AQ getting unpopular with jihadis

posted at 10:15 am on April 24, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

Recent events have shown al-Qaeda’s support eroding even among its core base of radical Islamist extremists, the Los Angeles Times reports today. Muslims have tired of the suicide bombings that kill other Muslims and of the deadly response they get from the West. Looking at the state of the ummah, Muslims have concluded that they were better off before bin Laden decided to kill 3,000 Americans and unleash forces that have changed the face of southwest Asia:

Al Qaeda increasingly faces sharp criticism from once-loyal sympathizers who openly question its ideology and tactics, including attacks that kill innocent Muslims, according to U.S. intelligence officials, counter-terrorism experts and the group’s own communications.

A litany of complaints target Osama bin Laden’s network and its affiliates for their actions in Iraq and North Africa, emphasis on suicide bombings instead of political action and tepid support for, or outright antagonism toward, militant groups pressing the Palestinian cause. …

Such rifts have been emerging for several years, but they have become increasingly contentious lately, in cyberspace and on the streets of some Arab countries. In addition to Zawahiri, Al Qaeda leaders, including Bin Laden himself, have gone on a public relations offensive. In October, Bin Laden asked followers for forgiveness for the deaths of civilians in Iraq.

It isn’t that America has become more beloved by the radicals, but that AQ’s actions — while spectacular — don’t result in improvement for radical Islamists or their positions. In almost every area but Pakistan, they have had to fall back and regroup. In Iraq, which looked promising for a short period, AQ made itself anathema with a bloodthirsty reign of terror over other Muslims, torturing and murdering men, women, and children to impose their drug-fueled version of shari’a. In Jordan, Morocco, Algeria, and especially Iraq and Afghanistan, they have sundered their credibility in thousands of deliberate attacks on Muslims.

Voices in even conservative Muslim nations have begun publicly challenging Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri. Saudi cleric and Wahhabist Salman Awdah published an open letter to Osama asking how many more women and children were going to be killed for AQ. In London, sometimes considered a hotbed of Islamist extremism, former extremists have now organized to push back against AQ and its jihadist message. Zawahiri had to recently conduct a Q&A session to address the complaints of the ummah regarding AQ’s activities, providing answers which left everyone laughing (The deaths of any innocents were the result of “unintentional error or out of necessity”).

AQ has been in operation for 15 years now. Any rational look at the numbers of Muslims it has killed and the amount of territory it has lost for radical jihadists should indicate that it’s been an abject failure. Muslims have been hoodwinked by Osama’s murderous theology, and a few of them have slowly begun to realize it.

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I’m going to c&p what I wrote on the headline:

“It’s important to understand that there is a change occurring here and that part of that change is occurring because more individuals are learning the truth about Islam. The more awareness there is (and yes, Hot Air is doing its part), the more we frustrate the so-called moderates. They find it more and more difficult to disseminate their propaganda. They do end up taking that frustration out on al Qaeda, as in “hey, you guys are not helping spread Islam.” The “Islam means peace” spin coming from “moderates” is ramping up a lot. Watch for it and recognize it for what it is.

I mentioned to Robert this morning that I am reminded here of Rush’s Operation Chaos. It’s a ploy that’s working in regard to Islamists as well. But for it to have the desired effect, we have to work twice as hard. The moderates are, and so we must do the same.

Connie on April 24, 2008 at 10:25 AM

Muslims have tired of the suicide bombings that kill other Muslims and of the deadly response they get from the West.

I think the history books will look kindly on the presidency of George W. Bush.

txsurveyor on April 24, 2008 at 10:25 AM

Looking at the state of the ummah

I want my own “ummah” equivalent, one that does not include them.

pseudonominus on April 24, 2008 at 10:26 AM

Perhaps Al Qaeda can conference call in Harry Reid for a pep talk, no one is more supportive of their cause than the Senate Majority Leader.

Sen. Reid has an opening in his schedule today, immediately after his order taking meeting with the underboss of the Gambinos, would that be soon enough?

NoDonkey on April 24, 2008 at 10:30 AM


This is exactly what my son has been telling me in his letters and emails home. Iraqi’s are war weary. He sites that as his unit’s biggest headache in the fight in the Mosul area. The locals just want to be left alone, by both sides. Since the American’s aren’t leaving (as of now anyway) they get a lot of info on where the bad guys are, but little cooperation in lending a hand to go after them.
Iraqis are wore out, and used up, and just want it all to go away. I know this is all just anecdotal, but it points to why the surge was exactly the right policy at exactly the right time. Without a base from which to draw recruits AQ is being chopped to pieces.

