The Corner

Severed Snake Heads

From a reader:

Dear Jonah,

Your comments on Spain seem to reflect the view that al Qaeda is a

coherent, disciplined organization which is actively pursuing a set of

goals. Whether or not this was true in the 90’s, I think one of the

major underreported successes of the War on Terror is that this is

demonstrably not the case anymore. Spain is a perfect example. While

that particular bunch of thugs has “al Qaeda” affiliations, they are

clearly acting solely out of a desire to change Spain and not the

world. It seems al Qaeda has been splintered into separate terrorist

factions that only really care about their own perceived injustices, be

they Spanish, Filipino, Indonesian, Palestinian, Saudi, or where ever.

al Qaeda simply isn’t a large coordinated movement aimed at changing

the world, it is a catch-all phrase for a particular method of action

with some vaguely similar roots in radical Islam.