The colonial powers supported the secular Arab powers that supported the centrist, human intermediaries of the words of the Prophet to the Islamic peoples. Al Qaeda is a network of purist Islamists who wish only to relate to the Prophet's words in its purest form, unsullied by the compromises the human intermediaries needed to make to get the Islamic system working for stable societies.
By moving their base away from any fixed territory to a cyber-network of connections world-wide, al Qaeda believes it can nullify the military superiority the Arab puppets of the colonial powers display by virtue of their having control of the Islamic peoples’ territories.
To free the movement from the compromises a purchase on territory entails, al Qaeda believes, is a step in freeing the movement of the corruption that attends those compromises. One of the most basic and earliest compromises the institutional intermediaries make with the purity of the doctrine, according to al Qaeda, is the designation of innocent human life as sacred.
Uncorrupted, purist, armed doctrine (ala al Qaeda) amounts to a mandate for paganism.