What Al-Qaeda really wants is the question that have preoccupied this successful Jordanian journalists in the past years. Having spent prison time with al-Zarqawi himself, he is perhaps as close as you can get. Der Spiegel
doesn't buy all the arguments put forward in the book, yet they conclude that as a way to second-guess the plans of Al-Q, it should be read. I will not give away the end but here is Al-Q's sixth step of the seven to create an Islamic Caliphate:
[F]rom 2016 onwards there will a period of "total confrontation." As soon as the caliphate has been declared the "Islamic army" it will instigate the "fight between the believers and the non-believers" which has so often been predicted by Osama bin Laden.