The most cogent source I have found on the genealogy of jihadism as a form of political resistance–starting with Sayyid Qutb’s Milestones in 1964–is Fawaz A. Gergez, The Far Enemy: Why Jihad Went Global (2005).
Unlike mainstream Islamists who have given up on the use of force, since the 1970s jihadis have utilized violence in the name of religion and have sought to seize power and Islamize society by autocratic fiat from the top down. But their revolt is directed not only against the secular status quo, which they perceive as morally abhorrent, but also against the religious authority and the established canon of Islamic jurisprudence, scholarship, and history that they view as being subverted by corrupting Western influences. In a sense, jihadis are practicing taqleed (emulating tradition) and are engaged in ijtihad (an effort of interpretation of the sacred texts) at the same time. … [D]octrinaire jihadis  have used violence against both their own governments (the near enemy) and Western targets (the far enemy); the most important of these jihadis are the Egyptian al-Jama’a al-Islamiya (Islamic Group) and Tanzim al-Jihad (Islamic Jihad); the Algerian Armed Islamic Group (GIA), which now seems to be defunct and replaced by the Salafist Group for Dawa and Combat; Al Qaeda; al-Tawhid wa al-Jihad, led by the militant Jordanian Abu Musab al-Zarqawi; and other smaller fringe groups. […] [T]he so-called irredentist jihadis struggle to redeem land considered to be part of dar al-islam (House of Islam) from non-Muslim rule or occupation, like Palestinian Hamas and Jihad, Lebanon’s Hizbollah or Party of God, and other groups in Kashmir, Chechnya, Mindanao, and elsewhere. Irredentist jihadism is sometimes the object of rivalry between nationalist forces, who may not conceive of it as jihad, and Islamists, and, within the latter, between local and global elements, as between the Afghan mujahedeen (Islamic fighters) and the “Afghan Arabs” who joined their struggle in the 1980s; similar nuances have been discernible in other irredentist conflicts, notably in Bosnia from 1992 to 1996, in Mindanao, and now in Iraq. There exist major differences among these three distinct strands of jihadism – internal, global, and irredentist – in terms of diversity of objectives, strategy, and tactics. For example, an important distinction is between the resort to armed struggle that is primarily determined by the context (foreign rule or military occupation) and that which arises primarily out of a radical doctrine expressing a preference for violence over nonviolent strategies despite the possibility of engaging in the latter: “Irredentist struggles are not as a rule the work of doctrinaire jihadis, whereas both internal and global jihads typically are.”Fawaz A. Gergez, The Far Enemy: Why Jihad Went Global (2005), pp. 1-2.
According to Zawahiri, Qutb convinced young activists that the internal enemy is as dangerous as, if not more dangerous than, the external one because it serves as a tool for the latter to wage a hidden war against Islam and Muslims. As a result, Zawahiri adds, the Islamic vanguard, who used to consider the external enemy as the enemy of Islam, began to fight local regimes, which he said are the real enemy of Islam.Fawaz A. Gergez, The Far Enemy: Why Jihad Went Global (2005), p. 5.
Zawahiri’s radicalism is deeply influenced by Qutb’s writings, and all his publications borrowed intellectually from Qutb’s, particularly his commentary on the Qur’an, In the Shades of the Qur’an, considered by some jihadis to be his best for its accessibility and human dimension.24 Qutb’s Milestones targeted Zawahiri’s generation – “this vanguard” – who, Qutb noted, should know the landmarks on the road toward their destination, which is to rid Muslim society and politics of jahiliya and to restore hakimiya to earth. As he said in the introduction, “I have written Milestones for this vanguard, which I consider to be a waiting reality about to be materialized.”25 Those fateful words, written in a prison cell before he was hanged, led thousands of young men on a violent journey to exact revenge on jahili rulers and jahili society in general.Fawaz A. Gergez, The Far Enemy: Why Jihad Went Global (2005), p. 6.
According to recent memoirs, diaries, and private conversations with the so-called Afghan Arabs, Muslim political and religious authorities played a vital role in creating a fertile environment in support of the Afghan jihad. Young Muslims were bombarded with calls to join in jihad against the atheist occupiers. Mainstream and radical clerics alike urged and incited the youths to migrate to Afghanistan to help their Muslim brethren. Official media coverage also brought the message home regarding the importance of making jihad in support of Muslims worldwide. In his recollections, al-Bahri, who was in his teens at that time, said that the Saudi media “played a big role in stoking the fire of jihad among the people through coverage of the arenas of jihad, particularly the press interviews that were held with some of the leading mujahedeen figures.”47 As mentioned previously, al-Bahri painted a picture of the Saudi scene whereby the royal family and clerics fully supported the Afghan jihad with words and deeds. It is little wonder that of all their Muslim counterparts, the Saudi contingent was the largestFawaz A. Gergez, The Far Enemy: Why Jihad Went Global (2005), pp. 68-69.
[I]n the early 1980s discussions about unification among the incarcerated leaders of Egyptian Jihad and Islamic Group ended in disagreement over whether sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman (often called the “Blind Sheikh” in the United States, he is serving a life sentence for his role in the 1993 plot to bomb major New York landmarks, including the Holland and Lincoln tunnels, which was disrupted by the FBI) was eligible and qualified to serve as the spiritual guide of Islamic Group. Jihadis who were in prison then say that Zawahiri and the Jihad Group contingent vehemently opposed wilayat al-darir, or “rule of the blind,” on operational and doctrinal grounds. Although they respected Abdel Rahman, who shared their worldview regarding the centrality and primacy of rising up against the near enemy, Zawahiri and his associates did not think that the sightless sheikh could navigate the labyrinth of underground insurgency activities and lead the jihadist movement to victory.
Regardless of the pros and cons of wilayat al-darir, the fact remains that jihadis failed to close ranks during one of the most difficult moments in their history: killing Sadat in 1981 and then being brutally suppressed by the Egyptian authorities. Facing the powerful might of the state and an existential threat to their survival, one would have expected jihadis’ incarcerated leaders to rise to the challenge and put aside their petty personal and ideological differences and unite. Centrifugal forces proved to be more insurmountable than combining the power would have been. In his diaries, Zayat, who was in prison in the Sadat case and who witnessed petty quarrels and rivalries among incarcerated jihadis, draws an unsavory picture whereby tribal and regional biases superseded religious-nationalist loyalties and poisoned the atmosphere.Fawaz A. Gergez, The Far Enemy: Why Jihad Went Global (2005), p. 100.