity has been missed. They argue that long-term visionary policies have been held hostage to short-term political expediency, and what should have been a watershed has become a trickle in the sand.
About the authors
Michael Chandler is a former British Army Colonel and has been involved with security, conflict situations and terrorism for over 40 years. He was chairman of the United Nations Group that monitored the implementation of sanctions against the Al-Qaeda network. Rohan Gunaratna is Head, International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research, Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies in Singapore and Senior Fellow, Fletcher School for Law and Diplomacy’s Jebsen Centre for Counter Terrorism Studies. He is the author of Inside Al-Qaeda: Global Network of Terror (2002).