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May 2, 2012 Off

Al Qaeda’s Inspire Magazine Resurrected!

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.”