DECONSTRUCTING AL-QAEDA….Marc Lynch has some interesting speculation today about al-Qaeda’s war aims. It’s based on a posting at a jihadi internet forum that makes the familiar observation that al-Qaeda wants the U.S. to continue bleeding in Iraq:

“Al-Qaeda’s Scenario During the Coming Weeks” argues that the coming two weeks….will reveal whether al-Qaeda’s leadership believes that this stage of direct combat has served its purpose of weakening America sufficiently. If it does, according to the author, al-Qaeda will remain silent, allowing the Democrats to win the Congressional elections and initiating a new phase of the conflict. If it does not (as the author hopes), it will intervene through a bin Laden tape or an attack on an American ally in order to ensure a Republican victory which will keep the Americans trapped in Iraq longer in order to weaken it more before moving to the next stage.

….The author doesn’t know which way al-Qaeda will go, and having delivered his analysis is left sitting back and waiting to see. Total silence from al-Qaeda prior to the election should be read as a signal that its leadership believes that the time has come to move to the next phase. A tape or attack by al-Qaeda prior to the election means that its leaders are not yet satisfied with the American blood and treasure lost in Iraq and want more time before moving to the next stage. And that’s where “Al-Qaeda’s Scenario” leaves it.

This is interesting not so much for what it says about America’s willingness to continually scare itself into doing things contrary to our own interests ? that’s an old story ? but for its emphasis on what al-Qaeda’s actions say about al-Qaeda itself. Is the timing and content of al-Qaeda videos the new equivalent of Beijing wall posters and May Day photographs in the Kremlin?

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