The second issue of Inspire, the magazine issued by the media outlet of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) known as “Al-Malahim Media Foundation” is living up to its name, at least on paper, in trying to INSPIRE English-language al-Qaeda supporters to cross that proverbial threshold from thought to action.
Here’s what I think are the most important points to take away from the magazine off my first skim through. I will be blogging more in-depth analysis in days to come. I’ll also be monitoring the response from the jihobbyist fan base aggressively.
1. This magazine is focused on giving average guys who generally support al-Qaeda but feel like one man can’t make a difference the kick in the butt that they need to move from thought to action. It is an effort to provide as many role-models to emulate and potential paths for action to adopt as possible.
2. Inspire is the magazine equivalent of Anwar al-Awlaki: it is a populist publication, it’s for the jihadi everyman. Whereas previous publications used to focus on making complex arguments and exploring sophisticated issues in-depth, this series is focused on mobilizing: on actualizing potential. They believe that there are a lot of loaded guns out there in the form of angry kids in the West. They just need someone to pull the trigger: Al-Qaeda believes they can be this trigger.
Here are some of the images out of the magazine. More analysis to follow on them sooner:
This image is from the magazine’s recommendation that people should take their pick-up trucks and weld on metal blades to the front bumpers so that inspired individuals can drive them into crowds of pedestrians. Again, this is an attempt to lower the threshold one feels that they need in terms of operational sophistication to launch an al-Qaeda attack. You no longer need to know how to make bombs or even how to shoot guns. Just get into your truck and go kill infidels.
The whole point of this journal is to make conducting terrorism a n easier pill to swallow for potential would-be terrorists in the West. It acculturates them, serving more like a guide book to the foreign country of terrorism operations – it tells them what to expect, how to act and where to go.
Beyond trying to provide the answers, which is important, it goes far beyond that: it actually tries to shape the very questions that its followers believe are important to address. In other words, this magazine attempts to establish the bounds of the discourse – it shapes the very issues that jihadist supporters in the West believe are important to address.
It also showcases the methodology that I will be talking about in-depth in my upcoming Foreign Policy magazine piece about using our own words against us. This methodology, popularized in the 2007 Power of Truth video by As-Sahab, is now standard operating procedure for jihadi journalists and the rallying cry by which AQ tries to transform its passive consumers into active reproducers – doing what Abu Musab al-Suri advocates of making every jihadi follower a propaganda outlet unto themselves.