With breaking news as at writing that US troops have entered Najaf, it is hard to keep a mind on the good analysis available to everyone except apparently to White House planners. take this article
'Think again, al-Quaeda' by Jason Burke in the current issue of International affairs for example ( link may not work after a month). synopsis: "The mere mention of al Qaeda conjures images of an efficient terrorist network guided by a powerful criminal mastermind. Yet al Qaeda is more lethal as an ideology than as an organization. “Al Qaedaism” will continue to attract supporters in the years to come—whether Osama bin Laden is around to lead them or not."