With the release of the second edition of al-Qaida's English-language Inspire magazine, the time has come to reflect on what it is - and is not - and what it can - and cannot - do. I will be leaving out of this discussion what the magazine - it's production, distribution, and possession - does for our side, and focus on what benefits accrue to the adversary as a reward for the effort they are making.
• It is an idol. It is an object that under the best of circumstances will be venerated by readers, adored, fixated upon. It will guide aspiring jihadis as they attempt to assemble the images and ideas that together form an identity. No amount of "Islamic" content changes this basic fact: the magazine is an idol, an expression of idolatrous behavior which in turn encourages more such behavior. Islam is an Abrahamic religion, yet some self-described believers seem to have forgotten who Abraham was - the son of a maker of idols - and what Abraham did - he smashed his father's idols. And these guys call themselves "Muslims"? Hah!
• It cannot, and will not, cause any act of terrorism. It may contribute significantly to the creation of individual jihadi identities, and in some small way perhaps guide and prepare readers as they move towards actualizing their newly-minted identity in deeds. However it is a poor substitute for the things that are required in order to make terrorism happen: hands-on, shoulder-to-shoulder training; genuine leadership, including being in the presence of the leader; and a real, not virtual, group of comrades who are capable of developing and executing a plan, who can transition from a Bunch of Guys™ to an operational unit.Posted on 12 October 2010 @ 13:23
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