Knowing the Enemy: A Book Review

Mary Habeck, an associate professor at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University has published a book that has been billed as an authoritative study of jihadist ideology. The book, Knowing the Enemy, published by the Yale University Press, has generally received good reviews, at least insofar as it gets at the explicit teachings and ideology of what Habeck has termed jihadism. While I would certainly agree that Habeck has done a good job of explicating this ideology and sharing with us the ideological nuances that distinguishes one group of jihadists from another, the usefulness of the book might be said persuasively to end there. Her failure results in almost laughable recommendations on how to confront jihadism which she tosses in at the end of the book. That failure is her inability or unwillingness to apply rigorous and scholarly discipline to the underlying theme made explicit throughout the book: Jihadism draws on historically traditional...(Read Full Article)