Is al Qaeda defeating itself? Jim Dunnigan looks at the possibility:
Al Qaeda has long preached the use of terror against its enemies, and the September 11, 2001 attacks were held up as a perfect example of that. But the attacks in Turkey have killed mostly Moslems, as have the recent suicide bombings in Saudi Arabia. Al Qaeda is also thought to be behind the suicide bombings in Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Do you see a pattern here? Al Qaeda is not following up on September 11, 2001 with more attacks on Western targets, but is killing Moslems. Al Qaeda does have a lot of Moslems on its hit list, particularly Moslems who al Qaeda does not consider Moslem enough. But since al Qaeda recruits from Moslem populations, angering Moslem populations is suicidal to the organization.
As always with Dunnigan, you should read the whole thing -- but I do have one worry with his upbeat-ish scenario.
There is nothing rational about Islamic fundamentalism. It is entirely possible (although I don't know if it's likely) that continued attacks on Muslems will actually encourage more crazed fundies to join in the fun of killing the slightly-less-holy-than-we-are. Hell, that's the central tennet of any violently fundamentalist movement. Spain's Inquisition killed a lot more Catholics than it did Jews, after all. And remember that bin Laden's first goal isn't the destruction of America, but the cleansing of Islam.
So, we'll see.