After bin Laden

Al Qaeda, the Next Generation

A fearless examination of the terrorist network after the death of its longtime leader by one of the world’s foremost Al Qaeda experts

“Abdel Bari Atwan has long been one of the sharpest commentators about Al Qaeda and the Middle East.” —Peter Bergen, author of Manhunt: The Ten-Year Search for Osama bin Laden, from 9/11 to Abottabad

Osama bin Laden is dead, but Al Qaeda remains the CIA’s “number one threat.” Yet since the 9/11 attacks on the United States, the organization has evolved into a much more complex and far-flung entity, even as American military strikes have killed its most identifiable spokesmen and leaders. Moving well beyond the headlines, this richly documented and fascinating new account of Al Qaeda offers readers a completely new understanding of the organization’s aims, strategies, and fortunes in a new era of conflict with the United States and the Western powers.

Drawing on firsthand accounts and interviews with uniquely well-placed sources within Al Qaeda, noted journalist and expert Abdel Bari Atwan investigates the movement’s new internal dynamics, how it survives financially, and how its political appeal has changed dramatically following the Arab Spring. Atwan profiles the next generation of foot soldiers and leaders and explores both the new methods they embrace—especially on the digital battlefield—as well as the full global range of their operations and local variations in Somalia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, and elsewhere.

After Bin Laden is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand the latest chapter in America’s long struggle with terrorism.



“An insightful book on Al Qaeda today and tomorrow by one of the Arab world’s most renowned journalists. After Bin Laden is crucial to understanding how al Qaeda used the Arab awakening to strike back after bin Laden’s death.”
—Bruce Riedel, senior fellow in the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institute and author of The Search for Al Qaeda: Its Leadership, Ideology, and Future
“Abdel Bari Atwan has written a critically important book on the future of al Qaeda. Based on his unparalleled access to al Qaeda associates, Atwan highlights the evolution of Al Qaeda into a more complex, decentralized, yet still dangerous organization. After Bin Laden provides us with a crystal-ball glimpse into the future of Al Qaeda.”
—Seth G. Jones, senior political scientist at the RAND Corporation and author of Hunting in the Shadows: The Pursuit of Al Qa’ida Since 9/11
“Atwan offers a chilling narrative that covers [Al Qaeda] activity in Yemen and the Arabian Peninsula, where it hopes for its strongest toehold; Iraq and Afghanistan, as the U.S. departs; the Maghreb, Africa, Indonesia, China and even ex-Soviet Muslim states; and an increase in ‘lone wolf’ jihadist attacks in the West. Moreover, the group has cunningly adapted the Internet for its ideological spread. A sobering, intensive report.”
Kirkus Reviews
“Atwan captures the essence of Osama bin Laden, the man, his leadership, and why we will never be free of the legacy he left behind. Intelligent and fascinatingly readable”
—Pat Lancaster, editor in chief of Middle East Magazine
“The book we’ve been waiting for since Abbotabad. Here is painstaking research by a thoughtful investigator; intelligent, readable analysis that cuts through the DC rhetoric. Despite all those drone attacks, Al Qaeda is on the come back.”
—Paul McGeough, author of Kill Khalid: The Failed Mossad Assassination of Khalid Mishal and the Rise of Hamas

News and Reviews

The Leonard Lopate Show

Abdel Bari Atwan discusses the future of Al Qaeda on the Leonard Lopate Show

The Huffington Post

The Huff Post Politics blog reviews After Bin Laden

Goodreads Reviews