Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) released a “special issue” of Inspire, its online magazine, on the Internet earlier this month. The publication is intended to commemorate last month’s failed attempt to detonate two bombs shipped on board cargo planes. The Long War Journal has obtained a copy of the magazine, which is AQAP’s third such publication this year.
AQAP boasts that the bombs were designed to be detonated either mid-flight or once they reached two Jewish institutions in Chicago. Even though the bombs were detected before they could be detonated, AQAP claims the operation was a success.
The cover of Inspire features “$4,200” in big, bold characters. AQAP’s terrorists say this is the sum they spent on the operation. AQAP claims that for this small amount it has forced the West to spend billions of dollars in additional security, thereby making the operation effective even though no one was killed.
AQAP’s head of foreign operations, who is not named in Inspire, writes that while “blowing up the planes would have made us very pleased” it would have been only “a plus.” AQAP’s first objective, according to Ibrahim, was to defeat the West’s security. In this, AQAP’s “experiment was a brilliant success.” Once the packages passed through security, the West would be left with “two choices,” Ibrahim says. “You either spend billions of dollars to inspect each and every package in the world or you do nothing and we keep trying again.”
AQAP has dubbed the bomb plot “Operation Hemorrhage,” with the idea being that al Qaeda and like-minded jihadists should launch numerous smaller attacks in order to force the West to spend exorbitant sums on additional layers of security.
In a separate piece, a cleric identified as Yahya Ibrahim lays out AQAP’s strategy. “What has passed is the first of a multiphased operation,” Ibrahim writes.
Ibrahim continues: “The next phase would be to disseminate the technical details of our device to the mujahidin around the world to use from their respective countries. The following phase would be for us to use our connections to mail such packages from countries that are below the radar and to use similar devices on civilian aircrafts in Western countries.”
Ibrahim says AQAP is “laying out” this strategy in advance “for our enemies” because their plan is not to inflict maximum casualties, but instead “to cause a hemorrhage in the aviation industry, an industry that is so vital for trade and transportation between the U.S. and Europe.”
AQAP also repeats a claim it first made when it took credit for the cargo planes plot. On Sept. 3, 2010, a UPS plane crashed in Dubai, killing the pilot and copilot. US and UAE officials did not blame the crash on terrorists. But AQAP says that one of its bombs was responsible. A page in the latest edition of Inspire features the date “9/3/2010” with a sentence underneath that reads, “The day a tree fell into a forest that nobody heard.”
When AQAP first made this claim in early November, UAE officials said that they would investigate the crash again but that they were unaware of any evidence to back up the claim.
As in previous communications, AQAP blasts the Saudi Kingdom. The bombs on board the cargo planes would have detonated had it not been for the Saudis’ passing intelligence onto American authorities, AQAP says. American officials have confirmed that Saudi counterterrorism authorities provided the intelligence that foiled the plot.
Saudi officials say they were informed of the plot by Jaber al Fayfi, a former Guantanamo detainee who joined AQAP but then surrendered to authorities. American officials are dubious of that claim. [See LWJ report, AQAP claims responsibility for cargo planes plot.]
Regardless of the source of the intelligence, it is clear that the Saudis tipped off the US. For this, AQAP accuses the Saudis of cooperating with Jews since the bombs were addressed to two Jewish locations in Chicago. On a page listing “questions we should be asking,” Inspire’s editors ask: “How many times are we going to see the Saudi Monarchy proving their love for the Jews?”
As in its past propaganda, AQAP portrays its terrorism, including the cargo planes bomb plot, as a response to an imagined Zionist-Crusader conspiracy against Muslims.