Read Jihad: The Rise of Militant Islam in Central Asia by Ahmed Rashid Online


Ahmed Rashid, whose masterful account of Afghanistan's Taliban regime became required reading after September 11, turns his legendary skills as an investigative journalist to five adjacent Central Asian Republics-Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan--where religious repression, political corruption and extreme poverty have created a fertile climaAhmed Rashid, whose masterful account of Afghanistan's Taliban regime became required reading after September 11, turns his legendary skills as an investigative journalist to five adjacent Central Asian Republics-Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan--where religious repression, political corruption and extreme poverty have created a fertile climate for militant Islam. Based on groundbreaking research and numerous interviews, Rashid explains the roots of fundamentalist rage in Central Asia, describes the goals and activities of its militant organizations, including Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda, and suggests ways of neutralizing the threat and bringing stability to the troubled region. A timely and pertinent work, Jihad is essential reading for anyone who seeks to gain a better understanding of a region we overlook at our peril....

Title : Jihad: The Rise of Militant Islam in Central Asia
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780142002605
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 320 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Jihad: The Rise of Militant Islam in Central Asia Reviews

  • Nicholas
    2019-02-27 14:20

    My friend J gave me this book before I went to Kazakhstan working with the United States Peace Corps, so, at the time, I found it a more interesting read then I probably would have, had I been traveling to, let's say, the Western Congo or Oceania. To date, not many books about Central Asia exist, at least, not all that many good ones. There is Lost Heart of Asia by Colin Thubronand Tom Bissell's books (of which I will discuss in later reviews), yet few others. Since 9/11, the world's attention was drawn to Afghanistan, and therefore, its neighbors in Central Asia, and hence this book, examining the current politics of these former Soviet Republics. Most of the focus on the book is on Uzbekistan, although, Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan are briefly mentioned as well. The author, Ahmed Rashid, while not sympathetic to the ideologies of militant Islam, he does explore the conditions which lend weight to their cause and drive otherwise disinterested people to their ranks. His argument is a simple one, and one which has been put forth again and again, is that militant Islam gains power in unstable, poor countries with oppressive regimes and a large populations of young men who's only access to education is the local madrases. Ahmed Rashid then explores to what extent these particular conditions exist in Central Asia. He discusses Uzbekistan at length largely because Uzbekistan has most of these conditions, and has become a boiler point for resistance and conflict. In contrast, Rashid then describes the activities in neighboring Kyrgyzstan, just reviving itself after a nasty civil war, and describes why militant Islam has not gained a foothold there (largely because its government allowed the militants to run for office, and they all were handily defeated at the polls) and then explains what the world needs to do to insure that militant Islam does not spread.The book is for academics, or anyone else, looking for an alternative explanation for the cause of militant Islamic extremism past 'they hate our freedoms' as well as anyone traveling or working in Central Asia who needs to allay their fears about the Muslim Brotherhood's activities there (mostly centered in the isolated Fergana Valley). Otherwise, the text could be too dry and the subject matter too myopic for casual reading.Oh, and I left my copy in Almaty, so sorry J. Thanks for giving it to me anyway.

  • Lars
    2019-02-27 10:30

    This was a fascinating book for me, and not just because I've hosted a high school exchange student from the region. It clearly lays out who the main actors are, and identifies which ones are radical jihadis, versus those groups which take political action instead to work toward their religiously-inspired goals.One of the more interesting insights I gained in the course of reading this is just how chaotic the dissolution of the Soviet Union was for the former SSRs. As the author notes, Russia, Ukraine and Belarus worked out how they might transition from a single state into separate nations under the CIS banner, but never bothered to consult with the southern SSRs. These folks basically woke up one fine day and learned from the news that they were now independent nations, and had just lost the subsidies and easy market access that had been part of the Soviet package. With borders carved up by Stalin to deliberately undermine any ethnic cohesion they might have had (as well as massive placements of ethnic Russians), these new countries all basically failed to make a transition to functioning statehood... but they all failed in different, and interesting ways.Of course, the book's coverage ends even before the peaceful revolution in Kyrgyzstan, or the invasion of Iraq, so there is much more that one needs to learn in order to be current on the state of Islamic influence and intent in Central Asia. This book, however, serves as a solid foundation from which to launch that study. Since this region is potentially the next powder keg in the conflict between the radical, nihilistic jihadis and the civilized world, it's worthy of study.

  • Kathleen McRae
    2019-02-22 11:35

    Interesting book with lots of the history behind the countries of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan and their struggles after the breakup of USSR.

