During my morning commute, I heard a fascinating report on NPR about Al Qaeda’s western-style online magazine. Questions remain about who is running the magazine; it appears to be the work of an American who recently surfaced in Yemen and of the Yemeni arm of Al Qaeda (AQAP). But it turns out that Inspire isn’t doing a lot of inspiring Muslims to wage jihad.
Akil Awan, an associate professor in international terrorism at the University of London. trolls jihadi websites as part of his research. He says for all the attention and concern over the AQAP magazine, it isn’t resonating with young, would-be jihadists.
“It hasn’t made that much of impact online for example within mainstream jihadist sites,” Awan says.
When asked how he can determine that, his answer is simple: “People in the chatrooms just aren’t discussing it.”
It is rather ironic that a publication that was deemed so important by the U.S. intelligence community that it was shown to President Obama as part of a national security briefing has fallen so flat with the people it sought as an audience.
Hegghammer says Inspire magazine’s lackluster debut isn’t necessarily all AQAP’s fault.
After all, most new magazines don’t survive.