Osama cannot expand into Israel. His modus operandi is that of a guerrilla group rather than a terrorist organization. He is used to operating from safe havens such as Afghanistan, Sudan, Pakistan, Iraq, etc. Such strategy is a product of Al Qaeda’s lack of sophistication: the group lacks serious counter-intelligence capabilities, doesn’t hide itself well, and is generally very primitive. There is no chance that Al Qaeda can install itself closer to Israel. The group is by now too dirty even for the Syrians, and cannot expect a safe haven near Israel.

Osama’s goals are inherently antagonistic to those of local terrorists. They act locally while Osama thinks globally. Domestic terrorist groups don’t hope for worldwide dominance but vie for more political power locally. They aim to terrorize local governments into a degree of acquiescence, rather than wage jihad on Western Europe. Islamic terrorists are normal nationalist guerrillas who want money and power. They concentrate on gaining a foothold in their countries and are reluctant to answer Osama’s calls for worldwide Islamic action. In Egypt, Algiers, Lebanon, and Palestine local terrorists distance themselves from Osama to avoid being stigmatized as Muslim crackpots. They insist on the rationality of their goals and cannot afford to subscribe to Osama’s jihadist notions. Osama, on the other hand, has no choice but to proclaim jihad.

He failed to establish his group as an independent meaningful force in Afghanistan, Sudan, and Somalia. Al Qaeda is present in many countries, but has substantial power in none of them. Osama is everyone’s friend, but no one’s commander. He founded the World Islamic Front to convert his good relations with many terrorist groups into a formal office, but very few terrorist organizations joined the Front. Hardened guerrillas rejected the idea of ceding even a nominal power to their nice Saudi sponsor. Osama’s ideology is too pan-Muslim to unite Muslim terrorists. Amorzi, who blew up a Bali nightclub declared, “For the white people, it serves them right.” Islamic terrorism is a generic name for a host of very different forces: from racists like Jemaah Islamiya’s Amorzi to nationalists like Hamas’ Haniyeh to insurgents like Afghan’s Hekmatyar to Taliban fundamentalists. They lack common goals or enemies, and will not accept Osama as a director. They use Islam the way Russians used Marx and Hegel, by fishing for out-of-context quotes. Osama’s dream of an Islamic caliphate is irrelevant to them: Egyptians are not going to unite with Saudis who in turn detest Afghanis who detest Black Muslims.