"A superb chronicle of the campaigns to counter Al Qaeda, the Islamic State, and their affiliates—by a student of, and participant in, those campaigns."—General David Petraeus, former Director of the CIA and Commander of U.S. Central Command and NATO forces in AfghanistanCounter Jihad is a sweeping account of America's military campaigns in the Islamic world. Revising our understanding of what was once known as the War on Terror, it provides a retrospective on the extraordinary series of conflicts that saw the United States deploy more than two and a half million men and women to fight in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. Brian Glyn Williams traces these unfolding wars from their origins in the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan through U.S. Central Command's ongoing campaign to "degrade and destroy" the hybrid terrorist group known as ISIS. Williams takes readers on a journey beginning with the 2001 U.S. overthrow of the Taliban, to the toppling of Saddam Hussein, to the unexpected emergence of the notorious ISIS "Caliphate" in the Iraqi lands that the United States once occupied.
"Balanced and apolitical, Williams argues that only by exploring the past can we understand the jihad, the attacks on our homeland, and the nearly sixteen years of war ranging from mountains of Afghanistan, to the sands of Iraq and Syria, and to the streets of Paris and San Bernardino, California. In this, his sixth book, Williams presents an easy-to-read narrative on the rise of ISIS, informed by his deep understanding of the Middle East and Central Asia, extensive and meticulously detailed research, and his own personal experiences while deployed to the region on many occasions."—Military Review (US Army)
"Counter Jihad is a thoroughly researched, easy to read, informative, and important book. It is a thorough accounting of how and why the United States fought (and is fighting) wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria and the key events that led to these wars."—Middle East Journal
"Although Williams presents the content with all of the rigor and discipline one would expect from an expert in this field, Counter Jihad explains this history in a way that is both interesting and understand- able to someone with minimal knowledge about the Middle East. The result is an excellent resource for the junior Airman, Marine, Sailor, or Soldier desiring to learn more about the complex world in which he or she fights. From explanations of mid-twentieth-century conflicts around Israel to an analysis of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria's (ISIS) strength in early 2016, this book offers the reader a thorough and balanced summary that is neither strictly pro-American nor pro-Middle East but pro-truth."—Air and Space Journal (US Air Force Research Institute)
"In addition to providing just the right mix of in-depth coverage and artful analysis, Brian Glyn Williams skillfully leverages his first-hand experiences in the region to breathe life into combatants from all sides as well as ordinary civilians caught up in the Iraq, Syrian, and Afghan conflicts. A must read for those seeking a balanced, behind-the-scenes explanation of the events dominating the news cycle since 9/11."—Lieutenant Colonel Mark J. Reardon (U.S. Army Retired), Office of the Chief of Staff of the Army, Operation Enduring Freedom Study Group
"A reasonable, step-by-step look back at the war on terror that aims to dispel misconceptions [and a] refreshingly nonpolemical work that walks through the benumbing stages of war and response to the present Islamic State group problem."—Kirkus Reviews
"Counter Jihad is mesmerizing, provocative, and deeply researched and informative. Brian Glyn Williams' deft and urgent storytelling takes a place alongside Lawrence Wright's The Looming Tower as a must-read about the last decades' global counter-terrorism campaign. History at its very best."—Doug Stanton, New York Times-bestselling author of The Horse Soldiers
"In his latest and most ambitious book, Brian Glyn Williams examines America's epic and ongoing struggle with Islamist terrorist and insurgent groups, from 9/11 to 2016. Counter Jihad cuts through the political spin to take readers on a fascinating journey into the violent world of killer drones, tribal warlords, special forces, CIA operatives, and holy warriors."—Scott Levi, The Ohio State University
Counter Jihad is the first history of America's military operations against radical Islamists, from the Taliban-controlled Hindu Kush Mountains of Afghanistan, to the Sunni Triangle of Iraq, to ISIS's headquarters in the deserts of central Syria, giving both generalists and specialists an overview of events that were followed by millions but understood by few. Williams provides the missing historical context for the rise of the terror group ISIS out of the ashes of Saddam Hussein's secular Baathist Iraq, arguing that it is only by carefully exploring the recent past can we understand how this jihadist group came to conquer an area larger than Britain and spread havoc from Syria to Paris to San Bernardino.
Brian Glyn Williams is Professor of Islamic History at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth. He was employed by the CIA to track suicide bombers in Afghanistan in 2007. He is author of several books on warfare and terrorism, including Afghanistan Declassified, also available from the University of Pennsylvania Press, and The Last Warlord: The Life and Legend of Dostum, the Afghan Warrior Who Led US Special Forces to Topple the Taliban Regime.