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Amb. Ahmed Book Launch: The Thistle and the Drone

WHAT:  American University’s Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies Amb. Akbar Ahmed’s book launch, The Thistle and the Drone: How America’s War on Terror Became a Global War on Tribal Islam (Brookings Press, March 2013).

WHEN: April 9, 2013: 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm

WHERE: American University, 4400 Massachusetts Ave., Washington, DC. 20016, School of International Service, Abramson Family Founder’s Room (SIS Building located at intersection of New Mexico and Nebraska Aves., NW)

WHO: Amb. Akbar Ahmed, Col. Lawrence Wilkerson (U.S. Army Ret.), chief of staff for former Secretary of State Colin Powell; Prof. Randolph Persuad, director designate Comparative & Regional Studies Program, American University School of International Service; and Congressman Dennis Kucinich.

Washington, D.C. (April 5, 2013) – American University’s Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies Amb. Akbar Ahmed’s new book, The Thistle and the Drone: How America’s War on Terror Became a Global War on Tribal Islam (Brookings March 2013) will be launched at American University on April 9. The Thistle and the Drone completes Amb. Ahmed’s trilogy about relations between the U.S. and the Muslim World after 9/11. In this latest book, Ahmed provides a fresh and unprecedented paradigm for understanding the war on terror, based in the broken relationship between tribal societies on the periphery and their central governments. Ahmed explains why the United States is in fact fighting the wrong war with the wrong methods against the wrong enemy for reasons not understood by U.S. policy decision makers at the White House, Pentagon or State Department.  

As an anthropologist and government administrator, Ahmed has first-hand knowledge of these tribal societies. He served his native Pakistan’s central government as political agent in the South Waziristan Agency– the epicenter of today’s drone warfare.  Ahmed explains how the tribes in Waziristan have historically lived outside of the state system possessing a unique language, territory, customs, and traditions, how they became part of the modern state, and the roots of the turmoil after 9/11. Beginning in Waziristan, he expands to other similar tribal societies in Central Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, and Eastern Europe. Ahmed shows how America’s war on terror has become a global war on tribal Islam creating enemies where there had been none before and where the concepts of code have been violated due to a lack of understanding the complexities of tribal culture.

Joining Amb. Ahmed to discuss his research and complexities surrounding the tripartite tensions between tribes, central governments, and the U.S. will be Col. Lawrence Wilkerson (U.S. Army Ret.), former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell; Congressman Dennis Kucinich, who opposed the Iraq War and made two bids for the Democratic presidential nomination supported by his opposition to the Iraq War; and American University Prof. Randolph Persuad who focuses his research on human and global security, north/south relations, and the global politics of race, culture and identity.

American University is a leader in global education, enrolling a diverse student body from throughout the United States and nearly 140 countries. Located in Washington, D.C., the university provides opportunities for academic excellence, public service, and internships in the nation’s capital and around the world.

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