With more than 35 years experience of jihadist activism, Abu Mus'ab al-Suri remains the foremost theoretician in the global jihadist movement today, despite his capture in Pakistan in late 2005. After having participated in the founding of Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan in 1988, al-Suri, whose real name is Mustafa Sethmarian Nasar, trained a whole generation of young jihadis at his camps in Afghanistan. When he moved back to Spain in the early 1990s, al-Suri took part in establishing Al-Qaeda networks in Europe. In the mid-1990s, he rose to prominence in jihadi circles as editor of the London-based bulletin of the Algerian Groupe Islamique Armee, the most deadly Islamist terrorist group operating in Europe at the time. Al-Suri later formed his own media centre and training camp in Taleban-ruled Afghanistan, to which he returned in 1998. Building on his extensive military experience from the Syrian Islamist insurgency in the early 1980s, he contributed decisively to formulating Al-Qaeda's global warfare strategy. Throughout his writings there is a desire to learn from past mistakes and rectify the course of the jihadi movement. His 1,600 page masterpiece, "The Global Islamic Resistance Call", outlines a broad strategy for the coming generation of Al-Qaeda, with a keen eye for the practical implementation of jihadi guerrilla warfare theories. His ideas of how to maximise the political impact of jihadi violence and how to build autonomous cells for 'individualised terrorism' have inspired many jihadi militants of today. The book includes a translation of two key chapters from al-Suri's seminal work "The Global Islamic Resistance Call".
Brynjar Lia is a research professor at the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI). He is the author of several books on Islamism and terrorism, including Globalisation and the Future of Terrorism and A Police Force without a State: A History of the Palestinian Security Forces in the West Bank and Gaza.