May 3, 2010:
The main effort of Islamic terrorism has shifted from Iraq to Afghanistan and Pakistan. Last year, there were some 16,000 Moslems killed or wounded in Islamic terrorist attacks in those two countries. That's nearly three times as many as in Iraq, where terror attacks fell by about 30 percent from 2008 to 2009. Meanwhile, they went up by about the same percentage in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The violence in the Pushtun tribal areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan will never reach intensity found in Iraq. Even the Pushtuns concede that the Arabs are much better at slaughtering innocent civilians. At its peak (in 2007) the violence in Iraq was causing four times as many casualties as the Pushtuns are able to do now.
The Islamic terrorism in Afghanistan is sustained by the heroin trade, while Islamic terrorists in North Africa have hooked up with the cocaine trade in South America (the Islamic terrorists provide armed guards for moving cocaine from East African airports, to the Mediterranean coast.) Thus going after Islamic terrorism is now intertwined with the centuries old war against opium (and its 19th century derivative, heroin.)
Meanwhile, it's useful to keep in mind that Islamic terrorism is nothing new. In the last thousand years, these cycles of Islamic terrorism eventually die out when enough of the Islamic radicals are killed off, and potential replacements are put off by their poor chances of survival or success. The root cause of all this Islamic terrorism is the inability of Islamic nations to govern themselves effectively. This has become more of an issue in the last two centuries, as the West instigated the Industrial Revolution and enormous economic growth. Islamic nations tended to resist the economic and cultural changes that resulted. This greatly increased the economic and educational disparities between Islamic nations and the rest of the world. This made the poor living conditions in Moslem nations even more noticeable. This made the periodic eruptions of Islamic terrorism more savage. Most of the time, these Islamic rebels fought their corrupt rulers. But in the last half century, these despots and dictators have convinced many of the Islamic radicals that the real enemy is the non-Moslem world. Thus the increasing number of Islamic terror attacks on Western targets in the last few decades. This resulted in more terrorist attacks on the West, which culminated in September 11, 2001.
The Islamic radical groups are much less effective if they do not have a country where they can maintain bases for training recruits (who are often illiterate) and planning attacks (on Western targets, which is increasingly difficult). The West was content to treat the current wave of Islamic terrorism as a police matter, until the September 11, 2001 attacks. The U.S. declared war on the movement and went after nations that offered sanctuary. Al Qaeda fought back, but was defeated in Iraq, and has regrouped in Pakistan and Afghanistan. But there, the same pattern of high Moslem civilian casualties, and inability to stand up to Western troops, has al Qaeda and their Taliban allies headed for another defeat. While the Islamic radicals have had some success in spinning Western media, their terror tactics have backfired (by killing so many Moslem civilians) and their combat skills have been inadequate to the task.