De Dodelijk Planning van Al-Qaeda [Al-Qaeda's Deadly Planning]
by Emerson Vermaat
Soesterberg, The Netherlands: Aspekt Publishers, 2005. 243 pp. 22.95.
Reviewed by Beila Rabinowitz
Middle East Quarterly
Dutch counterterrorism expert and investigative journalist Vermaat, the first European to write about the threat posed by Osama bin Laden, here studies Al-Qaeda's network in Europe. He shows that the Dutch-born Muslim members of the Hofstadgroep, one of whom ritually murdered Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh, are part of a community of terrorists who continue to travel unimpeded as jihadis between the Middle East, Asia, and Europe. Using details gleaned from police and court documents, Vermaat depicts terrorists who have exploited Europe's open borders and asylum system, making the continent a haven for terrorist "transit camps." Their tactics involve using mosques and businesses for funding and legitimacy. Intermarriage allows them to blend into society. The insularity of the Muslim communities provides additional cover and logistical support. Most disturbingly, Vermaat shows how Europe's inadequate terrorism laws and lax asylum procedures give terrorists essentially free rein to plan future attacks.
He explores why Spain has historical significance to Muslims, being symbolic of a previous Muslim European domination in Al-Andalus, and he explains why Spain is a vital state in the war against radical Islam.
Vermaat's book is the first detailed look at how terrorists operate between North Africa—especially Morocco—and the European mainland. He reconstructs the planning of the Al-Qaeda bombings in Casablanca, Bali, and Madrid and dissects the role each terrorist played in carrying out those attacks. The 9-11 hijackers met and hatched their plan in Hamburg, and Vermaat follows the trail of the main plotters—Mohammed Atta and Marwan al-Shhefi—to Spain and then to Holland, showing how the international jihad network facilitated the plot.
De Dodelijk Planning van Al-Qaeda is a compendium featuring the main players in international terrorism and offering a glimpse into the modus operandi of the jihadist underworld. Vermaat's research shows that the West's best defense against the global jihad lies in discovering and then dismantling the terrorist infrastructure, thus preempting their deadly plans.
Related Topics: Muslims in Europe, Muslims in the West, Terrorism | Beila Rabinowitz | Fall 2006 MEQ
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