Sophisticated observers are often equipped with theories about things that can’t happen. Like, for example, the theory that the Nazis couldn’t possibly collaborate with Communists, since they were polar opposites. As it turned out, they were barely distinguishable–sort of like the Crips and the Bloods–and when it came to dividing up Poland, they were more than happy to cooperate. Likewise, not long ago sophisticates told us that Iraq couldn’t possibly cooperate with al Qaeda and other Islamic terrorist groups since Saddam’s government was “secular.” We now know that wasn’t true, either.
A recent variant is the claim, often asserted by “experts” and others, that Hezbollah and al Qaeda are rivals, and therefore couldn’t possibly collaborate on anything. Not only that, but al Qaeda is Sunni and Hezbollah is Shia. Enough said.
Not surprisingly, this neat construct doesn’t work, either. The latest Zawahiri tape, in which he vows to avenge al Qaeda’s “brothers” in southern Lebanon, is not a departure. Rather, as Thomas Joscelyn shows in the Daily Standard, it is consistent with a considerable history of collaboration between the two terrorist groups. Who, at the end of the day, are as alike as two peas in a pod.