This analysis sees Al Qaeda coming into growing conflict with other Muslims

So what is Al Qaeda’s future around the world? On one hand, Mr. Bergen
writes that “many thousands of underemployed, disaffected men in the
Muslim world will continue to embrace bin Laden’s doctrine of violent
anti-Westernism” — he cites a 2008 survey showing that people in
countries as diverse as Morocco, Indonesia, Jordan and Turkey
expressed more “confidence” in the Qaeda leader than in President Bush
by significant margins. On the other, he says that half a decade after
9/11 there emerged powerful new critics of Al Qaeda who had jihadist
credentials themselves: Abdullah Anas, who had been a friend of Mr.
bin Laden during the anti-Soviet jihad, denounced the 2005 suicide
bombings in London as “criminal acts,” and Sheikh Salman al-Awdah, a
leading Saudi religious scholar, personally rebuked Mr. bin Laden for
killing innocent children, the elderly and women “in the name of Al

In the end, Mr. Bergen says, Al Qaeda has four “crippling strategic
weaknesses” that will affect its long-term future: 1) its killing of
many Muslims civilians — acts forbidden by the Koran; 2) its failure
to offer any positive vision of the future (“Afghanistan under the
Taliban is not an attractive model of the future for most Muslims”);
3) the inability of jihadist militants to turn themselves “into
genuine mass political movements because their ideology prevents them
from making the kind of real-world compromises that would allow them
to engage in normal politics”; and 4) an ever growing list of enemies,
including any Muslims who don’t “exactly share their
ultra-fundamentalist worldview.”

“By the end of the second Bush term,” Mr. Bergen writes near the end
of this valuable book, “it was clear that Al Qaeda and allied groups
were losing the ‘war of ideas’ in the Islamic world, not because
America was winning that war — quite the contrary: most Muslims had a
quite negative attitude toward the United States — but because Muslims
themselves had largely turned against the ideology of bin Ladenism.”

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