Atwan, Abdel Bari 1950-

views updated

Atwan, Abdel Bari 1950-


Born 1950, in Palestine. Education: Attended American University, Cairo, and University of Cairo; University of London, M.A.


Home—London, England. E-mail—[email protected].


Writer, journalist, editor. Al-Medina newspaper, Saudi Arabia, reporter, London bureau chief, 1979-84; Al-Sharq Al-Awsat newspaper and Al Majala Sunday magazine, managing editor, 1984-88; Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper, London, England, cofounder, 1989, editor in chief, 1989—. Consultant to the British Broadcasting Corp., Independent Television News, Sky News, Cable News Network, American Broadcasting Co., Canadian Broadcasting Corp., National Broadcasting Co., Columbia Broadcasting System, and others. Lecturer, Oxford, Cambridge, and Durham Universities.


Akthar Min Ra'y (film; title means "More Than One Opinion"), Sharikat Sabah lil-I'lam (Beirut, Lebanon), for al-Jazirah (Doha, Qatar), 2004.

The Secret History of al Qaeda, University of California Press (Berkeley, CA), 2006, published as The Secret History of Al-Qa'ida, Saqi Books (London, England), 2006.

Contributor to periodicals, including the Guardian, Times, Daily and Sunday Telegraph, Independent, Economist, International Herald Tribune, and Newsweek.


Middle East expert Abdel Bari Atwan is the editor-in-chief of the London-based, pan-Arab newspaper, Al-Quds Al-Arabi and one of the few journalists ever to interview Osama Bin Laden, which he did in Tora Bora, Afghanistan, in 1996. He is also the author of the 2006 book The Secret History of al Qaeda (published in England as The Secret History of Al-Qa'ida.) Atwan has closely followed al-Qaeda over the years. Speaking with State of Nature editors Cihan Aksan and Jon Bailes, he outlined his opinion of the current state of that terrorist organization: "The Americans did a huge favour to al-Qaeda when they invaded Iraq. Since then, al-Qaeda has become ten times stronger than it used to be. It has completely transformed itself. Now al-Qaeda is not a cohesive organisation as it used to be. It's not a pyramid built organisation where Osama Bin Laden has deputies, field commanders and then the foot soldiers. It is a flat, loose organisation, it is an ideology. It doesn't need Osama Bin Laden to run its day to day affairs."

In The Secret History of al Qaeda, Atwan "objectively provides a detailed account of the organization's ideology, strategy, membership, and modus operandi," according to Library Journal contributor Nader Entessar, who also found it a "readable and informative book." Spectator reviewer Said Aburish also had praise for the same work, terming it a "wonderful small book" and "required reading for all journalists covering the present Middle East mess." Similarly, Fawaz A. Gerges, writing in Foreign Policy, felt The Secret History of al Qaeda was "a primary source on one of the most reviled and important figures of our time," Osama Bin Laden.



Foreign Policy, September-October, 2006, Fawaz A. Gerges, "The Osama Bin Laden I Know," p. 76.

International Affairs, July 1, 2006, Michael Clarke, review of The Secret History of Al-Qa'ida, p. 791.

Library Journal, December 1, 2006, Nader Entessar, review of The Secret History of al Qaeda, p. 142.

Middle East, March, 2006, Fred Rhodes, review of The Secret History of Al-Qa'ida, p. 64.

Newsweek International, August 12, 2002, "Going after Saddam," p. 60.

Spectator, April 15, 2006, Said Aburish, "The March of Folly."


Spidered News, (August 26, 2007), "Abdel Bari Atwan."

State of Nature, (August 26, 2007), Cihan Aksan and Jon Bailes, "An Interview with Abdel Bari Atwan."