We’re used to seeing mergers in American business. Just last year AT&T got together with Time Warner, and there were mergers involving other mega companies such as Qualcomm, Reynolds, Monsanto, and Bayer.
And in the geopolitical arena, there are alliances between governments. NATO and ad hoc coalitions are formed between nations to fight a common enemy.
But this latest potential merger is causing some concern and surprise, and it may have deadly consequences.
Fox News reports that the heads of al-Qaeda and ISIS are considering merging their terrorist groups, according to Iraq’s Vice President Ayad Allawi:
Allawi said the leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and the head of Al Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri, are not communicating with each other directly but through intermediaries.
“I don’t know exactly when, but there are discussions and dialogues between messengers,” he said, adding that it’s not clear how the two groups will work together.
The “merger” talks, originally reported by Reuters, indicate that after a big “break up” in 2014, the two sides see the need to combine efforts:
Islamic State split from al Qaeda in 2014 and the two groups have since waged an acrimonious battle for recruits, funding and the mantle of global jihad. [Al Qaeda chief Ayman] Zawahiri has publicly criticized Islamic State for its brutal methods, which have included beheadings, drownings and immolation.
[ISIS head Abu Bakr al] Baghdadi declared a caliphate over the territory the group controlled from the al-Nuri mosque in Mosul the same year, which also became a point of contention with al Qaeda.