Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) released the latest issue of Inspire magazine on Christmas Eve. The new issue contains a recipe for making a bomb powerful enough to bring down an air liner.
Inspire Issue 13 is over 100 pages long and opens with a communication from al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri. Zawahiri argues that America’s electoral system makes all Americans responsible for American foreign policy, and thus makes every American a justifiable target. The letter then abruptly shifts to a list of seven things America should do. These include accepting Islam as the one true religion and creating a new culture modeled on Islamic faith. At one point, Zawahiri writes, “We regret to inform you that you are the worst civilization in the history of the human race.” The remainder of the list is more political, such as a recommendation to “pack your bags and leave our countries.”
After this opening justification of violence, the rest of the issue is devoted to encouraging it. There is an interview with the “AQ Chef” who previously wrote the guide titled “How to Make a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom.” That guide, which involved using a pressure cooker to hold a homemade bomb, was apparently followed by the Boston Marathon bombers.
The last half of the issue is devoted to plans for “The Hidden Bomb” which is designed to elude metal detectors, dog,s and chemical sniffers at airports. The magazine frames this as a revised version of the underwear bomb which Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab attempted to ignite on Christmas Day, 2009. After a detailed description, with photos, of how to build the bomb and detonator, the writer delicately suggests hiding the bomb where TSA “do not reach and have no right to touch or pat, like ‘Umar Fārouq did.”
In 2009, Umanr Farouk boarded a Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Detroit. He attempted to ignite a bomb which was intended to shatter the plane, but the bomb only set a fire. The fire burned off Farouk’s pants (and severely injured him) and set fire to the inside of the cabin. Farouk was subdued by a Dutch passenger who was on vacation, and the fire in the cabin was extinguished.
Though Farouk’s bombing was not a succes,s in the sense that it did not bring down the plane or kill anyone, the new al Qaeda magazine praises it as a success, because it succeeded in instilling terror. The real goal of the copycat bomb is not simply mass death but to “crush the enemy’s economy,” presumably by making people afraid to fly.
The final few pages of the issue are devoted to possible targets. The magazine recommends would-be bombers strike civil aviation, specifically identifying four U.S. air carries (plus two British and two French airlines).
In addition to the bomb making, the new issue of Inspire is clearly aimed at promoting more lone wolf jihad attacks. The magazine praises the bombing of the Boston Marathon, the shooting attack by Nidal Hasan at Fort Hood, the murders committed by Ali Muhammad Brown, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau’s attack in Canada, and the two recent hatchet attacks on police. Alton Nolan, the man who allegedly decapitated a woman at his workplace in Moore, Oklahoma, is also mentioned twice. These are precisely the kind of attacks AQAP’s Inspire magazine hopes to continue to inspire.