Al Qaeda at war with itself
Al-Qaida is at war. And not just against the West, but with itself, says Lawrence Wright, author of The Looming Tower, the definitive account of the terrorist organization and the road leading up to the attacks of Sept. 11.Wright says they are clearly losing in Iraq and losing the war of ideas around the world. I really liked his book The Looming Tower.
"It's very profound in the radical edge of it," says Wright, who explores the ideological rift for an article in next week's New Yorker magazine. "Before, moderate Muslims have spoken out against violence in the name of Islam, but now radicals are doing the same thing. And what's fascinating is that they're attacking on two grounds: One is that [violence is] not practical because it hasn't achieved their purposes. And secondly, it's sinful. It is placing the souls of the people who commit this violence in great jeopardy."
Wright tells NPR's Guy Raz that the two players behind the rift are Ayman Al-Zawahiri, al-Qaida's No. 2 man, and Sayyed Imam Al-Sharif, also known as Dr. Fadl. Sharif, who wrote al-Qaida's manual for jihad training, recently released a manifesto refuting those principles.
The fact that al-Qaida's architect has changed his mind, Wright says, makes violence "harder to justify using that kind of thinking."
He says al-Qaida is unraveling in some respects.
It gives the history of radical Islam and bin Laden's role along with Zawahiri's in spreading the hate. Wright's message is very slowly seeping into the discourse on the war, but Democrats are reluctant to acknowledge the truth, because they would have to give President Bush credit and also admit that they have been wrong about Iraq for over a year.
It is time that they pay a political price for their opposition to winning in Iraq.
Wright has a long piece in the New Yorker giving more details on the unraveling of al Qaeda and the players responsible for it. It covers 14 internet pages and is rich in the details of al Qaeda's organization.
Peter Bergen and Paul Cruickshank have their own version of al Qaeda's unraveling at The New Republic.
When two liberal publications both published articles premised on our enemy's falling apart, I see a trend. Of course both see the internal disintegration resulting from something other than the pressure put on them by the US war.
It is hard for liberals to give President Bush credit for defeating them. On the other hand, I don't have that problem. I think our unrelenting pressure as well as their own excesses in reacting to that pressure have destroyed the credibility and message of radical Islam and the religious bigots who preach it.