Two new issues of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s English-language Inspire magazine were released today. The release of the magazines demonstrates AQAP’s recognition of the propaganda value of the Inspire franchise and serves as a reminder of the group’s continued effort to target western audiences.
They are the first issues to be released since Samir Khan, believed to be the principal author of the magazine, was killed in a September 2011 drone strike along with popular jihadist ideologue and magazine contributor Anwar al-Awlaki. At the time, their deaths led to speculation of the media franchise’s demise.
Inspire 8, dated fall 2011, focuses on the legitimacy of “targeting populations of the countries that are at war with the Muslims.” The feature article, written by al-Awlaki, appears to be a piece promised in a previous issue of Inspire. “The populations of the nations that are at war with the Muslims and especially those who are at the lead such as the U.S., Britain and France,” al-Awlaki wrote, “should be targeted by the mujahidin in operations that employ explosives, poisons, firearms and all other methods that lead to inflicting the greatest harm on them…”
Inspire 9, dated “winter,” focuses on AQAP’s success in building a stronghold in Yemen. The issue also features pieces eulogizing al-Awlaki and Khan. Both issues were edited by “Yahya Ibrahim,” which some observers previously suggested was a possible pseudonym taken by Khan.
Both new issues of Inspire solicit reader involvement, welcoming “correspondence, contributions, photographs and illustrations” and provide contact information for readers to submit materials. Issue 9 also calls for disseminating the magazines as broadly as possible and speculates that the FBI “might be trying to bring down sites that host the magazine.”