December 31, 2009:
One of the unfortunate aspects of al Qaeda's defeat in Iraq is that the Iraqi branch of the terrorist organization is now run by the people (Baath Party members and Saddam supporters) that al Qaeda was founded to destroy. Five years ago, when Baath undertook their terrorism campaign to regain power, they agreed to coordinate their efforts with al Qaeda, which sought to establish a religious dictatorship in Iraq. Baath and al Qaeda agreed, in effect, to put aside their differences (they hated each other) until the foreign troops were driven out, then they could go after each other to decide who would control Iraq. Five years later, the Americans are still there, and the Islamic terrorist organizations are a shadow of their former selves. The Iraqi government estimates that active Islamic terrorists have shrunk from 10,000, to under 2,000, over the past few years. And Baath members now run the local al Qaeda branch. Al Qaeda central does not openly oppose this, as they need all the franchises they can get.
Al Qaeda has been forced to sacrifice many of its principles over the past few years. It's gotten involved with drug gangs in Afghanistan, and taken money from Saudi monarchists, who are openly trying to buy immunity from terror attacks. Hard times. But if you're a Soldier of God, you do what you've got to do.