Here's how CNN's Islamist terrorism expert Peter Bergen sums it up:
The only reasonable conclusion to draw is that the threat posed by jihadist organizations around the globe is quite inconsequential when compared with what the West faced in the past century.
Why? First, because there aren't that many of them:
If we tally up the low and high estimates for all these groups, we can begin to have a sense of the total number of jihadist militants that are part of formal organizations around the globe. We found that on the low end, an estimated 85,000 men are fighting in jihadist groups around the world; on the high end, 106,000.
And secondly, because:
The vast majority of the estimated 85,000 to 106,000 militants fighting with militant jihadist groups around the world are fighting for purely local reasons, for instance, trying to install Sharia law in northern Nigeria or trying to impose Taliban rule on Pakistan and Afghanistan, while only a small number of these militants are focused on attacking the West.
So maybe we shouldn't be shitting our pants with fear, and itching for another Mideast war without a chance of victory or timeline?
By Peter Bergen and Emily Schneider
September 26, 2014 | CNN