I agree with you, Peter. However, I see that there are different actors wanting to head extreme Islamist Jihadism and hegemony. Al-Qaida, with its virtual franchise and global terror on the one hand, and Iran and its state-anchored hegemonic terrorist advance that now reaches from western Afghanistan to the Mediterranean. Turkey is a big country, with Islamist hegemonic dreams too, and is on its way to be an aggressive Jihadist player. Then you have the Arab / non-Arab divide. Just as an example, Osama bin Laden's inner circle is made up of Arabs, as he doesn't trust a Chechen or Malaysian bodyguard. Iran and Turkey are both non-Arab powers, whose Sunni vs. Shia component as well as their overlapping regional ambitions are set for collision at one point in time. Pakistan, with its nuclear weapons and tens of thousands of extreme Madrassas, may turn into an expansionist player at any point too. So what I see is many different and antagonist players fighting for who carries the banner of the "Umma". Will it be Iran? Will Al-Qaida succeed without any complete hold of a nation-state? Will it be Turkey? Can there be an alliance between some of them? What will Egypt and Saudi Arabia do in this scenario over the next decade? To what extent do opposed Sunni and Shia groups cooperate and coordinate? To what extent is the rivalry or enmity a factor? All this seems a big puzzle to me.
Syrian group says Nusra abducts its leader, in blow to U.S. plan (Reuters)
from the article: Israel issues severe travel warning: Al-Qaida may attack in Sinai