A gripping account of how al-Qaeda in Yemen rebounded from an initial defeat to once again threaten the United States.
Far from the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States and al-Qaeda are fighting a clandestine war of drones and suicide bombers in an unforgiving corner of Arabia. The Last Refuge charts the rise, fall, and resurrection of al-Qaeda in Yemen over the last 30 years, detailing how a group that the United States once defeated has now become one of the world’s most dangerous threats. An expert on Yemen who has spent years on the ground there, Gregory D. Johnsen uses al-Qaeda’s Arabic battle notes to reconstruct their world as they take aim at the United States and its allies. Johnsen brings listeners inside al-Qaeda’s training camps and safe houses as the terrorists plot poison attacks and debate how to bring down an airliner on Christmas Day. The Last Refuge is an eye-opening look at the successes and failures of fighting a new type of war in one of the most turbulent countries in the world.
©2013 Gregory D. Johnsen (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
Author and Editor
This book starts slow, with a somewhat laughable reliance on generalizations and cliches in its intro. But once it gets into the actual recreation of events, it is fascinating. As best I can tell, its big-scale facts track to reality, and provide some critical background to understanding the rise of ISIS/ISIL and the general failure (or at least incomplete success) of the US in its "war on terror." I very much appreciated the author's reliance on non-Western viewpoints, but would have appreciated a direct questioning of Saudi or Yemeni anti-terrorism sources as to what the big picture is. This book was published before ISIS/ISIL hit the news in the West, so I feel like I now want a clear sense of the connection (or lack thereof) between AQAP and ISIS/ISIL.
Very Informative and eye opening-Tied up a lot of loose ends and explained a lot of unknowns. I thought it was very well written and assembled.
President Saleh's return from Saudi Arabia for medical treatment was actually an escape.
Unfamiliar with correct pronunciation of names and places.
Understanding AQAP and the Yemeni government.
I would have liked to have seen an afterword or post-script, I would have liked to have heard G.Johnsens own opinion on how to solve or address the AQAP issue-or perhaps what we were doing wrong or right. This was an essential piece missing.
short, fat, and stupid.
This book is great. The only thing that I really didn't like was the extreme over statement of Bin ladens role in the soviet war in Afganistan. He survived one attack on his moutain hide out and left for Pakistan as fast as he could. And remained in pakistan for the rest of the so called "jihad." His role in the jihad was a man with money to give and pretty much nothing else.
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