Modern Jihad: Tracing the Dollars Behind the Terror Networks. By Loretta Napoleoni; published by Pluto Press; available from www.barnesandnoble.com (Web); 304 pages; $18.75.
Terrorists need money--and lots of it--to carry out their operations and to sustain themselves. With its intriguing title and an author who is an economist and a journalist, this book promised to offer revealing information on terrorist financial networks. Alas, such is not the case.
Instead of flushing out the money that funds terrorism, Loretta Napoleoni uses her ostensible experience investigating terrorist financing as a springboard for her real agenda. Napoleoni attempts "to show that, over the last 50 years, members of armed organizations have been hunted down like criminals at home by the same political forces that have fostered them abroad: the final aim being to serve the economic interests of the West and its allies...."
Unfortunately, the few insights Napoleoni provides into the money flow are overwhelmed by her effort to blame the West for the increase in terrorism in recent years. She has reduced terrorism to simply a facet of what she sees as "a clash between two economic systems," reverting to the flawed Marxist view of politics that has long been discredited. She ultimately justifies the acts of terrorists on the basis of their being economically exploited. That's a disappointing conclusion in a disappointing effort that bore a lot of promise.
Reviewer: Mayer Nudell, CSC (Certified Safety and Security Consultant), runs Specialized Consulting Services in North Hollywood, California. He is a member of ASIS International.