Thinking of al-Qaeda as a religion like Buddhism will take one down the wrong path. It's easier to understand it as a gang, with territories, local bosses, rackets, internal rivalries, and a secret culture which requires you to be "made". Al-Qaeda is in fact linked to gangs. It operates an actual narcotics trade in Afghanistan. It performs contract hits on behalf of clients and subcontracts hits to independent operators. It does everything gangs do and very little that religions, as we know it, undertake.Although Wretchard is focusing upon Al Queada, he could have used the PLO or Hamas or Hezbollah in the same manner that the Camorra, Ndrangheta, Sacra Corona Unita and Mafia are interchangeable regarding intent. The common element is pecuniary gain for the leadership based upon extortion backed by the threat of violence (as opposed to the threat of disclosure).
It appears that the Shiite sheiks are as amenable as their Sunni cousins to the grant of autonomy within their fiefdoms backed by the money "necessary" to convert their gangs of hoodlums into recognized militia. The Iraqi government is paying off the sheiks in Anbaristan to the tune of $120 million, what will the Shia sheiks require to provide "peace"? After all, the oil fields lie within the area which they "protect".
I have some reservations concerning the adoption of "Gaza/West Bank - The Model" as a means "forward" in Iraq. Paying the Danegeld never really got rid of the Danes.