Saturday, November 18, 2006

The Militant Ideology Atlas

The Combating Terrorism Center at West Point has announced the release of The Militant Ideology Atlas [online in its entirety, .pdf format], an in-depth study of the Jihadi Movement's top thinkers and their most popular writings. According to the CTC, this is the first systematic mapping of the ideology inspiring al-Qaeda.

The CTC’s researchers spent one year mining the most popular books and articles in al-Qaeda’s online library, profiling hundreds of figures in the Jihadi Movement, and cataloging over 11,000 citations. The empirically supported findings of the project are surprising:
  • The most influential Jihadi intellectuals are clerics from Jordan and Saudi Arabia, two of the US’s closest allies in the Middle East.
  • Among them, the Jordanian cleric Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi has had the most impact on other Jihadi thinkers and has been the most consequential in shaping the worldview of the Jihadi Movement.
  • In contrast, the study finds that Usama Bin Ladin and Ayman al-Zawahiri have had little influence on other Jihadi theorists and strategists.
The Executive Report summarizes the main conclusions of this comprehensive effort and provides policy-relevant recommendations informed by these findings. The Research Compendium contains summaries of all the texts used in the study as well as biographies of the texts' authors and the figures they cite most. A link to the entire database will be available soon.