The question, of course, is why has al Qaeda turned to killing "innocent Muslims"? As Glenn and everybody else notices, Arab clerics did not bother to denounce terrorism when Americans were the prominent targets, but regard terrorism much differently when it produces Arab and Muslim victims. Al Qaeda turned to a policy that seemed calculated to alienate the Arab "street." Why?
Faced with certain defeat (at least if victory for al Qaeda were measured by its declared objective, the ejection of the United States), al Qaeda decided that if it could not do meaningful damage to the United States military it would make Iraq so ungovernable that the United States would withdraw under conditions that looked like defeat (at least if victory for the United States were measured by its declared objective, the establishment of a "free and democratic" Iraq). Al Qaeda blew up the Golden Dome and innocent Muslims in the marketplaces, and thereby lit the kindling of civil war.
Meanwhile, the tactics in Iraq spread like a virus through the region, deployed against "apostate" Arab regimes such as Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia who also turned out to be much harder targets than described in al Qaeda's ideology and propaganda. Al Qaeda promoted the learning from Iraq and slaughtered wedding guests, tourists at resorts, and children in schools, all in the hope of destabilizing Arab regimes putatively allied with the United States. In the end, the pointlessness of the death and destruction was not lost even on the famously obtuse "Arab street."
Iraq, War, al-Qaeda, Terrorism, Global War On Terror