Al Qaeda mystery solved
March 1st, 2013
02:53 PM ET

Al Qaeda mystery solved

By Paul Cruickshank

AQAP, al Qaeda's affiliate in Yemen, on Thursday released a tenth issue of its glossy online English language magazine Inspire.

Dated "Spring 2013" and compiled after French forces moved against jihadists in Mali in January, the magazine contains a familiar litany of propaganda articles railing against the West (with "crusader" France the latest target) mixed with how-to advice on launching terrorist attacks in the West, all illustrated with colorful graphics and catchy titles.

A picture of Abu Yazeed from the latest edition of al Qaeda's Inspire publication

But the new issue also cleared up a mystery that has long puzzled counterterrorism analysts.

In late 2011, several weeks after a U.S. drone strike killed the magazine's original creative forces - American militants Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan - a new English speaker called Abu Yazeed began to appear in AQAP's videos. His face was partly in shadow, but one could make out glasses and a full beard. He spoke with an accent.

At the time, counterterrorism analysts had no idea who he was.

But the latest issue of Inspire lifted the veil in an obituary piece revealing that Abu Yazeed had been killed while fighting in southern Yemen.

It described Abu Yazeed al Qatari as a Yemeni in his early 20s from "a respectable family" who spent much of his life in Qatar.

It said that several years ago, Abu Yazeed had traveled to the UK to earn a degree in a subject he was "passionate" about - science - but he quickly grew disillusioned with the "hypocrisy of the West" and abandoned his studies to go back to Yemen to join up with jihadists.

It was a trajectory that was similar to that of Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab, the Nigerian "underwear bomber" who tried to blow up a plane coming into Detroit on Christmas Day 2009. AbdulMutallab had attended a top London university before travelling to Yemen and establishing contact with al-Awlaki.

"As (Abu Yazeed) had a wide knowledge of the language and customs of the West, he quickly came to the Inspire team and became great friends with Samir Khan and Sheikh Anwar (al-Awlaki), even spending time camping with them in the deserts," the Inspire obituary stated.

It said that some time later, Abu Yazeed "had a burning desire to see some action" and joined al Qaeda fighters on the front lines in Yemen's Abyan province.

"He was quickly spotted for his skills and leadership talent and was given the position of supervisor at an Abyan training camp," the magazine stated. It said that after al-Awlaki and Khan were killed in September 2011, Abu Yazeed returned to work on the ninth Inspire magazine - released in the spring of 2012 - in which he wrote Khan's eulogy.

In that article, he revealed that Samir Khan, who had cut his teeth editing a Jihadist blog in North Carolina before traveling to Yemen, had trained him in media techniques.

"During his company, he taught me everything he knew about presentation of certain material, special designing for the magazines, how to work in certain visual design programs. He taught me how to use the best from my skills," Abu Yazeed wrote.

After this stint with Inspire magazine, Abu Yazeed returned to fighting and was killed by a Yemeni army tank projectile in Zinjibar, Inspire said.

The fact that Inspire is producing new issues shows that the group has a number of other English speakers still working on its propaganda output.

Besides the obituary of Abu Yazeed, the 10th issue of Inspire included a Q&A with an al Qaeda consultant who advised followers in the West to try to assassinate former top Western leaders if they judged it too difficult to break through the tight security around current leaders.

The magazine also provided an illustrated guide to torching cars and creating road traffic accidents in the West.

And it included a target list of Western intellectuals it deemed to have insulted Islam and a letter by Omar Abdel Rahman - the so-called blind sheikh - it said had been smuggled from his U.S. prison. CNN cannot independently confirm the authenticity of the letter.

"If they kill me, which they will ... take revenge on them for me in the most severest and violent of manners!" the letter stated.

soundoff (51 Responses)
  1. Christina

    I am still working on my website, please.use email provided to send coorespondence. :-)

    March 9, 2013 at 3:49 am | Reply
  2. RetiredVet

    George Patton2 you never answered my questions to you on the Bradley Manning post.
    Did you ever serve in the US military?
    Did you ever lose a friend in combat?
    Unlike George Patton who was a WW2 war hero,you are nothing more than a "keyboard commando".

