Archives for category: hope and change

i’m just soooo glad we helped to bring democracy to egypt and libya — especially since they wanted it so much. so how’s all that working out for us anyway?:

“US official dies in Libya consulate attack in Benghazi”

“An American has been killed and at least one other wounded after militiamen stormed the US consulate in the Libyan city of Benghazi, officials say.

“It is believed the protest was held over a US-produced film that is said to be insulting to the Prophet Muhammad.

“The building was set on fire after armed men raided the compound with grenades.

“Protests have also been held at the US embassy in the Egyptian capital, Cairo.

“In the attack in Benghazi, unidentified armed men stormed the grounds, shooting at buildings and throwing handmade bombs into the compound.

“Security forces returned fire but Libyan officials say they were overwhelmed….

“The film that sparked the demonstration is said to have been produced by a 52-year-old US citizen from California named Sam Bacile, and promoted by an expatriate Egyptian Copt….

“‘Abuse freedom of speech’

“Thousands of protesters had gathered outside the US embassy in the Egyptian capital.

“Egyptian protesters condemned what they said was the humiliation of the Prophet of Islam under the pretext of freedom of speech…..”
_____

you know, they just have to get over it. they don’t like freedom of speech and they don’t want it in their countries? — fine. but we have it in ours and they’re just gonna have to deal with it.

and we’d better not apologize for any of this, either! oh, wait. too late:

“The US embassy earlier issued a statement condemning ‘the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims – as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions’.”

sheesh.
_____

update 09/12: posting these, from this 2012 pew survey of egypt, in response to peter’s comment below. see my response:

(note: comments do not require an email. omg! it’s mohammed!)

oh, yes. saudi arabia. due for a “day of rage” tomorrow. (does that mean we’ll see the return of islamic rage boy?! oh, goodie! remember, tho — those folks don’t like to be made fun of!)

just don’t get fooled by the reports of sectarian violence and sunnis versus shias and all that. what it’ll be is tribal violence. it ain’t got nuthin’ to do with religious sects. it might seem so, but all that’s only on the surface. the sectarian divide(s) are just reflecting tribal (i.e. genetic relatedness) divides.

a lot (most?) of the shia minority in saudi arabia is found on the persian gulf. these people are baharna tribes — just like the shia in bahrain. there are some also other shias found in the south towards yemen.

the ruling saud family, and the wahhabis and salafis, are all related tribes from the central part of arabia. they are not (so) related to the baharnas or the folks down towards yemen. they’re all arabs, sure, but they’re all from different tribes. the sauds, et. al., are ruling over (somewhat) unrelated peoples who might just be getting fed up with the sitch. they are the ones that are gonna be spreading all the rage.

i would guess some of the saudi citizens along the red sea might also join in the action. these are the hashemite tribes who lost out to the al sauds when the “nation” of saudi arabia was founded. i’m guessing they might be generally p*ssed off, too.

and now … your daily hadith:

Narrated Wathilah ibn al-Asqa: I asked, “Messenger of Allah! What is tribalism?” The Prophet, peace be upon him, replied, “That you help your people in wrongdoing.”

[Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 41, Number 5100]

previously: aígyptos, baharnas and ajams and howalas, oh my! and libya – land o’ tribes

update: see also “Saudi Arabia without King Abdullah” for a good breakdown of who’s who in saudi arabian tribal politics.

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Nearly 4000 Muslims Attack Christian Homes in Egypt, Torch Church

“…This incident was triggered by a relationship between 40-year-old Copt Ashraf Iskander and a Muslim woman. Yesterday a ‘reconciliation’ meeting was arranged between the relevant Coptic and Muslim families and together with the Muslim elders it was decided that Ashraf Iskander would have to leave the village because Muslims torched his house.

The father of the Muslim woman was killed by his cousin because he did not kill his daughter to preserve the family’s honor, which led the woman’s brother to avenge the death of his father by killing the cousin. The village Muslims blamed the Christians….”

in many middle eastern|arab|south asian societies, the father’s brother’s son — the ibn ‘amm — has the first right to marry his paternal female cousin (i.e. his father’s brother’s daughter):

In many cases there is not only a preference but a right to marry the father’s brother’s daughter, wherein if the girl’s family wishes to marry her to anyone else they must first get the permission of the father’s brother’s son.

“Raphael Patai reports that in central Arabia, no relaxation of a man’s right to the father’s brother daughter (FBD) seems to have taken place in the past hundred years before his 1962 work. Here the girl is not forced to marry her ibn ‘amm but she cannot marry another unless he gives consent. The force of the custom is seen in one case from Jordan when the father arranged for the marriage of his daughter to an outsider without obtaining the consent of her ibn ‘amm. When the marriage procession progressed with the bride toward the house of the bridegroom, the ibn ‘amm rushed forward, snatched away the girl, and forced her into his own house. This was regarded by all as a lawful marriage. In Iraq, the right of the cousin has also traditionally been followed, and a girl breaking the rule without the consent of the ibn ‘amm could have ended up murdered by him….”

and my impression is she still can be.

previously: cousin marriage conundrum addendum

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now that the msm — including cnn and the huffpost! — have caught up to hbd chick re. the importance of tribes in libya (~_^) …

In Libya, it’s all about the tribes“In Libya, the real power is in its tribal system.”

Libya’s tribal politics key to Gaddafi’s fate“[I]n Libya it is the much more opaque and complex tribal power structures that could decide how events play out.”

Navigating Libya’s tribal maze“Intricate tribal structure plays a crucial role in both Libyan politics and the current pro-democracy opposition.”

