Before I do my usual Mr Glass is Half Empty counterpoint to your seemingly boundless enthusiasm for this debacle, Trip, can I ask why you gave two links to exactly the same story? (Hint: The Fox News Piece even had The Times' logo on it.) I swear sometimes you don't even bother reading half the links you post.
1. What proportion of the troublemakers are AQ affiliated? In the grand scheme of things, how much of a difference will it make in Iraq if AQ is taken out of the game?
2. How reliable are defectors usually? Could it be disinformation? Could they be just telling us what they think we want to hear because they want to ingratiate themselves in the hope of getting a better deal?
3. If they are spilling the beans and what they're saying is gen, then how come we still don't have a Scooby Doo about how they're organised and run?
Jordanian-born Abu Musab al-Zarqawi who was killed in a US raid last year established the Iraqi al-Qaeda network in 2004, but opinions differ on its compilation, size and capabilities. Some military experts believe that the group is a cell-based network of chapters who are loosely linked to an overall leader by go-between operatives.
Others, however, describe al-Qaeda in Iraq as a sort of franchise, with separate cells around the country that use the brand made infamous by Osama bin Laden and cultural ideology but do not work closely with each other or for one overriding leader.
No, it's EXACTLY the same article. The Fox News piece is, word for word, the same as the first six paragraphs of the Times piece. (Both owned by Murdoch and Newscorp.) It then has a link at the bottom to The Times website for those who wish to read the full story. There doesn't seem to me to be much point in posting a second link to corroborate the first when it's the same thing.
Anyway, no matter. As regards the article itself, I'm reminded of the old line "Well, apart from that, Mrs Lincoln, how was the play?"