    March 2, 2013 at 9:35 am | Reply
    • George Patton X

      lol!! George Patton-2 is a Pakistani blogger.

      March 2, 2013 at 3:59 pm | Reply
      • George Patton-2

        Is that right, Phunnie boy? Then how do we know that you're not being paid by the right-wing thugs in Washington to post the mumbo-jumbo you do? At least, I know right from wrong!!!

        March 2, 2013 at 5:25 pm |
      • George Patton in Good Mood

        Yo #2, hook me up with your friends, will you?

        March 2, 2013 at 11:45 pm |
  3. Julia

    I would find it difficult to believe that "Inspire" was not an nit-witted intel ops.
    Especially after reading the comments here.
    Astroturf much gentlemen.
    More than likely "inspire" is a farmed out ops from an depressing section of an agency fabricated specifically to channel questionable funds to another equally depressing old coot.

    March 2, 2013 at 5:34 am | Reply
  4. Jaimie

    Just a bunch of monkeys living 200 years in the past who kill people when they don't agree with them. Love those drones.

    March 2, 2013 at 12:15 am | Reply
  5. Homer10

    It definitely reveals how weird they actually are. I think even most Muslims would be put off by this cr@p.

    March 1, 2013 at 11:45 pm | Reply
  6. Smokey

    Say what you want about these crazy Islamists, their disrespect for life is an abomination, but at least they are standing and fighting the wicked tide of secularism, while Christians simply roll over and accept that a worldview that wishes to put an end to all religion will dominate the future.

    March 1, 2013 at 11:01 pm | Reply
  7. Correctlycenter

    Where are all the Tom Tom atheists? They seem to be strangely absent concening Islam. All you will get from them is a blanket statement like "outlaw all religion". When the subject concerns Christianity however, they would be posting non-stop with their uneducated, vulgar and nasty humor bashing Christ and His believers...

    March 1, 2013 at 10:22 pm | Reply
    • Steven CaboWabo

      Here. Tried. Looks like some post are not coming through on this article.
      Christianity, dumb, evil, myth.
      Islam, all of the above but even more so with the addition of more violence.

      March 1, 2013 at 10:38 pm | Reply
      • Correctlycenter

        The biggest lie or myth is: Evolution. Planets, moons, stars, gases, elements, atoms and all living things didn't just magical appear from nothingness to existence. But the Intelligent Designer, the Creator known as the LORD God Almighty created everything...

        March 1, 2013 at 11:32 pm |
      • azdave

        Correctlycenter, why is it easier to believe that some deity existed forever and then created the universe than it is to believe that the universe existed forever? Or why is it easier to believe that a deity "magically" created itself than it is to believe that the universe did so? The middleman theory requires an entire extra layer of illogic.

        March 2, 2013 at 12:18 am |
    • Old Enough

      Any athiest will tell you that Jesus most likely existed, and the stories in the Bible are true tellings and descriptions of events. No arguement there. The people in the Bible described what they saw in terms they could understand, nothing more. They could not understand everything, so they filled in the blanks with a deity. God was invented by man to explain what man did not understand. Sun rising every day, People getting sick, and the like. Now that we know a little science, some things can be explained. The origin of the universe is conjecture at this point for scientists, but that does not mean the a God did it. Our scientific knowlege is just beginning, we have much more to learn. But there is one thing, there is no actual evidence that there is a God.

      March 19, 2013 at 8:47 am | Reply
  8. Murf

    Another body for the fire boys! Do we have a new volunteer!

