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New al-Qaida terror guidebook urges young extremists to think small

Flashpoint Global Partners

The 'Lone Mujahid Pocketbook' urges Muslims in the West to carry out small-scale acts of terrorism.

A new al-Qaida “guidebook” for extremists aims to incite homegrown “lone wolves” into carrying out small-scale terrorist attacks inside the United States and other Western countries, using materials as easily obtainable as motor or cooking oil, sugar and matches to trigger massive traffic accidents, devastating fires and deadly explosions. 

Titled the “Lone Mujahid Pocketbook” and published by in the spring edition of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula’s “Inspire” online propaganda magazine, the guidebook uses a breezy style that borrows from social media speak and rap lyrics to encourage Islamic extremists in the West to commit acts of violence. 

“R U dreamin’ of wagin’ jihadi attacks against kuffar?” is asks, using a derogatory Arabic term for non-Muslims. “Have u been lookin’ 4 a way to join the mujahideen in frontlines, but you haven’t found any? Well there’s no need to travel abroad, coz the frontline has come to you.” 

Among other things, it offers detailed instructions for torching parked cars, causing vehicular accidents by pouring motor oil on highway curves, starting forest fires, “making a bomb in the kitchen of your Mom” and using a pickup truck with blades welded on the front “as a mowing machine, not to mow grass but (to) mow down the enemies of Allah.”

Evan Kohlmann, a senior partner at the threat-assessment firm Flashpoint Global Partners and an NBC News analyst, said he says he sees the recommendation for aspiring terrorists to think small in a positive light. 

“Despite crafting elaborate terrorist plots in far-away hideouts, al-Qaida has not been able to execute a major attack inside the U.S. since 9/11,” he said. “Homegrown terrorism costs al-Qaida nothing, and it garners the same amount of public attention as "real" terrorism. It's a no-brainer.” 

He also said that the new guidebook shows that AQAP’s efforts to recruit terrorists in the West suffered a serious setback with the death of American al-Qaida recruit Samir Khan in Yemen in a U.S. drone strike in September 2011. 

“The quality of these publications from AQAP specifically has taken a significant nosedive since the death of Samir Khan,” Kohlmann said. “Quite a bit of this latest guide seems to have been baldly rehashed from the former work of Khan.  Apparently, it wasn't as easy to replace Khan's creative instincts as AQAP first suggested.”

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