Islamist Terrorism in Europe: A History

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9780190264024: Islamist Terrorism in Europe: A History

Islamist terrorism in Europe is on the rise, as evidenced by the Charlie Hebdo shootings in Paris, the grisly beheading of a UK serviceman walking the streets of London in 2013, and the shooting spree in Toulouse and Montauban. Whereas the death of Osama bin Laden and the advent of the 'Arab Spring' fed expectations that international jihadism was a spent force, Europe has faced an increase in terrorist plots over the past few years. In addition, there are growing security concerns over the fallout of the Syrian conflict, and its sizeable contingents of battle-hardened European fighters.
This book provides a comprehensive account of the rise of jihadist militancy in Europe and offers a detailed background for understanding the current and future threat. Based on a wide range of new primary sources, it traces the phenomenon back to the late 1980s, and the formation of jihadist support networks in Europe in the early 1990s. Combining analytical rigor with empirical richness, the book offers a comprehensive account of patterns of terrorist cell formation and plots between 1995 and 2012. In contrast to existing research which has emphasized social explanations, failed immigration and homegrown radicalism, this book highlights the entrepreneurial role of former Arab-Afghan veterans and their associated organizations and ideological agendas.

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About the Author:

Petter Nesser is a senior research fellow with the Norwegian Defense Research Establishment (FFI). Trained in Social Science, Middle Eastern Studies and Arabic, Nesser has conducted extensive research on jihadism in Europe for more than a decade, while focusing on motivational drivers, recruitment and radicalisation processes.


"Nesser's detailed analysis of the threat we face could hardly be more timely. Its main focus is on the individuals involved, their backgrounds, motivations and modus operandi." -- The Independent

"Petter Nesser's unflashy book analyses jihadi activity in Europe from the 1994 attempt by Algerian hijackers to crash an Air France jet into Paris to the massacre at Charlie Hebdo's offices and the kosher deli hostage crisis one year ago." -- The Times

"A forensic look at 20 years of terrorist attacks. EL This is not a book to read if you want to sleep easy."--The Sunday Times

"Petter Nesser is to be commended for a clear and well-researched explanation of jihadist terrorism in Europe that is impressive in historical range and depth of coverage. His study is essential for understanding a subject that is of paramount importance to the public and policy makers as well as scholars." -- Martha Crenshaw, Senior Fellow, Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC), Stanford University

"Several of the very best studies on terrorism have emerged from scholars around the Norwegian Defense Research Establishment (FFI). This is another of them. Petter Nesser's history of Islamist terrorism in Europe explains more than two decades of terrorist plotting like no other single-author study -- a must read for counter-terrorist professionals and academics, but also for all concerned citizens who want to make sense of 'senseless violence'." -- Alex P. Schmid, Editor-in-Chief of Perspectives on Terrorism and former Officer-in-Charge of the Terrorism Prevention Branch of the United Nations

"Petter Nesser is one of the longest standing and most objective observers of this phenomenon. His book is full of detailed information that will make it a work of reference for many years to come. More than any other book on the subject, it shows the continuities and discontinuities, allowing readers and analysts to make sense of what has changed and what has remained the same. An absolute must read for anyone studying jihadist terrorism in Europe." -- Peter Neumann, Director, International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation (ICSR), King's College London

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