CNN reports on the antiterrorist rallies happening across Jordan as angry Jordanians tell Abu Mus’ab al-Zarqawi to “burn in hell”.

Al-Qaeda has long been pissing away their legitimacy with their fellow Muslims, but I have a feeling that this will be the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. It’s one thing to attack Westerners, but to walk into the midst of a Muslim wedding party and execute dozen of your fellow Muslims is enough to give every Muslim in the Middle East pause. If you do anything that these theocratic fascists don’t like, you’re as much a target as the Americans or the Iraqis.

Al-Qaeda is burning the candle at both ends. They’re facing the US military and losing dozens of terrorists in every attack – including members of their leadership. In the war of attrition in Iraq, the only hope al-Qaeda has is that they can force an American withdrawal before the Iraqis can step up and take their place. However, each day makes that a less simple solution. When the Americans and others do leave, they’ll leave behind a cadre of trained and effective Iraqi officers who can in turn train others. No doubt the Iraqis will also have top-of-the-line American equipment as well.

The fact that al-Qaeda just murdered several Palestinian officials was also a major mistake on their part. Al-Qaeda has long used the Palestinians as bloody shirts – now that blood is on their hands. It’s quite possible that the Palestinians may start using their own terrorist connections to hunt down and kill Zarqawi in retribution for his foolishness. Certainly this will create strains between the Salafist jihadis and the Palestinians. The only thing that binds them together is their hatred of the West, but even that may not be enough to keep the jihadi movement stable.

The events of this week have shown the Arab world that al-Qaeda doesn’t care about them. This isn’t about protecting the ummah from the West – al-Qaeda will kill Muslims as easily as they try to kill Westerners. It’s one thing to support terrorism against the Other, but when it strikes your own home you’re less likely to see it as some kind of noble abstraction. Al-Qaeda’s inchoate rage is divorcing themselves from the rest of the Arab world – and it wouldn’t at all surprise me if Zarqawi is betrayed by the bin Laden or Zawahiri axis of al-Qaeda in order to keep him from tearing their terrorist network apart.

One thought on “Blowback

  1. I agree completely. I have long seen a great deal of evidence supporting the position that the extremists have very little true public support. The difference in why we see strong public outrage in Jordan vs. other parts of the Middle East is simply security. Jordanians feel secure enough to be seen in public protest and not fear reprisals from the jihadists.

    If Rummy and W. succeed in giving some stability to Iraq, we may see the same there. It’s a war of attrition and time will tell who blinks first, the American public or the bad guys. If we John Q. Publics hang in there, all the “Iraqanization” (sorry couldn’t resist) may happen. If we bail, the jihadists will have the time and support to rebuild and the war will then be here, not there.

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