An insider account of al-Qaida's latest assault.

Opinions about events beyond our borders.
June 16 2004 6:05 PM

Al-Qaida's Next Action Hero

An insider account of the Khobar assault.

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To thrive, any ideology must offer its adherents an ideal. As improbable as it is that these events occurred as al-Nashmi describes them, his idealized narrative presents them as they appear to the mind's eye of al-Qaida. More important, it is how al-Qaida wants its fighters and followers to see them. The pool of potential recruits teems with young men adrift amid feelings of humiliation and powerlessness, eager for a worldview that answers their questions, and hungry for action. In his account of a blood-soaked day, al-Nashmi gives them what they lack—power over life and death, a mission to rid the world of enemies, and violence as the path to deliverance.

Daniel Kimmage is the Central Asia analyst at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.