Wage jihad at home, not in Yemen, al Qaeda urges recruits
May 16th, 2012
02:20 AM ET

Wage jihad at home, not in Yemen, al Qaeda urges recruits

By Paul Cruickshank and Adam Levine

Al Qaeda's affiliate in Yemen has released a new guide for would-be Western recruits urging those Western militants who were thinking of traveling to join the group in Yemen to, in effect, think twice before making the trip.

The guide, entitled "Expectations Full," was apparently compiled by Samir Khan, the American-Saudi editor of the group's Inspire magazine, before his death in a drone strike in late September 2011.

Recommended: Yemen plot exposes new world of U.S. spying

"I strongly recommend all the brothers and sisters coming from the West to consider attacking America in its own backyard. The effect is much greater, it always embarrasses the enemy, and these type of individual decision-making attacks are nearly impossible for them to contain," Khan wrote in a caption underneath a picture of the Golden Gate Bridge and the San Francisco skyline.

While al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) figures such as Anwar al-Awlaki repeatedly urged American followers to launch attacks in the United States, what comes close to discouragement by Khan of would-be recruits from traveling to Yemen might be seen as surprising for a group that appears to realize that recruits with Western passports with visa-free access to the United States offer it the best chance to once again smuggle an explosive devices onto a U.S.-bound airplane.

The guide, released Monday, makes clear the group views Western recruits as more valuable to its campaign of international terrorism than in waging insurgent operations in Yemen.

"If you're coming from the West, especially America, you might be asked by the leaders of the mujahidin or those who know where you're from why you didn't partake in jihad inside your country. If you tell them, 'to help the mujahidin,' they might tell you that attacking the enemy in their backyard is one of the best ways to help the jihad. They certainly will not force you to go back home, but they will leave that option open for you just in case you change your mind and decide to attack the enemy back home," the guide states.

Last month the group believed it had recruited a British passport holder to blow up an explosive device on a U.S.-bound plane. But the recruit turned out to be an agent working for Saudi counterterrorism, according to sources briefed about the operation.

The manual, written well before the plot was foiled, advises recruits the group is suspicious about newcomers.

"In addition, there are certain questions you should avoid asking. Some of these questions include, 'Where are you from', 'How long have you been in the jihad', 'Where does so-and-so stay', 'When is so-and-so going out for the operation' and 'When are we going to leave this base'. This is because we don't want any possible spies in our ranks to take advantage of this information. Also, the more you ask these kind of questions, the more the mujahidin and its leadership will think of you as a spy and place you on their blacklist, keeping a close watch of you."

Another section suggested that AQAP operatives were paranoid about Saudi spies and that some even believed the Saudi kingdom was using black magic in its attempts to keep tabs on the group.

The guide provides practical advice for those still wanting to travel to Yemen to join the group.

Jihadis should anticipate moving between bases frequently and wannabes are advised to practice this nomadic life before they come to Yemen.

"I suggest you try and practice this at your house, a friend's house, a hotel/motel, the mountains," the manual says. "Live in the locality for exactly one week or however long you can with a friend or two."

The guide makes clear that unlike some other fronts, jihad in Yemen is not a family affair. "It's extremely difficult to bring your wife and kids," the guide stated.

Also, jihadists are warned not to expect non-stop action.

"Not witnessing battle for extended periods of time is what many of us go through."

The guide warns of the difficulties of living outdoors, the rigors of training and has a section about the experience of being targeted by drone strikes, which the guide suggests are of increasing concern to al Qaeda members in Yemen.

"As for protecting yourself from the enemy bombardment...this will all be taught to you when you join the ranks of the mujahidin," the guide states.

"If you feel terrified, then think about paradise."

It appears another English-speaking jihadist put the finishing touches on the guide after Khan was killed. This was possibly a jihadist named Abu Yazeed, who in the most recent issue of the group's Inspire magazine revealed he had been trained by Khan in media-production techniques.

"He would often tell me how he wished that every brother coming from the West, especially America, had partaken in jihad inside that country." Yazeed wrote in what was the ninth issue of the magazine.

The guide alludes to advances made by AQAP in Yemen's southern tribal areas since last year.

"In the Arabian Peninsula, the mujahideen's circumstances now are different to some extent from that described in this document. This is due to the mujahideen's recent opening of Abyan, at this time; the mujahideen are managing the affairs of the Muslims after having implemented Allah's Shari'ah in most of that region and are in a state of expansion," the guide states.

"Now that you know what to expect, you can compare that with doing jihad in the west, weigh the pros and cons, and make your decision," the guide concludes.

AQAP in the last few days also released a new online English-language tribute to Osama bin Laden, in which recycles some of his past statements.

"The march of change he launched have not come to an end. His voice, his call and his words are still alive and flourishing," the tribute stated.

For reasons that are unclear, bin Laden himself appears to have been no fan of some of AQAP's Inspire magazine's content. In a letter to senior Libyan al Qaeda operative Atiyah abd al Rahman just six days before his death, bin Laden wrote,"regarding what you mentioned about Inspiration magazine, please send to the brothers in Yemen with the pointers to remember in that matter and explain to them the danger of its effects, in order to avoid repeating it."

