Today, Aboul-Enein is a commander in the U.S. Navy Medical Service Corps. He also serves as an adviser to leaders at the highest levels in the Defense Department and U.S. intelligence community.
Born in Mississippi, he was raised in Saudi Arabia and holds a master's degree in strategic intelligence from the National Defense Intelligence College. Today, Aboul-Enein is stationed in the Washington, D.C. area.
Osama bin Laden is the focus of a particularly engaging chapter in the book, published before bin Laden was killed.
Muhammad bin Laden, his father, had 56 children by many women. He typically had four different wives, frequently replacing the fourth one with a new wife. Osama's father married his mother when she was 15, then divorced her a year later.
Osama, the 15th of his father's 17 sons, was raised by his mother and stepfather in Saudi Arabia. But he had frequent visits with his real father, who rose from rags to riches during his own life, owning a construction company with his brother that was worth $300 million.
Aboul-Enein traces Obama's intellectual and personal development into an ideologue who promoted violence and terrorism around the world, from African nations like Sudan and Yemen, to the Philippines and Afghanistan.
Bin Laden worked to link his "financial and operational cells in Europe, the Middle East and North American with other Islamist militant groups into a global network."
Bin Laden's goal was to create a "pan-Islamist global network." Working with the Taliban in Afghanistan, he promoted ties between 14 different Arab Islamist military groups -- between al-Qaida and groups in countries including Libya, Morocco, Egypt, Tunisia and Turkey.
"Many in the Middle East do not want to adopt bin Laden's Islam or vision, but simply admire him for opposing the United States," Aboul-Enein points out.
But his book rarely elaborates on why many Middle Easterners became hostile to the United States.
"Militant Islamist Ideology," for example, never mentions events like the Shah's 1953 coup, backed by the United States, that overthrew Iran's democratically-elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddeq.
Aboul-Enein make only passing references to U.S. efforts to control oil and other natural resources in the Middle East.
And his engaging book never focuses on the devastating suffering of people in countries like Iraq, suffering heightened by policies like United Nations-backed economic sanctions from the time of the Kuwait invasion in 1990 to 2003.
"Militant Islamist Ideology" also downplays the roles played by controversial leaders like Muqtada al-Sadr in Iraq.
In his 2008 book -- "Muqtada al-Sadr, the Shia Revival and the Struggle for Iraq," Patrick Cockburn, a reporter for "The Independent" in London, calls Muqtada "the Messianic leader of the religious and political movement of the impoverished Shia underclass whose lives were ruined by a quarter of a century of war, repression and sanctions."
But Aboul-Enein's central message should encourage our citizens, as well as our military and political leaders, to pursue a much more rational response to the complex, troubling tensions in the Middle East.
"Quasi-preaching and certainty about the evils of one faith or the superiority of another have no place in the realist world of international affairs," Aboul-Enein warns.
"Let us not lapse into the epic civilizational struggle our Militant Islamist enemy desires."
Reach Paul J. Nyden at pjny...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5164.