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Sunday, July 11, 2010

Full AQAP Inspire Issue Posted Online

I am fighting deadlines today, but I wanted to make a couple of quick observations following on my earlier pieces.

  • Coverage of AQ's "New English Magazine," 1 of 2
  • Coverage of AQ's "New English Magazine," 2 of 2

    First, and most important, if the editors of Inspire are to be believed, then Anwar Awlaki did play a direct role in the creation and production of Inspire. There is at least one article by Awlaki which is characterized as an original piece written for the magazine.

    So clarifying some earlier questions, the magazine is, at the least, formally endorsed by Awalki. I suspect we're still looking at a jihobbyist production, but as I noted earlier, Awlaki and AQAP's active role in the magazine does open the door to a "material support of terrorism" charge for any Americans who helped produce it.

    The most important article in AQAP Inspire is not Awlaki's fairly pedestrian article on the Danish cartoons, but a guide for aspiring Westerners about what to expect and how to prepare when you go to jihad overseas.

    The format still strongly resembles Jihad Recollections, but it seems to me the content is a bit more sophisticated and a bit more activist in terms of what it expects its readers to do after perusing the issue.

    Overall, I'm sticking with much of my earlier analysis of the magazine as cited above. I will say that the magazine is, in some ways, a step up from Al-Hussam in terms of its sophistication as a magazine. It's probably also an upgrade in terms of content, except for the impression that its main participants (writers of original articles and editors) appear to the reader's eye to be mostly noncombatants -- a category that includes Awlaki, I might add. Al-Hussam had tremendous credibility for its unpretentious style and links to actual fighters. In contrast, Inspire is a bit effete.

    That's all for now, but I may ring in with some additional thoughts later.

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    INTELWIRE is a web site edited by J.M. Berger. a researcher, analyst and consultant covering extremism, with a special focus on extremist activities in the U.S. and extremist use of social media. He is a non-resident fellow with the Brookings Institution, Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World, and author of the critically acclaimed Jihad Joe: Americans Who Go to War in the Name of Islam, the only definitive history of the U.S. jihadist movement, and co-author of ISIS: The State of Terror with Jessica Stern.


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