Al Qaeda has a plan, and it was first published, four years ago, in a book (Al-Zarqawi: al Qaeda's Second Generation) by Jordanian journalist, Fouad Hussein. Several al Qaeda leaders were interviewed for the book, including al Qaedas man in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. The current version of the plan has been showing up on Islamic radical websites since late last year. The basic al Qaeda plan lays out a very straightforward strategy for world conquest. Actually, it sounds a lot like what the Nazis and communists had in mind last century. The only difference is that, while the Nazis killed you for who you were, and the communists killed you for what you believed, al Qaeda kills you for not being Moslem. No matter which zealot gets you, you're still dead.
Despite several setbacks, al Qaeda is still proclaiming the plan as in play. The al Qaeda plan has seven phases, all leading to world conquest. It goes like this.
Phase 1, the wakeup call. Spectacular terrorist attacks on the West (like September 11, 2001) get the infidels (non-Moslems) to make war on Islamic nations. This arouses Moslems, and causes them to flock to al Qaedas banner. This phase is considered complete. What the plan did not consider was the backlash in Moslem countries. This is ignored by al Qaeda purists, who believe that any Moslem who does not agree with them is not a Moslem.
Phase 2, the eye opening. This is the phase began when American troops took Baghdad in 2003. In this phase, al Qaeda does battle with the infidels, and shows over a billion Moslems how its done. This phase was supposed to be completed by 2006. Note that about that time, al Qaeda, true to their plan, declared western Iraq as a "Caliphate" (an Islamic state), the first of many. But by 2008, al Qaeda was crushed in Iraq, and the survivors were fleeing.
Phase 3, the rising. Millions of aroused (in a terrorist sense) Moslems go to war against Islams enemies for several years. Especially heavy attacks are made against Israel. It is believed that major damage in Israel will force the world to acknowledge al Qaeda as a major power, and negotiate with it. Al Qaeda true believers believe this is going on, pointing to Taliban success (fueled by heroin profits) in Afghanistan, and the continued terrorist activity in the rest of the world (especially Gaza).
Phase 4, the downfall. Between 2010-13, al Qaeda will take control of the Persian Gulf, and all its oil, as well as most of the Middle East. This will enable al Qaeda to cripple the American economy, and American military power. Al Qaeda is ignoring Iranian ambitions, and the possibility of Iran having nuclear weapons by 2013. Al Qaeda considers the Shia Iranians heretics, and just as deserving of conquest as any other heretical state.
Phase 5, the Caliphate. Between 2013-16, the Caliphate (one government for all Moslem nations) will be established. At this point, nearly all Western cultural influences will be eliminated from Islamic nations. The Caliphate will organize a mighty army for the next phase.
Phase 6, world conquest. Starting in 2016, the battle will begin. The rest of the world will be conquered by the righteous and unstoppable armies of Islam. This is the phase that Osama bin Laden has been talking about for years.
Phase 7, final victory. All the worlds inhabitants will be forced to either convert to Islam, or submit (as second class citizens) to Islamic rule. This will be completed by 2020 or thereabouts.
Nothing really new in all this. Al Qaeda has been talking openly about the global Islamic state for years. These Islamic terrorists are true believers. God is on their side, and they believe all obstacles will be swept aside by the power of the Lord. Will al Qaedas plan work? Ask the Nazis and communists.
On a more practical level, al Qaeda's efforts to implement this plan has done them great damage. Although many Moslems (although not their rulers) cheered the September 11, 2001 attacks, the war in Iraq turned most Moslems against Islamic terrorism in general, and al Qaeda in particular. But terrorism doesn't require a lot of people. So as long as al Qaeda can keep the dream alive, and motivate a few hundred hard core terrorists, they will stay in the headlines.