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October 16, 2007

Divide and Conquer
Posted by David Shorr

Matt Yglesias picks up on hard-liner obliviousness in the face of internal splits within Hezbollah. But Matt is so off-handed -- he was going for pithy, I'm sure, and achieved it -- that a really important point is in danger of being lost. He quotes Andy McCarthy saying that Hezbollah is so implacable that its internal struggle over strategy is inconsequential.

In a speech last year, Zbigniew Brzezinski came up with one of the great summaries of our predicament: that instead of uniting our friends and dividing our enemies, we have been uniting our enemies and dividing our friends. One of the many problems with pumping up Jihadism as the contemporary equivalent of the East Bloc is that it defines our adversaries as monolithic. Matt's absolutely right that infighting among our adversaries could be very significant, and useful. But don't take my word for it, West Point's Combating Terrorism Center has done a serious study of disputes among terrorists over tactics and strategy. [Hat tip to Lorelei for highlighting this work last year.]

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