    March 1, 2013 at 10:17 pm | Reply
  9. Fr33th1nk3r

    Read and weep, Howard:

    1. Hoor mentioned in the Quran
    The word hoor occurs in the Qur’an in no less than four different places:
    In Surah Dukhan chapter 44, verse 54
    “Moreover, We shall join them to companions With beautiful, big and lustrous eyes.” [Al-Quran 44:54]
    In Surah Al-Tur chapter 52 verse 20
    “...And We shall join them to companions, with beautiful, big and lustrous eyes.” [Al-Quran 52:20]
    In Surah Rahman chapter 55 verse 72
    “Companions restrained (as to their glances), in goodly pavilions.” [Al-Quran 55:72]
    In Surah Al-Waqiah chapter 56 verse 22
    “And (there will be) companions with beautiful, big and lustrous eyes.” [Al-Quran 56:22]
    2. Hoor Translated as Beautiful Maidens
    Many translators of the Quran have translated the word hoor as ‘beautiful maidens’ especially in the Urdu translations. If hoor means ‘beautiful maidens’ or girls, then they are meant only for the men. Hence, what will the women get if they enter Paradise?

    3. Meaning of Hoor
    The word hoor is actually the plural of ahwar (applicable to man) and of haura (applicable to woman) and signifies a person having eyes characterized by hauar a special quality bestowed upon a good soul, male or female in paradise and it denotes the intense whiteness of the white part of the spiritual eye.

    The Quran describes in several other verses that in paradise you will have azwaj which mean a pair or spouse or companion which means you will have spouses or companions pure and holy (mutaharratun means pure, holy).

    “But give glad tidings to those who believe and work righteousness, that their portion is gardens, beneath which rivers flow. Every time they are fed with fruit there from, they say: “Why, this is what we were fed with before”, for they are given things in similitude; and they have therein companions pure (and holy); and they abide therein (forever)”. [Al-Quran 2:25]

    “But those who believe and do deeds of righteousness, We shall soon admit to Gardens, with rivers flowing beneath – their eternal home; therein shall they have companions pure and holy: we shall admit them to shades, cool and ever deepening”. [Al-Quran 4:57]

    Therefore the word hoor has no specific gender. Mohammad Asad has translated the word hoor as spouse and Abdullah Yusuf Ali as companion. Therefore according to some scholars a man in paradise will have a hoor that is a beautiful maiden with beautiful big and lustrous eyes and a woman in paradise will get a man with beautiful big and lustrous eyes.

    4. Women will get something exceptional in Paradise
    Many scholars say that in context, the word hoor used in the Quran refers only to ladies since gents are addressed. A reply that would be accepted by all types of people would rather be the answer given in the Hadith when a similar question was posed that if a man gets a hoor, a beautiful Maiden in Paradise, then what will the women get? The reply was that the women will get that which the heart has not desired for, the ear hasn’t heard off and the eye hasn’t seen, indicating that even the women will get something exceptional in Paradise.

    March 1, 2013 at 8:29 pm | Reply
    • Fr33th1nk3r

      I await your intellectually bankrupt retort, Howard.....(got my popcorn ready)

      March 1, 2013 at 8:34 pm | Reply
      • Howard

        Free Thinker...Nice report! Ummmm, but two things are missing.
        1) 72 wives
        2) Suicide
        These two items are missing because they are a fabrication that does not exist in Islam. By the way, I am not Islamic, I just know what b.s. smells like.

        March 1, 2013 at 10:59 pm |
    • Phazon

      Stop believing these false doctrines please they where wriitten by a false prophit how do I know? Because the theme of everyone of the bibles writers changes with the versus in the Quran like they are two seperate books one created by The God and one created by a False God you can tell by how True Christians treat their neighbors and how people of false religions act rowards one another.

