Al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) continues to influence the global English-speaking jihadist community through newly created Inspire Guides, which allow the group to take credit for attacks and provide guidance for future operations. AQAP has not successfully executed an attack in the West since the operation in January 2015 against the offices of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris.
- Since June, AQAP has released four Inspire Guides reintroducing tactical information from its longer English-language magazine, Inspire. These shorter publications allow rapid dissemination of AQAP messages following global attacks, as was the case three days after the mass casualty operation in Nice, France on July 14.
- In the first Inspire Guide in June, AQAP criticized Orlando shooter Omar Mateen because he attacked “minorities,” which became the media’s primary focus rather than Mateen’s true motivation—retaliation for US airstrikes in Iraq and Syria. In the same Guide, AQAP reasserted its desire for a unified Salafi-jihadist community under al-Qa’ida, reminding readers that al-Qa’ida was the original inspiration for lone-wolf operations.
- In the second Guide, AQAP praised Nice attacker Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel because he followed tactical guidance from a previous Inspire magazine. In the third iteration, AQAP admonished the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria for using women in operations, writing that the use of women is “dishonorable,” and that it was the primary reason why the attack in September involving three women near Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris ultimately failed. On November 12, the fourth Guide was issued in coordination with the 16th edition of Inspire magazine and praised the bomb-related incidents in Seaside Park, Elizabeth, and New York City in September.