Latest issue of Inspire highlights al Qaeda succession


The cover of the latest edition of Inspire. Image from the SITE Intelligence Group.

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has released the sixth edition of its Inspire magazine. The magazine commemorates Osama bin Laden on its cover and on multiple pages. The editor of Inspire also asks Allah to protect al Qaeda’s new emir, Ayman al Zawahiri.

In a “letter from the editor,” Yahya Ibrahim writes that it was fitting for bin Laden’s life to end in martyrdom because he had supposedly given up so much for the jihadist cause. “Now Shaykh Ayman carries the banner,” Ibrahim writes, according to the latest copy of Inspire, provided by the SITE Intelligence Group. “He has been at the forefront of Islamic work and now will lead the organization he helped found. We ask Allah to assist Shaykh Ayman in this great task.”

In a separate “news flash” item, Inspire’s editors say that the mujahedeen will keep fighting under Zawahiri’s leadership.

“After the martyrdom of Shaykh Usama, the al Qaeda central leadership selected Shaykh Ayman al-Zawahiri, may Allah preserve him, as the new Amir,” a caption under a picture of Zawahiri reads. Inspire’s editors continue: “America is aware that with his invaluable experience and impressive wisdom, the mujahedin continue to fight and lay down their lives for the truth until there remains none to be worshiped except Allah, The Exalted.”

AQAP is the latest al Qaeda affiliate to praise the selection of Ayman al Zawahiri as al Qaeda’s emir. Although Inspire does not contain an outright pledge of bayat (or oath of allegiance) to Zawahiri, it is clear that AQAP considers him to be the terror network’s overall leader.

Other al Qaeda affiliates have already pledged allegiance to Zawahiri.

On June 19, Shabaab, the al Qaeda-linked organization in Somalia, pledged its allegiance to Zawahiri. “Ayman al Zawahiri is the suitable person to replace [Osama bin Laden] on account of his skills and experience,” Shabaab spokesman Sheikh Ali Mohamud Rage said in a statement, according to a translation by Flashpoint Partners. Sheikh Rage added, “We welcome this fitting choice, and we will support [al Zawahiri] according to our oath just as we were with his brothers before.” [See LWJ report, Somalia’s Shabaab vows allegiance to new al Qaeda emir Zawahiri.]

In an audio message released online on July 7, a spokesman for al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Abu Obeida Yusuf al ‘Annabi, pledged his organization’s allegiance to Zawahiri. According to a translation by the SITE Intelligence Group, ‘Annabi said:

As long as you [Zawahiri] lead us on the path of truth and jihad for the Cause of Allah, then we pledge to you to be obedient, and we consider ourselves one of the arrows of Islam and jihad and you, the slave of Allah, as the archer. So, throw us wherever you wish, because you will only see from us what will cool your eyes and make you joyous.

There has been some speculation in US counterterrorism circles about the willingness of al Qaeda’s affiliates to remain loyal to al Qaeda’s central leadership now that Zawahiri is the emir. The latest edition of Inspire provides more evidence that al Qaeda’s affiliates are falling in line, at least in public.

Thomas Joscelyn is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Senior Editor for FDD's Long War Journal.

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  • JRP says:

    Ayman al Zawahiri is just as great a threat to the United States as was Osama Bin Laden. Zawahiri’s style of Terrorism is World-wide. His hatred for the U.S. is infinite. His cunning and talent was demonstrated when he turned the tables back in December 2009 at FOB Chapman and handed CIA one of its worst ever defeats. Though I give President Obama great credit for the May 2nd raid that got Bin Laden, the President’s troop drawdown is premature. We should be in AFPAK indefinitely till Zawahiri is accounted for.

  • Eddie D. says:

    Kill Zawahiri and throw him to the fish.

  • blert says:

    It won’t be long before Inspire is parodied as Expire.

  • jaw crusher says:

    Ayman al Zawahiri is just as great a threat to the United States as was Osama Bin Laden.

  • Witch Doctor says:

    Next headline of Inspire will be “Ayman Al- Zawahiri martyred. Soon come you know. he does not have the skills to hide himself and run AQ at the same time. Soon his family will receive a wrapping of fish inside a newspaper….Enjoy your virgins!

  • David Verbryke says:

    We must destroy ayman al-zawahiri and saif al-adel and then we can go home. Obama deserves credit for letting the SEAL’s kill bin Laden, but we must go into Pakistan or Dubai or wherever they are hiding and use our best operatives to kill these truly horrible men.

  • Sunny Nair says:

    Sheikh “Mohamud Rage” LMAO the name is priceless.

  • TLA says:

    JRP, congratulating Obama for bin Laden’s death is like thanking George III for his success at the Battles of Trafalgar or Waterloo.

  • Charu says:

    @TLA, I respectfully disagree. If the mission had failed the blame would have fallen entirely on Obama for having overruled the advice from his defense department and OK’ing the operation. He deserves a significant amount of credit for its success.
    Irregardless, AQ remains a dangerous threat as today’s bombing in Norway indicates. My hunch is that there will be only a couple of degrees of separation from Pakistanis and/or the ISI when the investigation is completed.

  • Ted says:

    Wow. I had no idea that AQAP is ignorant about 1st grade Arabic grammar. What might that mean? There is a pictured gun that is so unique it reveals much about who is publishing this magazine. See it?
    Team Awlaki can never get it completely right for some reason. A mole? An activist? Or maybe an ignorant supervisor? What gives?

  • Matt says:

    al-Zawahiri taking over control and the strategy to hit US interests off-shore (which includes US allies) is not new. Due to al-Zawahiri’s role in command and control.
    So the declaration of support for al-Zawahriri by AQAP and the Sydney CBD on the cover of inspire is not a new development.
    You almost learn more from what is not on Bin Laden’s computer than what is on it.


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