Limerick on April 24, 2008 at 10:31 AM

A few minutes ago I lost this site, when it returned it
is now totaly differant! Not sure what to think about
the changes yet. If this report is accurate it could be
the begining of the end of A.Q. I know what I think
about that. The whole world needs to keep the pressure
on, and not let A.Q. regroup in any way.

aceinstall on April 24, 2008 at 10:32 AM

I blame George W. Bush.

rbj on April 24, 2008 at 10:35 AM

I think the history books will look kindly on the presidency of George W. Bush.

txsurveyor on April 24, 2008 at 10:25 AM

I think you’re right, but in order for that to happen, we have to win this thing.

Connie on April 24, 2008 at 10:35 AM

Eventually human nature turns on such idiots constantly yelling in their ears, and smacks them down.

Even if they agree with their ultimate aims, they just get sick of their tediously hectoring voices.

profitsbeard on April 24, 2008 at 10:36 AM

The Arab Street! The Arab Street!

mymanpotsandpans on April 24, 2008 at 10:36 AM

They made the mistake of attacking us when a Republican was president.

They should have waited until another limp-wristed democrat like Carter or Clinton was in office. There would have been more appeasement and weak military responses to terrorist acts.

Jimmy the Dhimmi on April 24, 2008 at 10:40 AM

Thank you, President Bush. You were right.

Hening on April 24, 2008 at 10:43 AM

I’m sure that Muslims were better of before 9/11, especially since they were able to go about their goal of the Islamization of the West – without the man in the street being awake to it. Until it is too late of course.

OldEnglish on April 24, 2008 at 10:44 AM


I hope your right that AQ is a faded flower.

Maybe focus can now be turned on the true enemy, Islamic ideology and every Muslim group that follows it.

BL@KBIRD on April 24, 2008 at 10:47 AM

Al-Queda needs Hamas spokesman Jimmuh Cahtuh to meet and greet. He’s so effectual, ya know…..

adamsmith on April 24, 2008 at 10:51 AM

Maybe focus can now be turned on the true enemy


Hening on April 24, 2008 at 10:51 AM

This is the Long War on Islamofascism beginning to bear fruit. But it’s a long way from over. In retrospect, the ‘unpopular’ George W. Bush is going to look much like Harry S. Truman. Like Truman with his Containment Policy, Bush’s War on Terror will be seen as the policy that stopped the Islamists in their tracks.

Let us hope that the head-in-the-sand Democrats do not gain the White House, and begin to reverse the hard-won gains of the past six years. We have to stay in the Middle East, particularly in Iraq; we have to continue the fight against Islamism wherever it emerges, whether in Afganistan, Pakistan, and the multitude of other ‘-stans’; but also in the Sudan and elsewhere in Northern Africa; and in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philipines. This is a global effort, which of course the Democrats either don’t understand, or choose to ignore—or both.

MrLynn on April 24, 2008 at 10:55 AM

AQ has been in operation for 15 years now. Any rational look at the numbers of Muslims it has killed and the amount of territory it has lost for radical jihadists should indicate that it’s been an abject failure. Muslims have been hoodwinked by Osama’s murderous theology, and a few of them have slowly begun to realize it.

This is not going to make our “educational leaders” happy, but I believe, (on a different scale), the abject failure of especially our upper educational system has for most of two generations now been poisioned by a liberal-leftist theology that has been not only “captive”, but without allowing an alternative view, literally an institution into itself.

Al Qeada has had only fifteen years to spread their mantra of death and destruction to all who disagree with their jihad, that appears to be on the decline. The “poison” and indoctrination in our own institutions of higher learning may take as much effort to change.

Rovin on April 24, 2008 at 11:25 AM


Dr. Charles G. Waugh on April 24, 2008 at 11:32 AM

Any rational look at the numbers of Muslims [AQ] has killed and the amount of territory it has lost for radical jihadists should indicate that it’s been an abject failure. Muslims have been hoodwinked by Osama’s murderous theology, and a few of them have slowly begun to realize it.

And if Bush hadn’t been elected President, it would never have happened.

Socratease on April 24, 2008 at 11:44 AM

If Muslims disdained and declined to practice Islam at rates approaching western numbers, we’d all be far better off.

Try mentioning that to a liberal or an leftwing atheist and they go ballistic.

It’s amazing. They reflexively hate Christianity but have a deep love for a religion that is so much more oppressive in every sense of the word – Islam.

NoDonkey on April 24, 2008 at 11:59 AM

I suspectthe primary reason for Al Qaeda’s decline is the people they’re fighting. It seems they made an incredibly bad decision to attack the US, and their error is becoming more apparent as the days go by.

irongrampa on April 24, 2008 at 12:00 PM

Remember when “radical” was a good thing?

Like “Radical moves dude,” and “Hey, where’d you get that radical car?”

Now it means killin’ and blowin’ stuff up.

My, how times have changed.

