The Middle East Media Research Institute has a great analysis of the radical Islamic movement:
“In essence, the founding figures of the jihadist movement today fall into three camps. 1) Al-Qaeda and its unconditional supporters; 2) jihadist scholars who are supportive of the global jihad, but critical of specific tactics and practices (e.g. Al-Maqdisi and Al-Tartusi); and 3) those who support jihad in theory, but are highly critical of Al-Qaeda and believe that most jihad operations should be stopped at present due to various contingencies (e.g. Sayyid Imam). “
The West often fails to understand this dynamic. Forces that agree with Al-Qaeda’s goal, but disagree on method or timing, are not moderate, and they are not allies in the War on Terror.