May 2, 2012 -- The men who launched al Qaeda's English-language magazine may have died in a U.S. missile strike last fall, but "Inspire" magazine lives on without them -- and continues to promote jihadi attacks on Western targets, offering detailed advice on how to start huge forest fires in America with timed explosives and how to build remote-controlled bombs.
Two new issues of "Inspire" magazine have surfaced on jihadi forums, the first since radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki and chief Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula propagandist Samir Khan were killed by missiles from a U.S. drone over Yemen on September 30, 2011. The magazines eulogize Awlaki and Khan as the "spirit" and the "tongue" of "Inspire" respectively, but deny that their deaths will stop the magazine or jihad.
The second of the two issues seems to have been prepared after Khan and Awlaki's deaths. "To the disappointment of our enemies," says one of the articles, "issue 9 of Inspire magazine is out against all odds ... The Zionists and the Crusaders thought that the magazine was gone with the martyrdom of Shaykh Anwar and brother Samir. Yet again, they have failed to come to terms with the fact that the Muslim ummah is the most fertile and most generous mother that gives birth to thousands and thousands of the likes of Shaykh Anwar and brother Samir."
The ummah is apparently not giving birth to proofreaders, however, since both issues are riddled with typos, including one on the cover of issue nine, where a headline asks whether the West or al Qaeda is "Wining on the Ground." Issue eight, which includes the last editorial note from Samir Khan, also displays a help-wanted ad, asking for researchers and translators, "sisters' willing to write articles," and "people who can preserve permanent internet links for all of the magazine issues." Popular jihadi web forums have recently been plagued by unknown cyberhackers who have taken some of the sites offline for weeks at a time.
The magazines have also lost some of the snark and American colloquialisms favored by the U.S.-raised Samir Khan, who memorably titled one of his articles urging Western Muslims to wage lone wolf attacks "Make a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom." But issue nine carries equally lethal advice, with "It Is of Your Freedom to Ignite a Firebomb," which gives detailed instructions on how to ignite an "ember bomb" in a U.S. forest, recommending Montana because of the rapid population growth in wooded areas.
"In America, there are more houses built in the [countryside] than in the cities," says the writer, who uses the pseudonym The AQ Chef. "It is difficult to choose a better place [than] in the valleys of Montana."
Issue eight has an eight-page article on how to construct remote-controlled explosives, with a laundry list of parts and ingredients and photos showing proper assembly.
In addition, issue eight provides tips on training with a handgun and issue nine provides advice on how to be an urban assassin.
But much of the magazine is taken up by lengthy tributes to Khan and Awlaki, with one writer confirming that Awlaki had survived a near miss from one drone strike before being taken out by a second. According to the article, after his close call, Awlaki said, "This time 11 missiles missed [their] target, but the next time the first rocket may hit it."
Awlaki's premonition "proved to be true," says the writer. "I wish I had been with them so I could have attained a great attainment."