Yemen, al-Qaeda, and the Battle for Arabia
Far from the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, the US and al-Qaeda are fighting a clandestine war of drones and suicide bombers. It began in 2006, when twenty-three men escaped from a political prison in Yemen's capital. Later they were joined by a dozen men released from Guantanamo Bay. Now, they stand ready to hijack the Arab Spring.
Unrivalled Yemen expert Gregory Johnsen charts the rise, fall, and resurrection of al-Qaeda in Yemen – a combustion of civil wars, Afghan refugees, and Islamic prophecy. He brings readers inside al-Qaeda’s training camps and safe houses as the terrorists plot poison attacks and debate how to bring down a plane on Christmas Day. Based on years of on-the-ground interviews and reviews of al-Qaeda battle notes, Johnsen delivers a gripping and incisive investigation of the true state of the Middle East.
"Gregory Johnsen has written the best new book on al Qaeda in 2012 and the best book on Yemen in years… A great read; Johnsen is a very good storyteller."
The Daily Beast
"Among the world’s foremost experts on al-Qaeda."
Mochael Isikoff, Newsweek
"Gregory Johnsen has written a breakthrough book on one of the most underreported and misunderstood stories of the post 9/11 era. Penned in gripping prose and with incredible attention to detail, The Last Refuge unfolds with the pace of an action novel, but this story is all too true. If we ignore the widening covert war in Yemen and fail to learn from its complicated history, we do so at our own peril."
Jeremy Scahill, author of Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army
"Gregory Johnsen, an authority on Yemen and jihadist extremists, has delivered in The Last Refuge a wonderfully well written and deeply reported account of the only al-Qaeda affiliate that continues to pose a real threat to the West."
Peter Bergen, author of Manhunt: The Ten-Year Search for Osama bin Laden, from 9/11 to Abbottabad
"The Last Refuge offers a valuable look at Al-Qaeda's operational history in Yemen. Gregory Johnsen has done us all a service by explaining the country, the threats, and why we should pay attention."
Ali Soufan, author of The Black Banners: The Inside Story of 9/11 and the War Against al-Qaeda
Table of Contents:
Part One: Rise and Fall
1. A Far-Off Land
2. The Next Afghanistan
3. The Dogs of War
4. Faith and Wisdom
5. The Southern Job
7. A New War
Part Two: Forgetting
11. A Revolt in the North
12. Prison Cells
13. Policy Shift
Part Three: The Next Generation
14. The Great Escape
15. Resurrecting al-Qaeda
16. Echoes of Battles
17. The Merger
19. Out of the Shadows