NJOHSP assesses the recent uptick in propaganda from Hamza bin Ladin is an attempt to inspire sympathizers to execute attacks in the West, secure his position as a future al-Qa’ida leader, and attract supporters. Since Hamza’s public introduction in 2015, he has produced six audio messages—two were released in the past month.
Recent attacks in the West and renewed US raids in AQAP-controlled areas have prompted al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) to disseminate new propaganda aimed at inspiring and providing tactical guidance to sympathizers in the United States. In January, Nawar al-Aulaqi—the eight-year-old daughter of deceased US-born radical cleric Anwar al-Aulaqi—was killed when US forces raided an AQAP-controlled area in a remote desert region of Yemen. AQAP has since leveraged this operation to spread anti-American rhetoric and motivate supporters in the West.
ISIS will likely continue refining its UAV capabilities and touting successes as proofs of concept for future operations. Since February, ISIS claims it has conducted approximately 80 UAV attacks in Iraq and Syria, killing approximately 40 and injuring 100. The UAVs are primarily quadcopters, which can be easily purchased online and customized to drop small explosive munitions.
Al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) is leveraging a recent US counterterrorism (CT) operation in Yemen to spread anti-American rhetoric and motivate supporters in the West. On January 29, US forces raided an AQAP-controlled area in Bayda Province, killing three tribal chiefs linked to the group and the daughter of deceased US-born radical cleric Anwar al-Aulaqi. In a rare audio statement, AQAP leader Qasim al-Rimi mocked the US President for the operation.
The content of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria’s (ISIS) latest edition of its online English-language magazine Rumiyah—released on February 4—suggests the group continues to use propaganda to compensate for a spate of territorial and leadership losses since early 2015. Rumiyah 6 centers around three themes—targeting Turkey, local and regional “successes,” and the importance of martyrdom operations to strengthen global followers’ morale.