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October 28, 2014

Al Qaeda’s New English Magazine Harnesses Anti-Semitism

On October 19, Al Qaeda Central (AQC) released its much vaunted English-language magazine, Resurgence, which harnesses anti-Semitic and anti-Israel sentiment to urge harm against the U.S. and the West.Al Qaeda Resurgence Magazine

Using formats similar to those of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)’s Inspire magazine, Resurgence also advocates for Al Qaeda as the organization faces competition from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

The magazine’s cover story, “Besiege Them: Practical Steps Towards the Liberation of Palestine” draws upon the anti-Semitic canard that Jews control international finance. The article argues that the best means to defeat Israel is to divest from “international trade and finance” and revert to the barter system. The article uses the same strategy found in AQAP’s most recent English-language publication, Palestine: Betrayal of the Guilty Conscience, drawing readers’ attention by claiming to be about Israel, but then arguing that the best way to defeat Israel is to hurt the U.S. and the West (in this case economically), furthering Al Qaeda’s primary goals.The use of anti-Semitic themes is common in Al Qaeda and AQAP publications and messaging.

Unlike AQAP’s English language magazines, Resurgence does not provide suggestions for individual attacks in western countries. It does, however, provide a map of U.S. naval and air force bases in the Middle East and suggest attacks against them and against Western ships traveling through strategically vulnerable water channels.

This attack suggestion appears to support a larger goal of the magazine: Defending Al Qaeda and its ideology in the face of increasing opposition from ISIS.  This is evident throughout the magazine; even the introduction states, “Resurgence is a humble effort to promote a correct understanding of Jihad and explain its relevance to contemporary issues facing Muslims” (emphasis added).

Resurgence’s goal of defending AQC is also clear in its profiling of Al Qaeda affiliates throughout the world. In one article on Syria, the magazine calls on Muslims to “participate in the jihad physically” or support it financially and only referencing ISIS in a call to stop infighting between groups.

A featured quote by high-ranking Al Qaeda member Abu Dujana al Pasha states, “We call for a Caliphate based on justice, mutual consultation, harmony and unity; not a ‘Caliphate’ based on oppression, excommunication of Muslims, killing the upholders of Tauheed (monotheism), and sowing discord in the ranks of the Mujahideen.”

Resurgence magazine was released the same day that Tahrek e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP, or the Pakistani Taliban) released its own English-language magazine. Titled Reviving the Caliphate, the magazine highlights faultlines between pro and anti-ISIS factions of the TTP. Interestingly, it incorporates images taken directly from ISIS propaganda publications and calls for revival of a Caliphate, but does not cite ISIS by name. Reviving the Caliphate also attempts to appeal to Western audiences by highlighting foreign fighters involved in the TTP.

 

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March 18, 2014

New Terror Magazines Highlight Al Qaeda Commitment To Recruitment In U.S.

Inspire 12 back imageAl Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)’s March 15 release of a new issue of its English-language propaganda magazine, Inspire, coupled with Al Qaeda’s March 9 announcement of its new English-language magazine, Resurgence, demonstrates terrorist groups’ persistent commitment to radicalizing a new generation of homegrown Islamic extremists through its online initiatives.

The Spring 2014 issue of Inspire provides detailed instructions on how to build a car bomb, with suggestions of locations to plant them in New York City, Washington, D.C., Northern Virginia, Chicago and Los Angeles, as well as in the UK and France. “Many Feisal Shahzads are residing inside America,” explains the editor referring to the man who attempted to detonate a bomb in Times Square in 2010, “and all they need is the knowledge of how to make car bombs….The American government was unable to protect its citizens from pressure cooker bombs in backpacks [a reference to the Boston marathon bombing], I wonder if they are ready to stop car bombs!”

As in the past, the new issue is replete with anti-Semitic statements and highlights the supposed existence of a “Jewish enemy” to recruit terrorists.

The latest issue of Inspire also refers to several homegrown Islamic extremists that the publication claims to have influenced, including the Tsarnaev brothers who were responsible for the Boston Marathon bombing; Nidal Hasan of the Fort Hood shooting, and Feisal Shahzad, the attempted Times Square bomber.

Shortly before the release of this newest issue of Inspire, As-Sahab, the media arm of Al Qaeda’s central organization, released a slick video promoting a new terrorist magazine called Resurgence on March 9, 2014. The new magazine is likely modeled after Inspire, which has influenced numerous homegrown Islamic extremists since 2010, including the Boston bombers.

The promotional video for Resurgence, created in “kinetic typography” designed for English speaking audiences, includes a voiceover from a Malcolm X speech on violence. Over video footage of the Boston Marathon bombing, the voiceover says: “They only know one language,” alluding to violence. “You can’t ever reach a man,” the voiceover continues, “if you don’t speak his language.”

A new ADL report, Homegrown Islamic Extremism in 2013:The Perils of Online Recruitment & Self-Radicalization analyzes the rise of such online propaganda and its effects and impact on domestic security. In addition, the report looks back at 2013, when 14 American citizens or permanent residents were implicated in the U.S. on terror-related charges, ranging from domestic plots and conspiracies to providing material support to terrorists abroad. Many were directly influenced by propaganda easily accessible online, including the Boston bombers.

As Internet proficiency and the use of social media grow ever more universal, so too do the efforts of terrorist groups to exploit new technology in order to make materials that justify and sanction violence more accessible.

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