An op-ed in the Christian Science Monitor features some 'secret documents discovered last month in the Malian city of Timbuktu'. From these it would appear that the Al Q franchise has some image problems:
The papers... are part of a "confidential letter" written by Abdelmalek Droukdel, the head of Al Qaeda in northern Africa. He left parts of the letter as he fled the city. In it, he warns subordinates that they have been too quick and brutal in imposing sharia, or Islamic law. He worries that local Muslims will reject the religion and come to hate the jihadists, which would "consequently lead to the failure of our experiment," which includes establishing a global base for Al Qaeda.
He decries the stoning of adulterers to death, the barring of women from public areas, and the prevention of children from playing. He worries about losing local support after his men destroyed local shrines that they deemed sacrilegious.
Al Qaeda's notion of women as second-class people can be seen in one court document also found in Timbuktu that ordered a woman to be given 60 lashes for "mixing with men." During its 10-month reign, Al Qaeda required women to be clothed head to toe when in public. They could wear no makeup and use no perfume.
There's talk, as well, of 'internal dissension'. May they enjoy that; they could even possibly learn something from it. In light of the above, one can understand the Christian Science Monitor's optimism concerning the way bad ideas sooner or later fail. The trouble is if it's much later rather than sooner, a lot of people can suffer along the way. (See also here.)