Academic journal article Military Review

The Wolves of Islam

Academic journal article Military Review

The Wolves of Islam

Article excerpt

THE WOLVES OF ISLAM, Paul Murphy, Potomac Books, Washington, DC, 2006, 268 pages, $18.95

Paul Murphy has traveled extensively in Russia and Central Asia, and The Wolves of Islam, his fifth book, is an insightful account of the prolonged Chechen insurgency in the Caucasus. Relevant to both the long war and the ongoing counterinsurgencies in Afghanistan and Iraq, it looks at a ruthless insurgency animated by nationalism and a radicalized Wahabbist version of Islamist ideology. The book is salient because it analyzes the external support of transnational nonstate armed groups and the financing linked to Al-Qaeda and its associated movements. Military strategists, defense specialists, and counterterrorism practitioners will also find the book useful because it covers a broad array of insidious asymmetric methods that the Chechens and some of their Arab allies have employed to inflict losses on Russian forces and protract the Chechen war.

Murphy offers a descriptive, chronological narrative of the characters and events between 1994 and 2004 that helped precipitate and protract a mélange of internal and external insurgent and terrorist actions in the Caucasus and the Russian heartland. Some of the violence and perfidy it captures is so barbaric that it seems surreal. …

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