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The Price of Fear: The Truth Behind the Financial War on Terror


The financial front of the U.S.-led “global war on terror” has largely escaped critical scrutiny. Much of what is commonly believed – about how terrorism is financed, how successful financial measures have been, etc. – is largely rooted in mythology. The “war” on “terrorist finances” was based on the axiom that “money is the oxygen of terror.” It was also driven by the quest for Osama Bin Laden’s fictitious “$300 million fortune” and by the indiscriminate application of money laundering tools devised in the 1980s as part of the “War on Drugs.” Although some of the decisions taken in the wake of the September 11 attacks were long overdue, much of what has been done on the financial front turned out to be counterproductive, and resulted in considerable collateral damage.

Ibrahim Warde is adjunct professor of international business at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University. He holds a B.A. from Université Saint Joseph in Beirut, Lebanon, an MBA from France’s École des Hautes Études Commerciales, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California at Berkeley.

His books include The Price of Fear: The Truth Behind the Financial War on Terror (The University of California Press, 2007)—which has been translated into French, Italian, Japanese, and Arabic—and Islamic Finance in the Global Economy (Edinburgh University Press, 2000 and 2009). He is also a Carnegie scholar and a frequent contributor to Le Monde diplomatique.

The Price of Fear: The Truth Behind the Financial War on Terror has been named by Foreign Affairs as one of the best books of the year about economic, social, and environmental issues.

REVIEWS

"A pleasure to read and remarkably informative about a subject that the press seems to have mangled. This ought to have a big impact."—Chalmers Johnson, author Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire

"Warde makes a compelling case against the Bush administration’s war on terror (despite its hollow claims of success everywhere). . . . Dealing as it does with the thinking and decision processes of Bush administration officials about the war on terror, the book makes a significant contribution to the burgeoning literature in security studies."—International Studies Review

"A well-reasoned critique, amounting to a stinging indictment, of the financial ‘war on terror’ as it has been practiced by the U.S. government since 9/11."—Foreign Affairs

"Ibrahim Warde exposes the Bush administration’s much ballyhooed, but often duplicitous ‘war on terrorist finances’ which has nabbed few bad guys, ruined many innocents, frozen little hot money and vastly complicated worldwide banking for the greater glory of a burgeoning American bureaucracy."—Jonathan Randal, author of Osama: The Making of a Terrorist

"Ibrahim Warde takes a long overdue skeptical look at the widely held view that money is the ‘oxygen’ of terrorism. That conclusion has resulted in a financial war on terror launched by the U.S. government that in many cases has produced meager or even counterproductive results. Warde writes with great clarity, and his book is very well reported. It is a welcome addition to a field that has been largely the preserve of alarmists with little interest in the kinds of reporting done by Warde."—Peter Bergen, author of The Osama bin Laden I Know

"Is it any wonder that with thinking like this, American policy went adrift in the war on terror, not able to find a solid base on which to move forward?"—Patrick Lloyd Hatcher, author of North Atlantic Civilization at War

"A witty, irreverent analysis of the financial ‘war on terror.’ A must read for anyone interested in the Middle East and the global economy."—Clement M. Henry, co-author of Globalization and the Politics of Development in the Middle East

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