E-mail this page link


Modern Jihad
By: Loretta Napoleoni

Posted December 22, 2003

Published by Pluto Press, (ISBN: 0-7453-2117-8) $24.95 US

“This book breaks new ground, offering fresh insights into some of the financial underpinnings of contemporary terrorism.”  Alex P. Schmid, Senior Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Officer, Terrorism Prevention Branch, United Nations

Modern Jihad: Tracing the Dollars Behind the Terror Networks propels the reader into the netherworld of illegal organizations. From the Contras al-Qaeda, Loretta Napoleoni maps out the arteries of an international economic system that feeds armed groups the world over with an endless supply of cash. Chasing terror money, she takes the reader from CIA headquarters to the smuggling routes of the Far East, from the back rooms of Wall Street to Hawata exchanges in the Middle East.

The ‘new economy of terror’ that Napoleoni identifies is a 1.5 trillion-dollar fast-growing economic system. It is made up of illegal businesses such as arms and narcotics trading, oil and diamonds smuggling, as well as charitable donations and profits from legal businesses. Most importantly, Napoleoni reveals the interdependency between economies run by armed groups and western economies.

Modern Jihad is the first book to tackle issues raised by September 11th 2001 from a specifically economic perspective. Presenting an astonishing array of evidence taken from extensive research and interviews, the book is a fascinating account of controversial issues that lie at the heart of many of today's international problems.

Revealing how the ‘new economy of terror’ has evolved by proxy through various wars - from the Cold War to today's war on terror - Napoleoni argues that Islamic terror groups are driven by real economic forces in the Muslim world. Shifting the focus away from religious and cultural differences, Napoleoni assesses the full extent of the role of the West in developing the economies of armed organizations and provides a valuable insight into real factors dividing ‘East’ and ‘West’.

Praise for Modern Jihad

  • ”This thoroughly and incisive inquiry yields much insight into some of the most important issues of today, and tomorrow.”  Noam Chomsky

  • ”This book opens a Vista onto the complex financial background of global terrorism and, in the process, on to some of the under-publicized characteristics of the new (post Cold War) economy.”  George Magnus, Chief Economist, UBS Warburg

  • ”A tour-de-force of detective work in economics and theory building in politics that sheds
    new light on the most worrying phenomenon of the new millennium.”
      Professor Paul Gilbert, University of Hull, and author of New Terror, New War

  • ”Loretta Napoleoni has accomplished an extraordinary task of research in tracking, finding and graphically describing the financiers and the institutions supporting global terrorism, including al-Qaeda and how Osama bin Laden. Her book is the most definitive account seen so far of the deep and intricate links between terrorist networks and organized crime, from the Italian Mafia to the new Eastern European networks.”  John K. Cooley, correspondent for ABC News and author of Unholy Wars: Afghanistan, America and International Terrorism

  • ”A masterpiece… This book should be required reading for everyone in the White House, State Department and Pentagon.”  Greg Palast, journalist and author of The New York Times best seller The Best Democracy Money Can Buy

  • ”Penetrating lucid and essential.”  Henry Porter, author of Empire State and A Spy's Life

  • ”Loretta Napoleoni’s description of the ‘new economy of terror’ shows how terrorist financing poses a great threat to our free market system and our shared world.”  Raymond W. Baker, Senior Fellow, Center for International Policy

  • ”Topical and illuminating. Anyone who wants to know about the under-world of terrorist organizations and how they are financed must read this book.”  G. Kenneth Bernhard, Connecticut State Representative

About the Author

Lauretta Napoleoni is an economist who has worked for banks and international organizations in Europe and the U.S. She is also a journalist and has worked as a foreign correspondent for several Italian financial papers. She has written novels and guidebooks in Italian, and translated and edited books on terrorism. Her most recent novel, Dossier Baghdad, is a financial thriller set during the Gulf War. She was among the few people to interview the Red Brigades in Italy after three decades of silence.


FAIR USE NOTICE: This site contains copyrighted articles and information about environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. This news and information is displayed without profit for educational purposes, in accordance with, Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 of the US Copyright Law. is a non-advocacy internet web site, edited by non-affiliated U.S. citizens. editor