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Mark A. Noll

The New War

"Tragically timely" is the only way to describe Bruce Hoffman's Inside Terrorism. Hoffman has been working at this subject for 20 years, first at the RAND Corporation in California, then for the last several years as director of the Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence at the University of Saint Andrews in Scotland. Hoffman finished the book in January 1998. During the weeks before the book's official publication date of September 17, the daily press became a series of case studies on the themes of Hoffman's lifework:

  • August 7: Bombs explode at two United States embassies in Africa, killing 10 at Dar es Salaam in Tanzania and 253 at Nairobi in Kenya, with thousands more injured.
  • August 15: A car bomb detonates in Omagh, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland, killing 28 civilians, the majority of whom are women and children, including several from the Irish Republic.
  • August 20: U.S. Cruise missiles take out the Shifa pharmaceutical factory in Khartoum, Sudan, and slam into suspected terrorist camps in Afghanistan as reprisals against the organization of Osama bin Laden, a multimillionaire exiled from Saudi Arabia and suspected of masterminding the African attacks.
  • September 3: President Clinton visits Omagh on his way back to the United States from a summit in Moscow and solemnly offers his thanks to the survivors of the blast for "restating your determination to walk the road of peace." On the same day Louis Freeh, Director of the fbi, tells the Senate Judiciary Committee that while the number of terrorist incidents around the world is declining, the casualties from such attacks are rising dramatically.
  • The first week of September: The Irish and British parliaments both race to pass legislation aimed at "the Real ira" and other paramilitary splinter groups resisting the peace accord signed last Easter week by the main political factions in Northern Ireland.

If ever there was a time for a book providing informed perspective on the origins, development, goals, ...

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