Today the Financial Times has an excellent article titled "Down but dangerous: How al-Qaeda has been pushed on to the defensive." The FT provides some encouraging evidence that the terrorist organization does not enjoy the level of international popularity it once held.
In the second half of the last year, Pakistani support for al-Qaeda has dropped by half. In Saudi Arabia, those who view al-Qaeda unfavorably now outnumber those who view it favorably by a margin of more than six to one. Moreover, over 60% of Saudis believe the Saudi military should pursue al-Qaeda fighters.
Such victories in the popularity polls do not necessarily translate into victories on the battlefield or in wilderness of mirrors that is the intelligence world. However, these numbers do indicate that al-Qaeda and its mufsidun allies are losing the battle for hearts and minds. And that is a good thing indeed.