The book "The Looming Tower" discusses ways and methods of terrorist groups and historical development of Al-Qaeda. This also explains the reason why, during the course of recent decade, the problem of international terrorism had acquired fully independent subtleties, while becoming a major headache for the governments of Western countries; whereas, as recent as thirty years ago, the existence of terrorist organizations was thought of as being simply the by-product of geopolitical confrontation between U.S. and Soviet Union. The fact that, for duration of last 10-20 years, U.N. bureaucrats were trying their best to instil humanity with a spirit of “tolerance”, while authorising planes to be sent on bombing missions against those who appear as not being particularly eager to accept the ideals of democracy, had created a situation when nowadays, there can be no universally accepted definition for the term “combatants”. The book consists of 20 chapters devoted to different personalities and historical periods of terrorism and Al-Qaeda group.
From a historical perspective, the book vividly describes the terrorism attacks and development of Islamist ideas during 1940s. Sayyid Qutb, a religious scholar, is described as the Martyr of Islamic terrorism. This part of the book aims at discussing the particularities of terrorism as such that directly correspond to three most important aspects of “globalized” socio-political reality: 1) The process of independent countries’ national sovereignty being undermined by promoters of Globalization 2) The process of Western societies’ demographic fabric undergoing a dramatic transformation, due to “multiculturalism” 3) The fact that political dynamics on international arena are now best described in terms of “communities” vs. “states”, rather then “states” vs. “states”, as it used to be the case before the advent of Globalization. What it means is that, nowadays, the process of political governing in Western countries becomes increasingly anonymous – for example, when riot police is being sent to fight protesters – no politician would ever take a responsibility for it.
The book proposes readers a detailed biography of Osama bin Laden and his political influence in the East. A special attention is paid to his military actions against Soviet Union, relations with government of Sudan, Afghanistan and Taliban movement. Despite the fact that America’s war on single individual Osama bin Laden has been going on for eight years now, there is no end in sight to this war. Such situation appears being especially illogical, given the fact that it had only taken four years for America to defeat both: Germany and Japan during the course of WW2. And, it is only when Al Qaeda’s terrorist activities are being discussed within the context of “community” vs. “state”, that the true causes for this organization’s operational efficiency would become apparent. Thus, it appears that; whereas, war continues to remain the ultimate tool of solving geopolitical problems, those who resort to military action as the most effective instrument of achieving their political goals, are being no longer concerned with observing the basics of international law – this is the actual origin of modern terrorism.
The book pays attention to American counterterrorist policies and state strategies against Al-Qaeda. Wright persuades readers that the government exercises a political violence against citizens, with citizens being unaware as to who gives the actual orders. The community, on the other hand, does not consider an “anonymous” form of governing as being legitimate; which is why it prefers to live by its own rules, while responding to governmental violence with its own violence. Wright describes that as it has been mentioned earlier, Israeli state’s officials have repeatedly proclaimed Palestinians being “natural-born terrorists”, while implying all Muslims being essentially in the same way. This is why Israel begins war on Palestinians as if they were all representatives of a “terrorist community”. In its turn, this prompts Palestinian/Islamic terrorists to think of state of Israel and of its allies in terms of a “terrorist state”. Whereas; the practice of conducting traditional warfare implies that combatants on both sides do not hate each other personally (during the course of WW2, German pilots would often become best friends with American pilots, downed over Germany and consequently turned into prisoners of war), the “community” vs. “state” type of warfare implies something entirely opposite, especially when the factor of racial animosity plays an important role within such a warfare. This is exactly the reason why Islamic terrorists think of innocent civilians in Western countries as fully legitimate targets.
The book makes perfectly good point while stating: “it was not a battle between capitalism and communism; it was between Islam and materialism. “Islam” is a complete system with laws, social codes, economic rules, and its own method of government. Only Islam offered a formula for creating a just and godly society” (Wright 14). This remark vividly portrays and illustrates the Islamic values and principles developed during the last 60 years. Only because of strong ideological principles Al Qaeda was able to conduct attacks of 9/11 with such a high degree of precision, in the first place. This is because, thanks to the hawks of “multiculturalism”, America has now its own fifth column, consisting of people who hate the country of their citizenship with utter passion. Terrorists had flown planes into WTO towers because, while being officially considered as America’s friend, this country never misses a chance to stub its “ally” in the back, when opportunity presents itself, which serves as an additional proof as to the fact that the process of Globalization continues to deprive traditional political concepts of their practical significance. It is important to understand that, just as it is the case with traditional forms of warfare, the ultimate goal of “communal” warfare is victory. In open confrontation with Western countries, Muslim world would not stand even a slightest chance. Therefore, Muslim countries sponsor Islamic terrorism to undermine Western civilization’s integrity from within, with enforcers of “multiculturalism” in these countries acting as terrorists’ “moles”. And, as it has always been the case, throughout the history, when it comes to conducting warfare, its participants are being primarily concerned with winning, rather then with gaining the reputation of “legitimate combatants”. While confronting physically stronger opponent, it is only weaker individual’s willingness to kick “bully” in the groin, which would account for his chance of winning. The great value of the research is that the author includes a detailed list of the characters, interviews and notes on sources used.
In sum, the book is based on facts and historical data which help readers to understand and critically analyze events of Islamic struggle and responses to terrorism. The author states that even though terrorism can be best described as an “unpleasant” type of warfare, it does not make it less operationally effective – and, this is only the thing that counts. Apparently, the true motivations behind Al-Qaeda can no longer be discussed within a framework of conventional international relations. suggesting that terrorism should not be considered as the legitimate form of warfare is the same as suggesting that states should not have waged wars on each other in the past, simply because, during the time of war people get killed. The book will be useful for everyone interested in political, geopolitical and counterterrorist studies. It proposes vivid narration about causes and consequences of limitary and political struggle between two parts of the world, the East and the West. Governmental officials and representatives of international organizations believe that it is solely up to them to decide on what is right and what is wrong, and that it is solely up to them to utilize violence as the mean of enforcing “tolerance”. Still, the members of ethnic and religious communities have a different perspective on the issue.