Inspire 10: Changes In Attitudes.. Changes In Lattitudes…
We Are All Usama
Well the boys out of Yemen have created a new-ish version of Inspire Magazine and put it out for the masses of “Lone Wolves” in the West.At least that is their hope for their target audience though I am afraid that it is much more likely that the real readers are analysts like me and the press in reality however. This go around though they are in fact making some strides towards having a more “Western” and compelling message for those weak enough of mind to buy into their arguments of why a Muslim must perform Jihad.One of those exhortations is the phrase “We are all Usama” which somewhat resembles other catch phrases in past Western movements such as the 99% OWS movement today of “We are the 99%” What it shows is that the creators of the magazine are becoming more savvy to the ways of propaganda and are likely at home right now studying Goebbels and the films of Leni Riefenstahl for clues on how to get their brand across. Speaking of branding this whole magazine idea has been a leap forward for their means of trying to propagate their radical ideas and with each one they get a little closer to content that can actually sway the weak minded and this is almost worrisome… Almost. For the most part the magazine is still a ham-fisted attempt at trying to sway the believers into action but there are areas of subtlety that I think people should pay attention to.
Some New Twists
On the whole this is the same magazine that we have seen in the last 9 iterations. There are the usual citations of the Koran and Muhammad that attempt to focus in on the demand of Jihad by him as well as how through it you will gain rich rewards with him in the afterlife. However in this issue we have some new angles;
- We have a Muslima section by “Umm Yahya” *Mother of Yahya* that attempts to move Muslim women to push their men to jihad
- We have the “We are all Usama” catch phrase that has been set up to be a kind of TURK182 graffito to be splayed anywhere and everywhere
- A less strident tone overall that attempts to cajole the audience
- The use of ethics discourse on how the West is corrupt
- The coining of new portmanteau words such as Zio-Crusade and Zio-Crusaders
- Mirroring the political campaigns of the West using imagery and propaganda techniques
It seems that since the death of Samir the AQAP Al-Malahem group also had a new player in Askar Abu Yazeed who has since been killed in a drone attack. He may in fact have been one of the creators of some of this new spin but I can also assume that they have had plenty of time to try and come to grips with their issues of messaging in the interim. As I have said before in reports on issues 1-9 they have been grappling with a way to get their message to those Westernized Muslims and sway them to action. So far they have had very limited success with this and thus they are working the problems out with propaganda tools and psychology. As the Al Qaeda aegis wanes and the movement keeps having to move (or expand as they see it) to other countries like Mali (also mentioned in this issue as a great victory for them in their minds) I believe that the core group thinks the only way to revive the movement is to get a win on Western soil and that means to charge up the “lone wolves” of the Americas.
This also applies to any Westernized group and in fact the issue also makes this point clear that their main targets are America, England, Germany, and to a lesser extent anyone who sides with America. Generally though AQAP wants to move those on the cusp of action into it now by more subtle means as well as the overt. This magazine has a little of both in there which should be something we pay attention to in the CT community. It’s not just a war of bullets, it’s now a war of minds seeking to control others to get them to radicalize and act. AQAP has wanted that pivot point for some time and since AQ has been marginalized they want it even more. So much so that a new pivot has been introduced on the jihadist boards online where they set forth a plan to train people in the Pakistan and other areas then send them back to the West to train others in terror. No longer are they asking the proto jihadi to come to them nor are they saying to make bombs in mom’s kitchen (this did not work out well) they are instead becoming more tactically savvy. Will these tactics win out in the end and lead to some lone wolf carrying out a plan to fruition? I am not so sure but one has to pay attention to the message here to understand where the battle is going. I have to say that this issue was the closest one for me to something that would indeed get someone to move closer to action out of them all.
At the end of the day I have to say that the AQAP group is becoming more savvy and thus more of a limited danger. I say limited danger because I can only foresee a few jihobbyists being moved by these magazines to literal action. The psychology and sociological gaps between experiences here in the West as opposed to those in the lands of the Ummah are large and so radicalization here is a tough nut to crack. One of the more notable things in this issue are the subtleties that have been employed by the writers. They have begun to use manipulative means of guilt such as an article about those still sitting behind the shahid (meaning those who have not taken action and become martyrs) to chide those reading the magazine. They also have begun using the Muslima angle rather adroitly with the article by Umm Yahya which starts off stating that she would love to be a mujahideen and would gladly become shahid. It goes on to wind its way to exhort the other Muslima out there to urge their men to become jihadi’s and fulfill their greater destiny. It’s a sly way to get a synergy going with those true believers to act and it’s really the first time I have seen this out of the AQAP/Malahem machine. Overall I don’t believe that this will win hearts and minds that in turn will beget lone wolf actors but I cannot discount the odd whacknut who buys it hook, line, and sinker either. I guess it’s just the next wave in the jihadi propaganda war that will mostly be played out online… And that is just fine with me because it is still one that never will be won by AQ.