Al-Qaeda's affiliate in Yemen has released a new guide for would-be Western recruits, urging 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. CNN released on Wednesday some of the contents of the guide.
“I strongly recommend all the brothers and sisters coming from the West to consider attacking America in its own backyard,” Khan wrote, according to the excerpts published by CNN. “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.”
The guide, released Monday, makes clear that Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) 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,” Khan’s guide states, according to CNN. “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.”
Last month the group believed it had recruited a British passport holder to blow up an explosive device on a U.S.-bound plane. In the end, the recruit turned out to be an agent working for Saudi counterterrorism.
Khan’s guide was written well before the plot was foiled and it advises recruits the group is suspicious about newcomers, CNN noted.
“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.”
The guide also provides practical advice for those still wanting to travel to Yemen to join the group. It says 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,” Khan says. “Live in the locality for exactly one week or however long you can with a friend or two.”
The guide also 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.”
The latest edition of the Inspire magazine instructs lone terrorists to refrain from targeting churches, mosques and synagogues in order to protect their “'reputation.”
The winter 2012 edition of the magazine revealed that global jihad is facing criticism from Muslims over how they carry out their attacks.
The magazine revealed, however, that terrorists could attack Jewish congregations as well as politicians, media personalities, stock exchanges, airports, harbors and military bases.