Wednesday, March 30, 2011

INSPIRE, Issue #5 Released by Al-Qa'ida in the Arabian Peninsula: Analysis of New Article by Anwar al-'Awlaqi & Interview with AQAP's Qasim al-Raymi

UPDATE (September 27, 2011): New 7th issue of INSPIRE has just been released.

UPDATE (July 19, 2011):
Images and non-militant download links for the just-released sixth issue of Inspire HERE.

Al-Qa'ida in the Arabian Peninsula's (AQAP) Al-Malahem (Epics, Epic Battles) Media Foundation released the fifth issue of its English-language Internet magazine Inspire today. The issue features a new article by the radical American Muslim preacher Anwar al-'Awlaqi (Awlaki, Aulaqi) and an exclusive interview with AQAP's senior military commander, Qasim al-Raymi (Raimi, Rimi), who is also known by the nom de guerre Abu Hurayrah (Hurairah) al-San'ani (the one from San'a, the capital of Yemen). The interview is published with what is, I believe, a new photograph of al-Raymi. If it is indeed a new photograph, it suggests that the Inspire production team may have more access, perhaps through intermediaries or couriers and not directly, to top AQAP brass than some analysts believe.

Although the approaching close of McGill's semester, and the requisite exams and seminar papers and presentations, prevents me from focusing too much on the new issue, I wanted to write a post with some of my initial thoughts on what I see as two of the key pieces, the new al-'Awlaqi article and the al-Raymi interview. Screenshots of both pieces, which can be enlarged by clicking on them, are included below.

Al-Raymi cites secret U.S. government cabals released by Wikileaks as proof of its nefarious activities, though he notes that the truth of these activities are not a surprise to AQAP. He also notes with satisfaction that U.S. president Barack Obama, who has ordered military strikes across the Muslim world, now has to worry about homegrown militancy and attacks inside the U.S. Al-Raymi encourages Muslims everywhere, including inside the U.S., to launch attacks. He justifies AQAP's military campaign against the Zaydi Shi'i Houthi movement in the northern Yemeni governorate of Sa'adah by implying that the Houthis are really Twelver Shi'is (Rafidah or "Rejectionists" of "true Islam"), accusing them of participating in the campaign against AQAP, and claiming that they are "encroaching" on Sunni lands in Yemen. He also denies Obama's claim that AQAP, AQ Central, and other jihadi-takfiri groups have killed more Muslims than the U.S., implying that a "pharaoh" like Obama cannot be trusted.

Al-'Awlaqi attempts to analyze the popular uprisings in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, and Yemen, though his central focus is on Egypt and Libya. Dating the first "large scale" operation of the "modern jihad movement" to the 1981 assassination of Egyptian president Anwar al-Sadat, he notes with glee that al-Sadat's successor, Mubarak, has also been removed from office, though in a different manner. Al-'Awlaqi writes that "the first and probably most important change" that has occurred in the Arab world with the resignation of Mubarak is "a mental one...It brought a change to the collective mind of the ummah [worldwide Muslim community.] The revolution broke the barriers of fear in the hearts and minds [of the people] that the tyrants couldn't be removed." Western leaders, he writes, are now fearful that their longtime lackeys are falling and they, the United States and European countries, do not know what type of governments will replace them.

A successful end result to the uprisings need not be a jihadi-takfiri-style state, al-'Awlaqi writes: "We do not know yet what the outcome would be, and we do not have to. The outcome doesn't have to be an Islamic government for us to consider what is occurring to be a step in the right direction. Regardless of the outcome, whether it is an Islamic government or the likes of al-Baradi [Egyptian politician], Amr Mousa [Egyptian politician and secretary-general of the Arab League] or another military figure; whatever the outcome is, out mujahidin brothers in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and the rest of the Muslim world will get a chance to breathe again after three decades of suffocation." His argument here highlights the Arab-centric outlook of many Arab jihadi-takfiri scholars and ideologues. Presumably, the so-called "mujahideen" (warriors of faith) in places such as East Turkestan/Xinjiang province in China, Pakistan, and Southeast Asia will remain under pressure. This, however, is not as important to al-'Awlaqi and many Arab jihadi-takfiris as what happens in the Arab world. He spins the severe crackdown of the Mubarak regime on Egyptian militant Islamists, writing that it was not a success and merely achieved the dispersal of Egyptian militants "all over the world."

Al-'Awlaqi's description of events in Yemen show that he wrote this article some time ago, probably right after Mubarak's resignation and certainly before Yemen's president 'Ali 'Abdullah Saleh was, it seems now, on the brink of being forced to step down. Al-'Awlaqi writes theoretically: "The fruits of what happened in Egypt are not exclusive to Egypt. In fact we might probably witness the greatest effect of what is happening in Egypt outside of Egypt. One such place might turn out to be Yemen. Yemen already has a fragile government and the events of Egypt are only going to add pressure on it." He notes that the weakening of Saleh's government "would undoubtedly bring with it more strength for the mujahidin in this blessed land. Yemen would also represent another great opportunity for the West to show their hypocrisy of calling for freedoms while supporting a dictator just because they do not want Muslims to be ruled by Islam." His highlighting of U.S., Canadian, and European support for Arab dictators is key and, unfortunately, true. Al-'Awlaqi's discussion of events in Yemen stand in stark contrast to a full-page graphic elsewhere in the issue that shows Yemen as "almost complete."

On a more entertaining note, even he notes how crazy Libyan dictator Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi (Qaddafi, Gaddafi, Kadafi) is and writes that anything will be better than him.

Samir Khan, the editor of Inspire, lectures Egyptians about what they "must do" now that Mubarak is gone, channeling the stern condescending tone of Al-Qa'ida Central's (AQC) deputy leader, Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri.


The PDF of the magazine may be downloaded via these NON-militant URLs:

The password to unpack the file is: Ryi2HJcdioDFRtendskG4Gh

Previous posts I've written on earlier issues of Inspire:

Issue #1

Issue #2

Issue #3

Issue #4

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