Al Qaeda presented its version of the State of the Union speech. Zawahiri summarized the terrorist organization’s annual business and outlined the future for Americans. In his address to the world, al Qaeda’s top boss put a unusual emphasis on Palestine. It is too expensive and complicated for embattled al Qaeda to target the US, so the organization turns on Israel. Iraq and Hamas-controlled Palestine are convenient beachheads for al Qaeda’s attacks on Israel.

Hezbollah does not want al Qaeda to grow in Lebanon. Hezbollah does not need al Qaeda’s money, training, or charisma, but wants to reap the political fruits of an anti-Israeli jihad without competition.

Hamas, a beleaguered sunni organization, is more amenable to al Qaeda. Hamas could relegate suicide operations to al Qaeda and whitewash itself for politics. Pushed by the shiite militias (whom the US wants to disarm) from Iraq, al Qaeda could increase its presence in South Egypt and Gaza.

Al Qaeda is desperate to anchor itself in Iraq and unrealistically demands to negotiate with America. Zawahiri is right that the US talks to the wrong parties. People like Maliki lack an independent power base or vision and cannot deliver on their promises. The US talked to the Vietnamese communists, and there is no offense in negotiating with Muslim radicals who hold the power after America dismantled the Baathist state.

I like Zawahiri’s turn about “the rash mentality” of the American establishment. It’s hard to change the world in the four years of an American president’s term of office.