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Friday, July 8, 2011

Happy Birthday Inspire!

Well, it's been about one year since the American clique at Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula rolled out "Inspire" magazine for an adoring public. During that time, the project -- run by American cleric Anwar Awlaki and American blogger Samir Khan -- has captured a lot of the public imagination regarding the nature of the war on terrorism, without producing a lot of clearly quantifiable results.

The burning question of the moment is whether Inspire -- which is not all that original or unique despite its press -- is facing the same fate as News of the World.

It's been four months since the last issue of Inspire hit virtual newsstands -- the longest period in between issues since the magazine was founded.

During that period, Osama bin Laden was killed, which is the kind of thing Inspire should have made hay from by now. On the other hand, intel leaked from the raid at Stately Bin Laden Manor indicates that the big man was not enamored of Inspire's creative approach to terrorism, which was apparently too bloodthirsty for the man behind the deaths of almost 3,000 civilians September 11. This long silence also comes in the wake of a reported near miss by a drone targeting Awlaki and the outbreak of near civil war in Yemen.

Is Inspire on hiatus for an editorial reevaluation in light of bin Laden's withering critique? Are Awlaki and Khan too busy running for their lives to propagandize? Have they been handed rifles and sent to the front lines in Zinjabar? Stay tuned...

For much more about Inspire and Awlaki, check out my new book, Jihad Joe: Americans Who Go to War in the Name of Islam, on sale everywhere. Journalists interested in discussing this issue can contact me here. For reviews and additional information about the book, click here.

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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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