Al Qaida has cranked up its PR machine again in an effort to win friends and influence people to harm the United States.
Its latest iteration comes from an individual named Qassim ar-Reimy in the form of a rant that makes for a short but intriguing YouTube video and is featured in the latest issue of Inspire, a print and online magazine published by Al Qaida.
Ar-Reimy is the military commander of AQAP, which is shorthand for Al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula. It might be Al Qaida’s strongest and most dangerous chapter. It’s headquartered in Yemen and is connected to branches in North Africa.
Ar-Reimy is influential in part because of his skills and in part because the United States has killed or locked up most of his former supervisors or peers, including Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S. citizen who was killed by a drone in Yemen two years ago. Certainly Ar-Reimy shares their disdain of the United States and their desire to bring it down.
In his “Message to the American Nation,” he comes close to giving Al Qaida credit for the ricen-laced letters sent to President Obama and other political figures as well as the actions of the Tsarnaev brothers in Boston; in fact, Inspire celebrates the brothers’ attack on the Boston marathon. Ingredients in the bomb the brothers built resembled those in a recipe featured in Inspire’s first issue and which has been downloaded by other militants in Islamic terrorist plots elsewhere.
Ar-Reimy repeats the refrain that the United States must and will be punished for meddling in Islamic affairs and for its exploitation of others. He warns that Americans will not be safe from “unstoppable” operations, and he urges impressionable young people who might have grievances against the United States to follow in the Tsarnaevs’ footsteps. Perhaps, like Tamerlan, they, too, can become martyrs.
What Al Qaida seems less able to do from Yemen, it hopes to do from within the United States.
We don’t doubt that there are plenty of individuals angry enough to want to harm the United States. But if AQAP must rely on relative amateurs, the war would seem to be going better for our side than theirs.
Nevertheless, mindful of what Al Qaida is capable of, Americans underestimate that organization at their peril. The war against terrorism is far from ended.