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Al Qaeda Is Like MacDonald’s, Not IBM: At a Senate Armed Forces Committee hearing Thursday, Gen. John Abizaid, commander of US Central Command, said al Qaeda is hard to defeat because it is not a monolith like IBM but a franchise operation like MacDonald’s. Just cutting off the head won’t suffice. Abizaid told lawmakers that al Qaeda’s goal is to overthrow all legitimate governments in the Middle East, with Saudi Arabia as the ultimate prize. By controlling Saudi Arabia, the seat of holy Muslim shrines, it could establish a caliphate as the single global Muslim leader. From there, it would attempt to spread its own, very narrow interpretation of Islam to non-Arab countries. Winning this war requires a combination of military action and international pressure, said Abizaid. Ultimately, the war against al Qaeda and its affiliate terrorist groups will be won by “self-reliant partners in the region who are willing to face the enemy within their own countries.”