Jihad’s teenage wasteland

Uriel Sinai/Getty Images In today’s WaPo, David Ignatius rightly calls Marc Sageman’s new book, Leaderless Jihad, required reading for politicians as they stump on the terrorism threat. Better yet, they can read Sageman’s feature in the new issue of FP, “The Next Generation of Terror.” In the piece, Sageman, whose resume, Ignatius writes, would “suit ...

596237_080228_jihad2.jpg
596237_080228_jihad2.jpg
HAWARA, WEST BANK - FEBRUARY 3: (ISRAEL OUT) A fifteen-year-old Palestinian is blindfolded and arrested at the Hawara checkpoint, on February 3, 2005 at the entrance to the West Bank city of Nablus. According to military sources, the teenager was arrested after soldiers discovered an explosive belt in his bag. (Photo by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images)

Uriel Sinai/Getty Images

In today's WaPo, David Ignatius rightly calls Marc Sageman's new book, Leaderless Jihad, required reading for politicians as they stump on the terrorism threat. Better yet, they can read Sageman's feature in the new issue of FP, "The Next Generation of Terror."

In the piece, Sageman, whose resume, Ignatius writes, would "suit a postmodern John le Carré," profiles the new wave of global jihadists. They are younger than their forebears, self-recruited, lacking in any leadership, globally connected through the Web, and anxious for the action that they believe will make them heroes. They are, in essence, terrorist wannabes, and the absence of any overarching control or physical network makes this new generation all the more dangerous and difficult to detect. But, as Sageman shows, this leaderless movement also contains the keys to its own demise.

Uriel Sinai/Getty Images

In today’s WaPo, David Ignatius rightly calls Marc Sageman’s new book, Leaderless Jihad, required reading for politicians as they stump on the terrorism threat. Better yet, they can read Sageman’s feature in the new issue of FP, “The Next Generation of Terror.”

In the piece, Sageman, whose resume, Ignatius writes, would “suit a postmodern John le Carré,” profiles the new wave of global jihadists. They are younger than their forebears, self-recruited, lacking in any leadership, globally connected through the Web, and anxious for the action that they believe will make them heroes. They are, in essence, terrorist wannabes, and the absence of any overarching control or physical network makes this new generation all the more dangerous and difficult to detect. But, as Sageman shows, this leaderless movement also contains the keys to its own demise.

It’s a fascinating piece that challenges many of today’s conventional wisdoms about terrorism and demands a rethink of who poses the greatest threat in the years to come. Sageman will be answering readers’ questions in just a few weeks. Just send any questions you have for him to letters@ForeignPolicy.com by Mar. 25 and we’ll post his responses here on Mar. 31.

Carolyn O'Hara is a senior editor at Foreign Policy.

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