      March 1, 2013 at 10:18 pm | Reply
      • Old Enough

        None of the books were written by a GOD. They were written by man. I am an athiest, but I respect people for what they believe. I am not Vulgar nor insulting, I am just trying to get a different viewpoint out there just like you are, Mr. Christian. Man wrote the books, they were not written by God. They were edited over the years to suit Mans interests and mans morality. Show me a book that was written by God and I will believe. Maybe God should drop by once in a while to check up on things? Point is , there is as much evidence of God as there is for UFOs.

        March 19, 2013 at 8:31 am |
  10. Kerry

    Another field day for the right-wing thugs in Washington and another blow to Islam. Until the neocons in Washington finally succeed in getting all the Muslims to quit chanting "Allah Akbar" and start chanting "Allah Akbar, but the West Akbar-er", those clowns will not be happy! This is disgusting.

    March 1, 2013 at 7:54 pm | Reply
    • Blah

      Islam sucks...hail satan!

      March 1, 2013 at 8:17 pm | Reply
    • bob

      Our commander in chief is the islam apologist and has been seen to condone their wierd ways.

      March 1, 2013 at 9:17 pm | Reply
      • 2Bob

        Riiighhht. That's why he continues to drop drones on their heads. Nice way to treat your supposed friends.

        March 1, 2013 at 11:31 pm |
    • CA Liberal

      "Allah Akbar" means "God is Great". You got a problem with that???

      March 1, 2013 at 9:19 pm | Reply
      • Old Enough

        God may be great, but God does not exist, Satan either for that matter.

        March 19, 2013 at 8:33 am |
  11. St John

    Do they have a swim suit edition?

    March 1, 2013 at 7:36 pm | Reply
    • Howard

      Really? wikiislam? You've got to be kidding me. The 72 virgins is indeed a myth, and even if it says otherwise on some wiki site, the Truth still exists and supersedes all info stating otherwise. A funny thing about humans these days, is that we are changing very rapidly and acquiring new senses. One of these senses gives us the ability to actually feel a lie. The lies are being exposed on every level because of this. Lies are no longer effective.

      March 1, 2013 at 7:57 pm | Reply
      • secrtsqurl

        For such a peaceful religion, doesn't it seem absurd that women can be given away as a prize?

        March 1, 2013 at 8:47 pm |
  12. Fr33th1nk3r

    Good. Now they can print Abu Yazeed's obituary in the 11th edition of Inspire.

    As long as Al-Queda keeps recruiting them, the U.S. will make sure to keep the obituary section in every edition of Inspire full of their smiling, bearded faces....

    March 1, 2013 at 7:31 pm | Reply
    • Howard

      Yeah, ummmm, I will make this easy for you with an equation. This way you will see how silly your above post is.
      Here is the equation: Al Qaeda = CIA.

      March 1, 2013 at 7:43 pm | Reply
      • Fr33th1nk3r

        I derived this equation from your own:

        Conspiracy theorists = easily misled automatons

        March 1, 2013 at 8:33 pm |
  13. Howard

    So let me get this straight:
    The CIA makes a website that is supposedly Al Qaeda's press release of their goings on.
    And then CNN reports on that to keep us comatose in a state of fear. Nice Try!!!
    Man, it is getting sloppier and sloppier for the this psy-ops program. I think a kindergartner could see through this one.
    CNN is on its way out... it will soon be be found not credible by a majority of the people.

    March 1, 2013 at 7:28 pm | Reply
    • Fr33th1nk3r

      Keep searching, Howard– you will find a clue eventually.

      March 1, 2013 at 7:32 pm | Reply
      • Howard

        I guess 'Free Thinkers' get their enlightening information from wonderful sites like CNN (soon to be defunct by the way).

        March 1, 2013 at 7:39 pm |
    • Fr33th1nk3r

      You have yet to mention where you are getting your information from, Howard.

      CNN's status has nothing to do with Al-Queda's own claims of ownership over the website. Keep clinging to your conspiracy theories– they will keep you safe.

