Is "the al-Qaeda throne" Empty?


Below, Michael Young notes today's NYT story about the control of central Iraq. Another reaction to that account comes from IraqPundit, who writes that such a report "comes as no surprise to Iraqis, who have known all along about the rumors of religious thugs running a now fundamentalist region." Of particular concern are "the Wahhabi outsiders who are reportedly in control of the Anbar province."

But here's the most provocative passage. Citing Iraq's leading newspaper, Azzaman, IraqPundit reports that these religious thugs "are having their own internal struggles. Azzaman reports that rifts have developed between Zarqawi and Zawahiri about who gets to be the heir of the al-Qaeda throne. If the report, which quotes Moroccan sources, is true, it might mean they will fight it out in Iraq."

Um, is "the al-Qaeda throne" in need of an heir? Hard to know just what to make of the Azzaman report, especially since we're multiple layers and two languages away from whatever "Moroccan sources" its story is ultimately based on. Nevertheless, reports of internecine rifts between the likes of Zarqawi and Zawahiri are certainly welcome, and this story's worth watching.