Hot Off the Presses
Recent Publications from the Belfer Center
Editor: Susan M. Lynch, Program Assistant, International Security Program; Web Manager, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program
The Jihadis’ Path to Self-Destruction
By Nelly Lahoud, Associate, Initiative on Religion in International Affairs/International Security Program; Columbia University Press; November 2010
Jihadi ideologues mobilize Muslims, especially young Muslims, through an individualist, centered Islam. Appealing to a classical defense doctrine, they argue that the mandates of jihad are the individual duty of every Muslim and therefore transcend and undermine both the authority of the state and the power of parental control.
Yet emphasizing the duty and right of individually initiated jihad is just one side of do-it-yourself Islam. The other involves protecting the purity of doctrinal beliefs against deviation, even by fellow jihadis. The pursuit of doctrinal purity has led some jihadis to resort to takfir, a pronouncement that declares fellow Muslims unbelievers and makes it legal to shed their blood. Set against the background of the Kharijites, Islam’s first counter-establishment movement, this book explores the religious philosophy underlying jihadism. The Kharijites’s idealistic and individualistic ideology forces members to deploy takfir against one another, thus hastening their extinction as a group.
“The Jihadis’ Path to Self-Destruction is written with verve and insight, skillfully integrating past and present, and primary and secondary sources. It offers marvelous insight into the jihadi mindset—its devastating simplicity and the complexities and contradictions out of which it has evolved and which may also lead to the movement’s self-destruction.” — A. H. Johns, College of Asia and the Pacific, Australian National University
Cyber War: The Next Threat to National Security and What to Do About It
By Richard A. Clarke, Faculty Affiliate, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and Robert K. Knake; Ecco/HarperCollins; April 2010
Cyber War is a powerful book about technology, government, and military strategy; about criminals, spies, soldiers, and hackers. This is the first book about the war of the future—cyber war—and a convincing argument that we may already be in peril of losing it.
Cyber War goes behind the “geek talk” of hackers and computer scientists to explain clearly and convincingly what cyber war is, how cyber weapons work, and how vulnerable we are as a nation and as individuals to the vast and looming web of cyber criminals. Clarke and coauthor Robert K. Knake trace the rise of the cyber age and profile the unlikely characters and places at the epicenter of the battlefield.
“In these pages Mr. Clarke uses his insider’s knowledge of national security policy to create a harrowing—and persuasive—picture of the cyberthreat the United States faces today.”
— Michiko Kakutani, New York Times
For more information about this publication please contact the Belfer Center Communications Office at 617-495-9858.
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