      March 1, 2013 at 8:32 pm | Reply
      • DanHalen57

        I wouldn't be so quick to judge. I think there are people who find great value in keeping others scared. This isn't a new idea, it's happened over and over throughout history. Gulf of Tonkin, the sinking of the Lusitania...

        March 2, 2013 at 12:04 am |
  14. kareem

    How many amerians top advisors or officials speak or understand arabic language ? to read arabic history or thought anthropolgy ect the americans seem making same errors as they are rigid in their positions i wonder with tonnes of spy satellite on sky,tetrabytes of informations still make wrong decisions; in brief instead being lost in desert better for US empire to invade italy it is near chaos without gvt and without church too

    March 1, 2013 at 5:21 pm | Reply
    • George Patton

      ka'reem my son, what the hell are you talking?

      March 1, 2013 at 5:57 pm | Reply
    • Fr33th1nk3r

      What errors? We killed 38 of your brethren in Pakistan in the last 3 years– so many in fact that Bin Laden was in the process of moving his weird act elsewhere before SEAL Team 6 gave him another breathing orifice on his forehead. Al-Queda tried to move to Yemen next, and have since lost 16 of their top leaders there too.

      As long as you keep recruiting them– we will make sure a drone has their name and reservation for their 72 virgins on it.

      March 1, 2013 at 7:34 pm | Reply
  15. Nick Hatcher

    Nice unibrow bro. Im sure the virgins dig that.

    March 1, 2013 at 4:54 pm | Reply
  16. George Patton

    He [Abu] abandoned his studies to go back to Yemen to join up with jihadists, and American drone made him to join virgins, hope he is not regretting his decision.

    March 1, 2013 at 4:15 pm | Reply
    • George Patton-2

      I see that those filthy creeps who operate those cursed drones managed to murder other so-called Al Qaeda affiliate. Now I guess that the right-wing thugs in Washington must be feeling awfully good by now, Phunnie boy. This makes me sick!!!

      March 1, 2013 at 5:46 pm | Reply
      • George Patton

        hang a bin Laden poster in your bedroom, hopefully, it would make you feel better

        March 1, 2013 at 5:53 pm |
      • George Patton

        sorry Phunnie boy, I take it back, it is going to make you feel even sicker, 'cause Laden is dead too !

        March 1, 2013 at 5:55 pm |
      • Fr33th1nk3r

        The people who operate the drones are HEROES. Drones are the greatest military innovation since the atomic bomb and gunpowder. Cheaper, more effective, minimal civilian casualties, and the best part– OUR ENEMIES HAVE NO ANSWER FOR THEM!

        March 1, 2013 at 7:40 pm |
    • Howard

      The dying and being with virgins is a myth that was created by similar degenerates as the ones who wrote this article. The purpose of the myth, and ones like it, is to cause and promote a racist reaction from American's towards Middle Eastern People. How else would they be able to have their war? This is brainwashing propaganda at its most basic level. It is far past time for America to wake up. I wish you the best of luck on your path of Truth George.

      March 1, 2013 at 7:36 pm | Reply
      • Fr33th1nk3r

        Incorrect, Howard.

        http://wikiislam.net/wiki/72_Virgins

        March 1, 2013 at 7:38 pm |
      • Howard

        Really? wikiislam? You've got to be kidding me. The 72 virgins is indeed a myth, and even if it says otherwise on some wiki site, the Truth still exists and supersedes all info stating otherwise. A funny thing about humans these days, is that we are changing very rapidly and acquiring new senses. One of these senses gives us the ability to actually feel a lie. The lies are being exposed on every level because of this. Lies are no longer effective.

        March 1, 2013 at 7:59 pm |
      • Fr33th1nk3r

        Wikiislam took it straight from the Koran, genius.

        March 1, 2013 at 8:28 pm |
      • George Patton

        those degenerates who created myth were moslems too Howard; who cares if they get 72 virgins or 72 lashes on their ass? They are being punished here on Earth for their misadventure.

        March 1, 2013 at 8:56 pm |

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