one of the ways to understand their goal, is to read their fatwas, Arab news translations (literal), and watch tapes of what is taught in the mosques.
the have a number of goal all leading to the same end. 1. to clear the Muslims lands of all infidels. this includes all Arabs, even Muslim Arabs (and Persians) who do not follow their interpretation of the Koran. 2. convert the willing to Islam 3. kill the unwilling.
the Muslims have a messiah prophecy. depending on the sect, it is a little different, but in general goes like this. the Mahdi comes before the judgment when the world is in turmoil. he brings peace and judgment and just (Muslim) rule. he rules from Israel.
there are some people, like the current leader of Iran, who believe that the return is immanent, and that he can help it along by fomenting the struggle between Arabs and infidels. some think he even sees himself as the Mahdi.
the majority of the radical radicals come from the Wahhabi sect in Saudi Arabia. SA has financed the building of mosques around the world and provides the imams to teach in these mosques. the teach radical Islam and recruit to Islam all that they can.
so, if you have the goal of spreading your religion around the world, who do you have to get out of the way?
recruiting has been easy in 3rd world countries and they don't represent an immediate threat anyway. Europe has done a fine job of dumping Christianity and anti-semitism is on the rise again. the fastest growing religion in Europe is Islam, both in immigrants and converts. take a look at the new London mosque they are trying to get built. so the logical places to spend resources are against Israel and the US. those are the two places that might stand up against them.
as for the Palestinian/Israeli conflict, it is convenient for the other Arab countries that it go on. the Palestinians were a problem for the Arab countries for many years. now Jordan, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon, are quite happy to fund them, point them at Israel and each other, and hope they stay occupied with that fight.
these radicals are patient. look how long they planned an attack against the US. when they were caught in the 90's, they just changed the plan. they have spent years building cell and support in this country and others. that's part of the problem the Brits have (back to the original subject). look how many people hezbollah killed, and it was like a slow bleed that no one noticed. they have cells all over also, and are funded well by Iran.
i know this gets confusing. it's like pulling a thread on a sweater :-) . i guess there are two things that I'd recommend, if anyone asked me..... one is to get informed. the other is to not make the mistake of thinking that these people think like we do, or have the same goals. we are happy to go along our merry way and wish that we are left to do our thing in peace. they want us dead or converted.
anyway, there are some good Arab media translation sites, etc. if you are ever interested.
horse shoer is coming and i gotta git.