29Victor on April 24, 2008 at 12:15 PM

AJ Strata has picked this up as well.

al-Qaeda Becoming The Enemy Of Islam, Not the Future Of Islam

Connie on April 24, 2008 at 12:22 PM

I am not sure what constitutes a trend,but this progression of muslims away from extremism is showing up more and more.

This is a similar article from the Washington Post:
Out of Guantanamo and Bitter Toward Bin Laden
By Faiza Saleh Ambah
Washington Post Foreign Service
Monday, March 24, 2008; A08

JIDDAH, Saudi Arabia — A calling to defend fellow Muslims and a bit of aimlessness took Khalid al-Hubayshi to a separatists’ training camp in the southern Philippines and to the mountains of Afghanistan, where he interviewed for a job with Osama bin Laden.
Hubayshi, 32, a Saudi native, was among the Arab fighters dug in with bin Laden in the mountains of Tora Bora during the U.S. bombardment of Afghanistan in 2001. He later spent time in the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and in a Saudi jail.
He was released in 2006 into a world radically altered by the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Muslim fighters were no longer viewed in Arab countries as larger-than-life heroes, and clerics had stopped urging young Muslims to fulfill their religious duties by fighting on behalf of their brethren.
Hubayshi had also changed. He had grown disillusioned with bin Laden, whose initial idealism had turned into terrorism, he said, adding that his family, “not bin Laden,” had suffered when he was at Guantanamo.

President Bush noted this in an excellent speech recently:

The surge has done more than turn the situation in Iraq around — it has opened the door to a major strategic victory in the broader war on terror. For the terrorists, Iraq was supposed to be the place where al Qaeda rallied Arab masses to drive America out. Instead, Iraq has become the place where Arabs joined with Americans to drive al Qaeda out. In Iraq, we are witnessing the first large-scale Arab uprising against Osama bin Laden, his grim ideology, and his murderous network. And the significance of this development cannot be overstated.

This is a stake in the heart to the jihadist.

Freedom is the worst enemy of al-qaeda and other muslim extremist.The more freedom the moderate muslims taste,the more they will reject the jihadist.

Baxter Greene on April 24, 2008 at 12:24 PM

The U S Armed forces have won by adpting to the new tactics as the Enemy threw all the new weapons and fighters they could find into the conflict. Our intelligence acquisitions as usual led to the biggest opportunities. These required strong and quick actions of forces committed by the commanders.we could have lost by hesitating or by going “defensive”. Now who would rather see Dems run the war for the next 4 years just to teach McCain a lesson about purity in Conservatism? Lets support the old SOB McCain with nothing held back.

jimw on April 24, 2008 at 12:37 PM

Osama Lied, Muslims Died

BohicaTwentyTwo on April 24, 2008 at 1:05 PM

Maybe they’re also finally figuring out that their fearless leaders are actually cowards living in caves.

scalleywag on April 24, 2008 at 1:22 PM

The los angeles times…..great source for accurate information.

Al qaeda is just about as unpopular with jihadists as islam is.

SaintOlaf on April 24, 2008 at 1:41 PM

I think the history books will look kindly on the presidency of George W. Bush.

txsurveyor on April 24, 2008 at 10:25 AM

I hate to break it to you, but the history books will not look kindly on the evil Bush’s Presidency unti a generation of historians not even born yet have written about it.

The current crop of “historians” all suffer from extreme BDS. They still don’t believe he was legitimately elected, either in 2000 or in 2004. And they refuse to even consider the possibility that Saddam and al Qaeda could have ANY type of relationship, even when such relationships have been proven and thrown back in their faces (see Bill Clinton’s Justice Department 1998 indictment of bin Laden, which specifically cites a working relationship between the two).

The Dean of American historians until his death last year was Arthur Schlesinger. He compared Bush’s actions in Iraq to the Imperial Japanese attacks on Pearl Harbor in 1941. That’s all you need to know about how the current crop of poseurs will view Bush’s legacy.

Sad, isn’t it?

Del Dolemonte on April 24, 2008 at 4:06 PM

Del Dolemonte

Sometimes I share your cynicism and agree that history rewriters will be harsh on Bush. But more often than not I suspect two decades from now he will be credited for draining the swamp that is the Middle East. The first president to end the policy of appeasement. Reagan, too, was vilified, and it wasn’t until his death that the MSM had to reluctantly acquiesce that Reagan was a bold, decisive and even “great” president.

Here’s to hoping at length the truth will out.

John the Libertarian on April 24, 2008 at 4:43 PM

It may be that people will look kindly on Bush before the historians do, just as happened with Truman.

It’s interesting that Pakistan (and nearby parts of Afghanistan) are the strongest bastions of AQ and the Taliban. Is it possible that other areas have been reached by the Western message that life can be better?

njcommuter on April 24, 2008 at 9:03 PM