  • Dirk
    2019-03-07 06:36

    I've written it before (just a moment ago actually)and I'll write it again ... read everything Rashid's written before you head to your polling place next year.

  • Martin
    2019-03-07 06:23

    I picked up this book at Borders when I spotted the author's name: journalist Ahmed Rashid. I had read his superb analysis of the radical Islamists who ruled Afghanistan, "Taliban." Jihad: The Rise of Militant Islam in Central Asia is another fine piece of journalism written with the eye of a historian. Rashid synthesizes his own observations and reporting with larger historical forces into a cogent argument that the West's neglect of the newly independent, former Soviet Republics (Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgystan, and Turkmenistan) in areas that mattered, like economic development and political reform, the interference by foreign powers in other areas, like oil and gas pipelines, and the utterly repressive and brutal Central Asian regimes holding a tenuous grip on their ethnically diverse populations combined to give rise to the very forces those powers hoped to squash: radical Islam and jihad.I must admit I knew almost nothing Rashid reports in this book. When the Soviet Union collapsed, I was a Rambo-loving, commie-hating teenager who knew nothing about the world and Ronald Reagan was my hero. Prepare to be blown away by Rashid's reporting. Much like Afghanistan, the Central Asian republics have usually been in a state of strife caused by war, repression and massive poverty and unemployment. These factors have eviscerated moderates and fueled both violent and non-violent Islamist groups who call for the institution of Sharia.I was surprised by the conclusion to chapter nine: "Yet there is still hope. For the first time the three big powers (China, Russia, USA) have joined in Central Asia in defense of the territorial integrity of the region and in a common bid to eliminate terrorism there. Perhaps in the future they will be willing to cooperate on oil and gas pipelines from Central Asia to the outside world, help to develop the economies of the deprived Central Asian states, and stabilize the political and economic situation in Afghanistan sufficiently so it once again can become part of the international community."This was published in 2003. In the six years since, this dream has obviously not been realized. It's surprising that Rashid could imagine such a scenario after he witnessed so much death, destruction, and pernicious foreign interference in the region since he began covering the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. It's as if he believes all the powers will forget their histories and forget their self-interests and magically act for the better of the world community.This tidy 244-page book is still worth the investment and can be read in a few days.

  • Erik Graff
    2019-03-16 12:06

    I read Rashid's Taliban and Jihad back-to-back after several friends had recommended him. Before reading the latter I would have had trouble confidently locating Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan & Uzbekistan on a map. Indeed, I would still have trouble, this being my first book about the region which was not from the perspective of another country such as Russia or Britain.For some reason, I have read both of Rashid's books with a grain of salt. The issue of controlling these oil-rich countries as well as similarly rich Iraq and strategically located Afghanistan is so very politicized that I would probably read almost anyone I knew little about with some caution. Perhaps also I was bothered by the author's failure to give me sufficient sympathetic insight into the supposed enemies the United States has in the region. The economic attraction of the madrassas is mentioned, but otherwise I felt like I was reading something prepared for the Joint Chiefs as background material.

  • Shea Mastison
    2019-03-25 07:14

    I grew up in the Midwest. The fact that I could identify Mexico, Canada, and states like Massachusetts and Rhode Island on the map made me a goddamn geography wiz in school. However, reading this book I found myself constantly looking up maps on wikipedia to get a sense of the geography of Central Asia as it is so important to Rashid's narrative. This book was highly informative and enlightening; also, incredibly scholarly. When I saw that it was written by a journalist, I thought it would be an easy read. That was not the case. This is a very scholarly effort--worth the read if you're interested in Central Asia.

  • Claire
    2019-03-18 12:26

    This is the book that the reference librarian pointed me to first! It answered my curiosities more directly, and showed me I actually studied this already for a couple of semesters, I just buried all the information in feelings (generally of apprehension, but also adoration - this is the more questionable part of me *cough*).I particularly liked the Hizb ut-Tahrir chapter since it abbreviated that group as HT but I couldn't ever remember what that stood for again, until I noticed the answer was right on top of all the odd-numbered pages.So, since it got a "particular" mention, I particularly like the whole book.

  • Signe
    2019-03-07 13:10

    According to Ahmed Rashid, the rise of militant Islam in Central Asia is due to the previous suppression of secular democratic parties, the repression of Islam under the Soviet Union, and in reaction to continued foreign presence in the region by the U.S., Russia, and China. In general, any effort by authorities to contain opposition legitimizes it to the people, and popularity of these groups increases amongst populations hungry for revolution. The book was very informative; however, the errors in grammar, style, and even print on the page were a little distracting. You'd think that with the book being a best seller, the editors would fix these errors in subsequent editions.

