The third issue of Inspire, al-Qaeda-in-the-Arab-Peninsula’s English-language magazine, was released last night and is devoted al-Qaeda’s recent attempt to destroy cargo aircraft with package bombs.  The magazine explains that the failed attack was called “Operation Hemorrhage” and is one part of a broader offensive meant to cause “maximum losses to the U.S. economy” and major damage to the “aviation industry, an industry that is vital for trade and transportation between the United States and Europe.”
The magazine describes an operation fully in keeping with Osama bin Laden’s strategy of trying to drive the U.S. economy to bankruptcy. Inspire’s writers claim that economic damage is more important than human casualties at this point in al-Qaeda’s war on the United States. They explain that the bombs that were placed on the cargo aircraft cost just $4,200, and so their discovery before detonation did no damage to al-Qaeda’s treasury or capabilities but, even in failure, exacted major security-expenditures by the United States and other countries. In fact, the writers note,
“To bring down the U.S. [there is no] need to strike big. In an environment of security phobia that is sweeping America, [it is] more feasible to stage smaller attacks that involve less players and less time to launch and [will] circumvent [the] security barriers America worked so hard to erect.”
The magazine also takes time to gloat at the British and — implicitly — the U.S. and other governments allied with it. “The British government,” Inspire notes,
“said if [an ink] toner weighs more than 500g[rams] it won’t be allowed aboard a plane. Who is the genius who came up with this suggestion? Do they think we have nothing to send but printers?”
Inspire argues that the current state of al-Qaeda’s war against the United States demands a “strategy of attacking the enemy with smaller, more frequent operations … [a] thousand cuts.” Toward this end, the magazine says that the cargo-plane operation marks the end of the first phase of a “multi-phased operation.”
“[The] next phase [is] to disseminate technical details of [the] device to the mujahideen around the world to use from their countries. [The] following phase would be for us to use our connections to mail such packages from countries below [the West’s] radar and to use similar devices in Western countries. … American interests will remain our target.”
The foregoing is a partial and initial look at al-Qaeda’s description of the new anti-U.S. campaign it initiated by placing bombs on cargo aircraft. Al-Qaeda clearly recognizes that the mujahideen invariably defeat the United States and its allies even when their operations fail or are stopped by Western security services.
In the present case, al-Qaeda invested $4,200 in a failed attack that yielded panic across two continents; tens of millions of dollars in new, security-related government expenditures; doubts about the viability of detection technologies that Western governments have paid billions of dollars for since 09/11; and a slowing impact on the worldwide air-cargo industry.
And in the United States, these negatives come on top of a rising tide of anti-Washington rage among American travelers who face a choice between being photographed nude or sexually molested at airports by federal civil servants. This anger toward and distrust of the federal government was bought by al-Qaeda for the few thousand dollars it invested in a failed suicide bomber at Christmas 2009.
While these two failed al-Qaeda activities keep paying huge dividends for the Islamist war effort — for an investment of less than $7,500 — President Obama, his terrorism czar John Brennan, and General Petraeus continue to assure Americans that the only route to safety lies in protecting Afghan civilians and winning the enemy’s hearts and minds.
May God help us all.
- This article is based on excerpts of a copy of Inspire acquired and disseminated by a private-sector firm called The IntelCenter, which is based in northern Virginia. In my view, The IntelCenter is without peer in the private sector in terms of the timely acquisition and distribution of statements by al-Qaeda, its affiliates, and its allies. The even-handedness of the firm’s translations of non-English-language jihadi materials is likewise without peer.