Inspire, al-Qaeda’s English-language magazine, returns without editor Awlaki

Al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen has produced another issue of its English-language online magazine, Inspire, defiantly proclaiming that it is “still publishing America’s worst nightmare” despite the killing in September of two top editors, Americans Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan.

Before he was killed in a joint CIA-Special Operations drone strike, Awlaki, a Yemeni American born in New Mexico, had emerged as one of al-Qaeda’s leading propagandists. He and Khan, a Pakistani American, founded and directed Inspire, a publication that combined ideological tracts justifying terrorism with practical, illustrated guides on how to “make a bomb in the kitchen of your mom” and “remote control detonation.”

Inspire first appeared online in July 2010 with the mission of radicalizing potential recruits in the United States and Europe. It was studied closely by intelligence analysts for insights into al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the Yemen-based group in which Awlaki was both an ideologue and an operational leader, according to the Obama administration.

Some U.S. analysts, predicting that the magazine would die without its founders, told The Washington Post this year that they would miss the glossy publication because of the window it offered into the thinking of some jihadists.

The ninth edition of Inspire, which appeared online Wednesday, mixes tributes to its departed editors with the more practical side of violent jihad. The issue includes a primer on building firebombs and a piece on the “qualities of an urban assassin.”

“To the disappointment of our enemies, issue 9 of the inspire magazine is out against all odds,” said an unsigned introductory note. “Inspire is and will be an effective tool regardless of who is in charge of it.”

But absent the two Americans, the magazine is riddled with clumsy English. To wit: “What does it take to be an effective urbanite assassin? This is an inquiry that recurs in the psyche of the personage who apprehends the potency of this policy upon his preys.”

Apart from glowing appreciations — “Samir Khan: The Face of Joy,” for instance — the issue also includes a long article by Awlaki on his life in the United States, including his account of his arrest in San Diego in 1996 for soliciting a prostitute.

Awlaki says the arrest was a set-up designed to coerce him into becoming an informant for the government, which had unsuccessfully attempted to infiltrate a mosque he was leading. He describes how a woman — who turned out to be an undercover police officer — knocked on his minivan window, and by the time he rolled it down, he found himself surrounded by police.

Awlaki says he rejected repeated attempts to get him to cooperate with U.S. authorities.

He writes, “Allah has blessed me with freedom so I can expose this satanic government for what it is.”

Staff writer Julie Tate contributed to this report.

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