This is an ICSR Instant Analysis of Recent AQAP Propaganda written by Senior Fellow Shiraz Maher
The latest edition of Al Qaeda’s ‘Inspire’ reveals more details about the recent airline bomb plot which emanated in Yemen.
‘Inspire’ is an English-language magazine produced quarterly by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). Its latest ‘special edition’ reveals more details of the plot and an insight in the strategic mindset of AQAP. The magazine is divided into three parts: a discussion of the strategic objectives (including its economic impact), the religious objectives, and technical information on the bomb itself.
AQAP called this project ‘Operation Haemorrhage’ (in the magazine they use the American spelling: ‘Hemorrhage’).
It now seems clear that the primary objective of this attack was not the synagogues to which the parcels were addressed. The objective of the plot is discussed twice in different articles. The first says:
The operation was to be based on two factors: The first is that the packages pass through the latest security equipment. The second, the spread of fear that would cause the West to invest billions of dollars in new security procedures.The other states:
From the start our objective was economic. Bringing down a cargo plane would only kill a pilot and co-pilot.The ‘head of operations’ claims that the primary aim was economic:
The air freight is a multi-billion dollar industry…For the trade between North America and Europe air cargo is indispensable and to be able to force the West to install stringent security measures sufficient enough to stop our explosive devices would add a heavy economic burden to an already faltering economy.According to the magazine, the ink cartridge plot cost AQAP just $4200 (£2615), demonstrating how a relatively cheap operation can still inflict massive economic and financial damage. This is something AQAP is keen to underscore, telling readers:
Two Nokia mobiles, $150 each, two HP printers, $300 each, plus shipping, transportation and other miscellaneous expenses add up to a total bill of $4,200. That is all what Operation Hemorrhage cost us. In terms of time it took us three months to plan and execute the operation from beginning to end. On the other hand this supposedly "foiled plot", as some of our enemies would like to call, will without a doubt cost America and other Western countries billions of dollars in new security measures.
That is what we call leverage. A $4,200 operation will cost our enemy billions of dollars. In terms of time and effort, three months of work for a team of less than six brothers would end up costing the West hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of hours of work in an attempt to protect itself from our packages of death.