  • Rachel
    2019-03-21 06:11

    Not knowing much about Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan, I found this book extremely enlightening. Rashid takes the reader through the interwoven political and economic climate of these Central Asian countries, while also not ignoring the strong role Russia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, Iran, and the USA play in the region. At times however, I felt that Rashid repeated himself. Others have commented the book is out of date - but knowing that he wrote it immediately before 9/11 helps to ground you (plus he clearly went back and had to re-write/update sections post 9/11).

  • Farhan
    2019-03-13 06:26

    The Afghan puzzle, or for that matter the Wazirstan issue in Pakistan, can never be truly understood without undergoing into the roots of militany in the central asia as the events in that region have influenced thoughts and minds in the Hidukush area. The book by Ahmed Rashid helps in understanding the extremist mindset and root causes of its resonance being felt on the western borders of Pakistan. It will go a long way in completing the picture of fundementalist trends. Certainly a good read. Though can be fully understood only if other works of the author are also given a glance.

  • Amit
    2019-02-25 10:31

    This is a well researched book opening ones eyes to the turbulence of a region often collectively sidelined in today's world as CIS. Though I found the book a little repetitive on facts, it is nevertheless an absorbing narrative of a part of the world which was historically, not only the nursery of the conquering tribes but also an important passage in the trade routes. It examines, how after almost a century of oblivion, this region is back in the world reckoning because of turmoil and oil !

  • Amanda
    2019-03-04 12:34

    I picked this up at the Alachua Co Library Sale, and although my copy reeked of cigarette smoke, it was an interesting read (I hesitate to use the word "enjoyable" because it's subject is rather somber). If you're looking for a book on the influence of terrorist groups in areas that don't usually make the nightly news (Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, for example), I highly recommend it.

  • Clifford Quattlander
    2019-03-10 06:08

    A concise history of the nations in Central Asia during the fall of the Soviet Union and their first decade of independence. Since I just finished the first edition that came out in 2002, some of the information may be a bit dated.

  • Jason
    2019-02-23 11:29

    It's very dry and very outdated at this point, but it's interesting to see how far back the roots of militant Islam extend (Tsarist Russia) and how all kinds of tiny threads have woven together to form a tapestry of corruption, oppression and militant action.

  • Gabrielle Ghazali
    2019-03-05 14:31

    not Ahmed's most readable book but still worth a flip through if Central Asian Islamic Militancy is your thing. chock full of interesting facts that will clear up a lot of questions to todays political situations.

  • K
    2019-03-18 14:19

    Great info as an introduction to Central Asia. The only downside is that the book is outdated, as it was published 10 years ago.In any case, I've now acquired a newfound fascination for this particular region of the world.

  • Boozy
    2019-03-08 11:22

    Excellent source material for anyone working in the region. While I may not agree 100% with the authors solutions it is worth reading.

  • Alex
    2019-03-06 06:12

    A good read that is well worth the 200 or so pages. It gives a great history and analysis of the region up until just before 9/11.

  • Ramón
    2019-03-04 09:36

    If you've never read anything about this region of the world, this is a great book to get familiar with an area that will continue to intrude itself into Western consciousness.

  • Sarah
    2019-03-09 13:36

    I found this book informative and interesting. I enjoyed reading it very much. I also plan to read Taliban.

  • Dee W.
    2019-03-21 08:34

    Somewhat better than Taliban but still short sighted on some fronts. It suffers for being written at the start of the conflict with the U.S., but it is a good primer for Islam in the area.

  • Baniza
    2019-03-15 06:23

    Jihad is essential reading for anyone who seeks to gain a better understanding of a region we overlook at our peril.

  • Sara
    2019-03-10 10:23

    Also good for background.

  • Adam Smith
    2019-02-26 11:14

    nice book

  • Pat
    2019-03-15 11:21

    Very comprehensive. Rashid says, "A well-fed, well-housed, and fully employed population will not provide recruits for the IMU [Islamic Movemetn of Uzbekistan] or any other terrorist organization."

  • PMP
    2019-02-22 08:06

    Every academic argues that his area of specialisation is the next hotbed of crisis and disaster. How else will he make his living?

  • Kate
    2019-03-17 08:07

    I found this readable and informative, but that's about as glowing as I can be.

  • Komaruzzaman
    2019-03-25 08:08

    baca dong

  • Greynomad
    2019-03-10 07:20

    Reading about the history of the collapse of Russia and the effect on Central Asia is about Obamacare at its best.......