Conflict & Justice

Only connect

Ever wondered how terrorists connect? Or what a stint in Guantanamo and then religious rehab will do for an aspiring jihadi?

Billed as a first-of-its-kind, the Carenegie Middle East Program has just published an interactive site that hopes to answer those and many more questions researchers on Islamist terrorism might have.

Based on research by Christopher Boucek, Carnegie’s expert on terrorism in Yemen and Saudi Arabia, the site offers an opportunity to explore the people, places, and organizations that impacted the lives of the prominent Saudi terrorists known as the Saudi Eleven. 

These eleven men share a similar story: Each had been detained at Guantanamo Bay, underwent rehabilitation after returning to Saudi Arabia, and subsequently fled to Yemen and joined al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

Visitors can click on an icon to see basic biographical information, or click on the lines connecting any two icons to learn more about the relationship. The individual timelines and map locations are a bit thin on the ground, as might be expected for these recluisive figures, but by representing relationships visually Carengie says it hopes to provide a template through which users can better understand the social and other connections between actors tied to global terrorism so that more effective strategies be crafted to reduce the threat.