The Corner

Exploiting the Already Widening Split Among Jihadist Leaders

There is a widening split among the jihadist leaders in Pakistan’s northwest tribal belt. South Waziristan Taliban commander Maulvi Nazir has formed a bloc with North Waziristan commander Haji Gul Bahadar against the ubiquitous Baitullah Mehsud, whom the CIA believes was behind the Bhutto assassination. Nazir was the local leader who led a violent move to expel the al Qaeda-linked Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan from South Waziristan. The Uzbeks are now allegedly allied with Baitullah Mehsud. Of course in factional fights like this we wish both sides the best of luck, but such splits also present opportunities for working with one or the other side (or both) to further U.S. interests, particularly in finding Osama bin Laden and other terror leaders holed up in the region. It also says something about the nature of such groups and their frequent lack of unity. They may agree with each other on 99.9% of the ideological questions, but will go to war over such non-doctrinal matters as who gets to be in charge of what piece of turf. These aren’t people who necessarily work and play well with others. I think the U.S. could do a lot more to destabilize these organizations by harnessing the destructive powers of ego, jealousy, and paranoia.

James S. Robbins — James S. Robbins is a political commentator for National Review and USA Today and is senior fellow for national security affairs on the American Foreign Policy Council. He is a ...

Most Popular


Political Theatrics

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is Jonah Goldberg’s weekly “news”letter, the G-File. Subscribe here to get the G-File delivered to your inbox on Fridays. Dear Reader (Including all you whippersnappers under the age of 50), I’m writing this from somewhere over the Atlantic. At least I hope that’s ... Read More

The Real Reasons American Evangelicals Support Israel

It never fails. Whenever a Republican president makes a controversial or contentious move to support Israel -- such as moving the American embassy to Jerusalem, or yesterday’s decision to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights -- you’ll see various “explainers” and other stories that purport ... Read More