So, are we to understand that Ten Rings is and always has been a front for A.I.M. operations?
What I found interesting in that regard is that the movie made no direct connection between the Mandarin and the terrorist organization in the first film (unless it was as blink-and-you-miss-it as Stan's cameo). The likes of us might be expected to make the connection from the information given, but they could have spelled it out for the audience. However...
Overall, I was fine with the Mandarin twist. That character is no sacred cow to me.
A couple of random observations:
1) It's just not AIM without the beekeeper outfits;
2) Based on the casting, it seems that the filmmakers had money on Romney for the election.