ISIS isn’t just a sprawling paramilitary terrorist organization, it’s also a media company, with digital and print publications reaching a global audience. Its flagship publication is Dabiq, the Vogue of global jihad. In its February 2015 issue, the chief suspect in the recent assault on Paris sat down for an interview and made his intentions obvious.
The interview with Abdelhamid Abaaoud—now possibly dead—appears in the seventh issue of Dabiq, and is presented like a feature straight out of Oprah’s O magazine, only with a self-avowed terrorist as its subject:
What follows is an in-depth, multi-page interview, complete with multiple high-resolution photographs, making clear that Abaaoud had infiltrated Western Europe with the intent to cause violence.
We spent months trying to find a way into Europe, and by Allah’s strength, we succeeded in finally making our way to Belgium. We were then able to obtain weapons and set up a safe house while we planned to carry out operations against the crusaders.
“The intelligence knew me from before as I had been previously imprisoned by them.”
The interview ends on a particularly chilling note:
All this proves that a Muslim should not fear the bloated image of the crusader intelligence. My name and picture were all over the news yet I was able to stay in their homeland, plan operations against them, and leave safely when doing so became necessary.
And, of course, he was right: Reports already indicate that European intelligence and police authorities hopelessly failed in catching a terrorist with whom they were fully familiar, even with the knowledge that he had entered their territories. It’s easy to fault intelligence failures in hindsight, while the blood is still on the streets of Paris, but tip-offs about future ISIS actions in Europe won’t get much easier to collect than one teased in a magazine profile in Terrorist Monthly.