Islamist Bubbles

Is fundamentalist Islam waxing or waning? Perhaps both.

Issue: Summer 2002

Gilles Kepel, Jihad: The Trail of Political Islam, translated by Anthony F. Roberts (Cambridge: Belknap Press/Harvard University Press, 2002), 416 pp., $29.95.

Roland Jacquard, In the Name of Osama bin Laden: Global Terrorism and the Bin Laden Brotherhood, translated by George Holoch (Durham: Duke University Press, 2002), 293 pp., $18.95 (paper).

Christopher Ross has been in the news. After September 11, the State Department summoned the former U.S. ambassador to Syria and Algeria back into service as "special coordinator for public diplomacy and public affairs." On November 3, he appeared on Al-Jazeera satellite channel to present America's case-in Arabic. (As one former diplomat put it, "the scuttlebutt around the locker room was always that Chris was the man in terms of being able to wrap significant thoughts in good Arabic.") With his many years of foreign service in Beirut, Damascus, Algiers and Fez, Ross is credited with knowing the currents of Arab opinion, and how best to navigate them.

Consider, then, this prediction Ross made at a conference of public affairs officers from the State Department's Near Eastern Affairs bureau in September 1993:

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