Monday, December 29, 2014

Al-Qaeda: Advice for Lone Wolf Terrorists

Updated September 2016

While ISIS aka the Islamic State has been grabbing most of the terrorist-related headlines in recent months, let's not forget Al-Qaeda, the original 21st millennium terrorist force to be reckoned with.  Just in time for Christmas 2014, al-Malahem Media, the media wing of AQAP, released Issue 13 of its online Inspire magazine.  In case you weren't aware, AQAP is the acronym for Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.  In this edition of Inspire, AQAP equips its readers with a plan to disrupt western civilization, particularly the United States, through the use of "lone wolf attacks", terrorist attacks that are far less detectable by the intelligence community than the bold, multi-faceted attacks that have taken place in the past since they are planned and executed on a very small scale.

Here is the cover of Inspire Issue 13:

This issue suggests that terrorist attacks be used with the specific purpose of attacking the airline industry, using methods that will be far less likely to be foiled, particularly through the use of small airports.  The term that Inspire uses to describe these attacks is "neurotmesis" which is a term used to classify nerve damage.  In this case, AQAP uses the term to describe the "cutting (of) the nerves and isolating the head", a metaphor that is particularly pertinent given the recent beheadings of hostages by ISIS.  

The goal of AQAP's lone wolf terrorist (jihadi) actions are to hit and disrupt economic targets as follows:

"1.)  Direct Economic Targets 
e.g. the World Trade Centre, banks, forex and others.

2.)   Indirect Economic Targets 
e.g. the targeting of the US airplane by 'Umar Fârouq. The target was not economic by nature, but the consequences' cost was enormous due to extra security measures." 

The anticipated results of these attacks are as follows:

"1.)  Economic hemorrhage due to the targeting of a civil airplane for many reasons including increased security measures, people's refrainment from air transportation, and put in mind that one airplane's price is more than 300 million dollars.

2.) Exposing the government's weakness by defeating it in the 'Intelligence War'.

3.) Creating an atmosphere of fear and terror among the citizens, which will result to the next point.

4.) Creating tension between the government and its people, hence giving an indication that the War against the Mujahideen is hopeless." 

I find point 2 particularly interesting given that, if a terrorist is able to stay off the radar of the world's intelligence apparatus (i.e. keep their communications to others to a minimum), it will be a relatively simple task to win the "intelligence war", despite the fact that governments are spending billions of dollars to snoop on their citizens.

Here are the pages that show potential targets in the airline sector including American, British and French airlines in case attacking a U.S. company is not feasible: well as high profile economic personalities:

On the upside, the authors advise that if these economic personalities remove their money from U.S. banks and declare that they disagree with U.S. policies, they will not be targeted.

In Issue 13, there is a multi-page very detailed presentation showing the steps that will allow a potential lone wolf jihadist to build an explosive device that can be hidden on a person that, unlike the bomb worn by Nigerian terrorist Umar Al-Farouq, better known as the "Underwear Bomber" from Christmas 2009, will be far harder to detect.  The instructions begin by telling potential recruits about the security barriers in many of the world's international airports as shown here:

While imaging devices are harder to defeat, as the authors note, this equipment is not always available in smaller, regional airports.  So, how does an aspiring jihadist beat all of these airport security systems?  While the article doesn't come right out and mention it, the best place is a part of the body that is not included in routine security scans; the lower intestine.  I'd have to imagine that insertion would be painful!

While I will let my readers look at the step-by-step instructions for themselves, here is a page showing a finished explosive device:

The bomb can be prepared in a household kitchen using readily available materials.  What I found particularly interesting is that, scattered throughout the instructions, we find safety warnings like this:

The authors even supply a list of tips on how to securely store the ingredients required to build the bomb.

Here is a quote from a "Letter to the American People" written by Sheikh Aiman Adhawahiri that appears in this issue of Inspire:

"Why Do We Fight and Resist You?

The answer to the first question is simple. We fight you because you attacked us and continue to do so. You attacked us in Palestine, which has languished under military occupation for more than 80 years. The British, with your blessing and support, gifted it to the Jews, who have inflicted upon it over a half-century of oppression, aggression, criminality, murder, expulsion, demolition and destruction. If the creation and perpetuation of Israel is a crime, then you are the chief perpetrators, as I believe that American support of Israel is not a matter that needs to be demonstrated or proven. Israel is a crime and must be destroyed, and everyone whose hands are steeped in this crime must pay the price, and pay it dearly. The Palestinian blood being spilled in the Holy Land must be avenged, and be certain that the Palestinian people shall not cry nor die alone.

You attacked us in Somalia, support the Russian and Indian aggression against us in Chechnya and Kashmir, and supported the aggression of the Jews against us in Lebanon. Meanwhile, the puppet regimes that rule our countries attack us every day under your supervision, orders, and instruction. These regimes deprive our peoples of the rule of Islamic law by force and fraud, and humiliate us and put us in a huge prison of fear and compulsion. They steal our resources and provide them to you for a paltry price. And they surrendered to the Jews, presented them with most of Palestine and recognized their state on its dismembered remains. The removal of these regimes is an Islamic obligation and a basic step towards the liberation of the Muslim nation, implementation of the Islamic Law, and recovery of Palestine. Thus, our battle with these re- gimes is inseparable from our battle with you. You steal our petrol and other resources at the lowest of costs to you, by the force of your navies and threat of your armies, in what constitutes the greatest robbery in the history of mankind.

You occupy our countries with your military forces and build your bases, desecrating our land and encircling our holy places to protect the security of the Jews and to ensure the continuation of the perpetual plunder of our wealth. You perpetrated an embargo against the Muslims of 'Irāq, where children were felled daily. It is amazing that one and half million 'Irāqi children died due to the embargo without you batting an eyelid, but when 3000 of your people were killed, the entire world stood up and never sat back down." 

Let's close with this two page spread from Inspire Issue 13:

As the recent events in France have shown us, lone wolf terrorists are able to defeat the intelligence apparatus of the world and remain undetected until after they have imposed their particular brand of terror on the world.


  1. The main charge looks like its made from water bottles. May Alla bless the guy that stuffs that up his rear end for jihad....Ouch but then again the guy is willing to blow himself so ya.....

  2. The conflicts between modern societies and these poor traditionalists are irreconcilable, and they can only prolong the misery for their children by clinging to the old ways. My own ancestors, on my mother's side, were native Americans who decided to assimilate, by around the turn of the 19th century. Boy, am I happy about that! I've never visited a reservation, but I'm quite sure I wouldn't like to live on one.

    The world has changed.

  3. Lone wolf attacks are almost impossible to stop and while they can be very effective we must stop this nonsense of acting like a terrorist is lurking under every bed. Governments have ramped up fear as an excuse to expand their control. Will terrorists kill innocent civilians in the years to come? Of course. They did so more than 100 years ago, when they were called anarchists—and a responsible nation-state must take reasonable measures to protect its citizens. But there is no way to completely eliminate terrorism.

    The challenge that confronts us is how we will live with that threat. We have created a massive economy of fear, an industry of fear, a national psychology of fear. Al Qaeda could never have achieved that on its own. We have inflicted it on ourselves. the article below delves deeper into how we have built a massive and expensive industry to strip us of our liberties because of fear.

  4. Thanks for the link. Sometimes these things are hard to find.

  5. note, I have travelled on El Al airlines more than a few times. Most airlines could learn from the Israelis. El Al--safest airline in the world.