What Does al-Qaeda Gain in Gaza?
A lot, according to Marc Lynch, a/k/a Abu Aardvark, who moved his blog to the Foreign Policy website:
Israel's assault on Gaza has really created an almost unbelievable no-lose situation for al-Qaeda. If Hamas "wins", then al-Qaeda gets to share in the benefits of the political losses incurred by its Western and Arab enemies (Zawahiri mentions Mubarak and the Saudis in this tape, but not the Jordanians) and can try to take advantage of the political upheavals which could follow. If Hamas "loses", al-Qaeda still wins. It will shed no tears at seeing one of its bitterest and most dangerous rivals take a beating at Israel's hands or losing control of a government that they have consistently decried as illegitimate and misguided.
Michael Weiss at Jewcy takes on Abu Aardvark, and wins on points, I think:
What Lynch doesn't acknowledge -- at least not in this post -- is that Al Qaeda's flagging popularity is due in large part to its military and political defeat in Iraq, where it (foolishly) decided to create a cynosure of Islamist terror and test out the prospects of a neo-caliphate. If it should try to do this again, and in the one place it can ill afford to have Muslims grow more disillusioned with its activities, might we expect the realist school to indulge us with the following headline: "and the winner is... America!"?