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News, documents and analysis on violent extremism


Tuesday, March 16, 2004
 

Madrid attacks worked exactly as planned

An al Qaeda document reveals that the terror group specificially targeted regime change in Spain, with an eye toward a Socialist Party victory and the withdrawal of Spanish troops from Iraq, according to a report from CNN.



Reports of the document's existence remove what little doubt may have existed that the Madrid bombings were an al Qaeda-linked effort as well as making it clear that the political ramifications of the attack were carefully thought out. The report also suggests the timing of the attack was specifically geared toward the election.



The report also again raises the specter of an "October surprise" terror attack in the U.S., just before the November elections. However, that scenario is based on the possibly debateable premise that al Qaeda desires to see regime change in the U.S.



While a successful repeat of the Spanish scenario would potentially enhance al Qaeda's standing internationally, the terror organization actually benefits from a confrontational U.S. foreign policy, which helps with recruiting and discourages countries in the Middle East, East Asia and Southeastern Asia from fully participating in American anti-terror efforts.

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"...smart, granular analysis..."

ISIS: The State of Terror
"Jessica Stern and J.M. Berger's new book, "ISIS," should be required reading for every politician and policymaker... Their smart, granular analysis is a bracing antidote to both facile dismissals and wild exaggerations... a nuanced and readable account of the ideological and organizational origins of the group." -- Washington Post

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Jihad Joe: Americans Who Go to War in the Name of Islam:
"At a time when some politicians and pundits blur the line between Islam and terrorism, Berger, who knows this subject far better than the demagogues, sharply cautions against vilifying Muslim Americans. ... It is a timely warning from an expert who has not lost his perspective." -- New York Times

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ABOUT

INTELWIRE is a web site edited by J.M. Berger. a researcher, analyst and consultant covering extremism, with a special focus on extremist activities in the U.S. and extremist use of social media. He is a non-resident fellow with the Brookings Institution, Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World, and author of the critically acclaimed Jihad Joe: Americans Who Go to War in the Name of Islam, the only definitive history of the U.S. jihadist movement, and co-author of ISIS: The State of Terror with Jessica Stern.

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