Sharing my learnings from the book, Nine Lives by Aimen Dean, PAUL Cruikshank & Tim Lister
Nine Lives by Aimen Dean, PAUL Cruikshank & Tim Lister
As one of al-Qaeda’s most respected bomb-makers, Aimen Dean rubbed shoulders with the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks and swore allegiance to Osama bin Laden.
As a double agent at the heart of al-Qaeda’s chemical weapons programme, he foiled attacks on civilians and saved countless lives, brushing with death so often that his handlers began to call him their spy with nine lives.
This is the story of how a young Muslim, determined to defend his faith, found himself fighting on the wrong side – and his fateful decision to work undercover for his sworn enemy. From the killing fields of Bosnia to the training camps of Afghanistan, from running money and equipment in Britain to dodging barrel bombs in Syria, we discover what life is like inside the global jihad, and what it will take to stop it once and for all.
- life story of Aimen Dean who set off to war to defend his Muslim faith. Years later, after having sworn loyalty to Osama Bin Laden, Aimen had come to the conclusion that al-Qaeda was using badly-informed interpretations of the Koran to justify its acts of terror. He switched sides thereafter.
- When Aimen turned 16, he became a battlefield medic, treating injured soldiers during the Serbian attacks in Bosnia. He almost lost his life when he got his legs entangled in 4 landlines. He wasn’t comfortable with the violenc he witnessed but he remained devout.
- Aimen worked for the jihadi cause in Azerbaijan, Afghanistan & Philippines but martyrdom is difficult to achieve
- Aimen pledged himself to al-Qaeda but he doubted some aspects of their mission (e.g., suicide attacks – Aimen believed that were prohibited by the Koran)
- in the wake of the Kenya attack, Aimen came to realize that murdering innocents was the direction al-Qaeda was heading, he didn’t want to be involved anymore
- having lost faith in al-Qaeda, Aimen decide to turn into an informant
- Aimen worked hard for the British intelligence in UK then in Afghanistan. He was given a nickname (the cat) by a British intelligence officer as he was said to be rattling through his nine lives)
- at the turn of the millennium, Islamis terrorism was developing rapidly and Aimen had a front-row seat
- the 9/11 attacks had been concealed and caught Aimen by surprise. Thus, increasing urgency to his work
- Aimen wanted a way out because his dream of becoming teacher remained strong. But he remembered this line from Koran “whoever saves one life – it is as if he saved mankind entirely.” So he persevered
- his career as an intelligence officer ended when the Time article came out that contained classified details credited to “Ali, a management-level al-Qaeda operative.” which blew his covers Aimen base his colleagues goodbye and claimed a new identity as Aimen (from Ali).
- after airmen’s retirement, the Islamist conflict moved in some horrifying new directions. His nephew, Ibrahim, had travelled to Syria to join the Islamic State and had been killed at the age of 19. Ibrahim’s father see his death as a sense of pride but Aimen saw only the futility of a wasted life