Earlier this month AQAP released the previously unpublished eighth and ninth issues of Inspire magazine, which included a beyond-the-grave call by al-Awlaki for attacks, including with poisons, against the West.

An intriguing section in the letter bin Laden wrote just before his death hinted that such a plot was being prepared by the group.

"Regarding the operations that the brothers in Yemen are intending to conduct using poison, please be careful of doing it without enough study of all aspects, including political and media reaction against the mujahidin and their image in the eyes of the public, so please pay attention to the matter," he wrote.

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  7. KakaJ

    This might be of interest to all those engaged in global war on terror. News coming in through one of the Ugandan dailies states interalia,

    The Police on Saturday upped the alert, saying they were hunting for two other top international terror suspects, believed to have sneaked into Uganda in addition to the one who reportedly earlier slipped into the country using a Kalita bus.
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    June 2, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Reply
  8. coderjones

    terrorist bombing, witch hunt, crusades – doesnt matter what your religion is, the only god is murder itself

    May 22, 2012 at 10:00 am | Reply
  9. PiratesRule

    Plan A is working, stay teh f out!!

    May 17, 2012 at 9:02 am | Reply
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  11. Dr Zeus

    If Obama's passivity results in Al Qaeda in a full scale insurgency against Assad, will the West be rooting for Al Qaeda or Assad? How will that make Obama look?

    May 16, 2012 at 6:47 pm | Reply
  12. emrafa

    Just another systematic news to keep the fear going. The only lives its putting in danger is the innocent American Muslims. Any announcement from alqiada is directly from CIA

    May 16, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Reply
    • Frank

      I happen to agree. I don't trust one bit of information from the major news sources related to this issue. It has basically become a giant propoganda effort. Better to know the people they are talking about, actually know them, rather than all the characterizations that funnel your mind like cattle.

      May 22, 2012 at 9:52 am | Reply
  13. Clinton

    CNN and major news networks just can't help but support America's enemies can they? You got the News Media releasing the information that there was a double agent involved in the plot to blow up that US Bound Airliner... Yeh the info was leaked by an unnamed source but did you ever stop to think that maybe just maybe this is a matter of National Security and you shouldn't publish stuff like that? You realize you could have gotten other supporting agents killed by reporting that? Then they put incidents like the Koran burning on the front page and say "we're just delivering the news like we're supposed to" NO YOU'RE NOT, YOU'RE CREATING MORE NEWS BY PUTTING AMERICAN SOLDIERS LIVES IN DANGER!!!!!!!! as soon as you put that crap in the headlines American Soldiers were getting attacked and killed in Afghanistan and that was YOUR FAULT CNN and the rest of the media, you have blood on your hands... Now, in this story, You basically take an organization that is a clear enemy of the United States, and you decide that it's poorly circulated newsletter should be published in a multinational news outlet? If 1 jihadist picks up this story that was planning to go to Yemen but instead blows up a plane or bombs a market in the US and kills US civilians, those deaths are on YOUR HEAD CNN.

    May 16, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Reply
    • bspurloc

      u ever think of reading the article? this was released BEFORE all that....
      so why dont u wait to rant about what is not

      May 16, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Reply
      • Clinton

        Do you ever think? .... i mean at all? You're stupid bspurloc, It doesn't matter WHEN this message was written, publishing it in a major news outlet like CNN makes it accessible to the very folks it was intended for, you're too stupid for words bspurloc

        May 16, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
  14. bspurloc

    The GOP is listening closely and doing as al quaida says.... waging war against American citizens.... bring No Hope Just Shame to them and pushing the Christian Taliban movement to create the Theocratic States of America.......

    May 16, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Reply
    • Clinton

      bspurloc – you realize that your nutjob statement only makes the right wing sound less crazy right? You should just not type anything anymore... Christian Taliban? Are you high? do you realize how stupid you sound? you didn't graduate highschool did you?

      May 16, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Reply
  15. Hahahahahaha

    Hajihad! Hahahahahahaha

    May 16, 2012 at 10:51 am | Reply
  16. mombser2

    Now will all those appeasers- who for ever making excuses for the Islamic Jihadi think again-

    From conspiracy theories of 9/11- to "I dont condone what they do" "But I understand it".
    Well troops are being pulled from Afghanistan and Iraq- bit by bit- Still these terrorist maintain and extend their war.

    May 16, 2012 at 10:24 am | Reply
  17. Joe

    Just read the title: "Wage jihad at home, not in Yemen, al Qaeda urges recruits"

    This article spreads their message to the audience they wanted to reach. You reported the facts and I can't hold that against you; however, potential jihadists in America do not need to know specific details regarding the jihad's message.

    I would advice removing this article or at the least editing the content, but in doing so I would be straining the very ideals of freedom that makes America great.

    May 16, 2012 at 8:53 am | Reply

    Come on cnn lets not aid terrorist by supporting their message , as you have done here in this STORY by indirectly getting their evil message out at home here in AMERICA

    The only news I want to here about these terrorist is that they are being crushed by USA RESOLVE.

    May 16, 2012 at 7:40 am | Reply
    • DAVID

      If they keep up with that bullcrap , Ill stop watching Cnn news

      June 13, 2012 at 8:44 am | Reply
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