Libya’s Tribal Revolt May Mean Last Nail in Coffin for Qaddafi“Tribal loyalties form the bedrock of Libyan society.”

What’s With Libya? Who Are the Gaddafis?“The tribes and clans still play a silent but powerful role….”

Tribalism is key to the country’s future“‘It will be the tribal system that will hold the balance of power….’”

Libya tribes: Who’s who?“[T]he North African nation’s more than 140 tribes and clans … will likely determine the political future of Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi.”

… i thought i’d take a moment to reiterate the points i made about tribes and tribalism in north africa and the middle east.

the msm media has now figured out that tribes in libya (and, in case they hadn’t noticed, in places like afghanistan and iraq) have a lot of POLITICAL power, which some of them are now wielding in order to oust gaddafi.

in my post on tribes in libya, i was just repeating what kurtz|sailer| parapundit had pointed out about iraq several years ago now — that the existence of tribes in a place has SOCIAL repercussions.

i.e. because of the heavy inbreeding within the extended families|clans| tribes in libya (afghanistan, iraq, yemen, oman, egypt, etc…), the peoples of these places have divergent genetic interests and, therefore, do NOT get along. clans and tribes have been battling each other for centuries in these places. nepotism is rife in all of them — they favor their own ’cause they are MORE related to their relations than we are to ours. democracy in such societies doesn’t have a chance in hades.

THIS is the issue with tribes in these regions — the core reason why countries in north africa and the middle east are not going to develop into western-style democratic nations (not that there’s anything wrong with that!). not anytime soon, anyway.

“To enable one country to appreciate what another people really thinks and desires is both the most difficult and the most vital task which confronts us.” [John Bagot Glubb, Britain and the Arabs: A Study of Fifty Years 1908-1958.]

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see, it’s not just me! from reuters:

Libya’s tribal politics key to Gaddafi’s fate
February 22, 2011

By Peter Apps, Political Risk Correspondent

“LONDON, Feb 22 (Reuters) – Powerful military elites ultimately decided the outcome of Egypt and Tunisia’s revolutions, but in Libya it is the much more opaque and complex tribal power structures that could decide how events play out….

“More important are the larger tribes who had been co-opted into his rule such as the Warfalla, who make up an estimated 1 million of Libyan’s more than 6 million population. Some rumours suggest the ferocity of Gaddafi’s crackdown on his own people may already be prompting tribal leaders to switch allegiance.

“This week leading members of the Warfalla issued statements rejecting Gaddafi and urging him to leave Libya.

“‘In Libya, it will be the tribal system that will hold the balance of power rather than the military,’ said Alia Brahimi, head of the North Africa programme at the London School of Economics….

“‘[P]ower is largely vested in a series of paramilitary formations, bolstered by groups of foreign African mercenaries, that have largely remained loyal to the Gaddafi family,’ he [Noman Benotman] wrote in a paper for Britain’s Quilliam thinktank….

“The presence of African mercenaries was the result of years of relationship building by Gaddafi in Africa, he said….

“Parts of the military had long appeared reluctant to use excessive force against their own people, she [Alia Brahimi] said. Popular rumour held that Gaddafi was forced to rely on Serbian mercenary pilots to bomb civilian areas during offensives against Islamist militancy in the 1990s….”

oops! there’s those serbians again. they’d BETTER get out of the country!

“Some say Gaddafi’s tribal strategy has effectively amounted to a system of divide and rule, buying off particularly established tribal leaders from key groups. In recent years, they say, control has been faltering and recent events may accelerate this.

“‘Gaddafi made sure to keep the people aware of their tribal divisions, winning the alliance of larger ones and hence keeping the population under control,’ wrote Jerusalem-based journalist Lisa Goldman after a Skype conversation with a Libyan contact she said was well placed to talk on some military matters.

“”Although the larger ones like the Warfallis and the Megrahees were privileged with power and money, his recent actions angered these tribes and for the first time in decades tribal barriers have withered away. People are uniting with other formerly rival tribes or even different ethnicities like the Amazeegh or Berbers.’

“If Gaddafi can persuade other tribes to stay loyal to him, most experts believe he will probably try to arm them directly, raising the risks of ethnic conflict that could tear the country apart, send refugees pouring into its neighbours and jeopardise oil supplies….

“‘We could see something more along the lines of Lebanon’s civil war — a prolonged period of violence and bloodshed.’”

rivers of blood.”

and this is from the arab paper, asharq al-awsat — and if anybody should know about the importance of tribes, it’s the arabs!:

Libyan Tribal Map: Network of loyalties that will determine Gaddafi’s fate
22/02/2011
By Abdulsattar Hatitah

“Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat – Libyan tribes played an important role in the country’s fight against Ottoman, and later Italian, colonialism, with many Libyan tribal members sacrificing their lives in this war. It is believed that there are currently around 140 different tribes and clans in Libya, many of which have influences and members outside of the country, from Tunisia to Egypt to Chad. However Dr. Faraj Abdulaziz Najam, a Libyan specialist in Social Sciences and History, told Asharq Al-Awsat that the Libyan tribes and clans that have genuine and demonstrable influence on the country number no more than 30 [tribes and family clans].

“In a country that has lived under the brutal dictatorship of one man for more than forty years, namely Colonel Muammar Gaddafi –of the Gaddafi tribe – the majority of Libyans depend on their tribal connection in order to obtain their rights, and for protection, and even in order to find a job, particularly in the state apparatus. In a study conducted by Dr. Amal al-Obeidi at the University of Garyounis in Benghazi, it was revealed that the two largest and most influential Arab tribes in Libya originated from the Arab Peninsula, and these are the Beni Salim tribe that settled in Cyrenaica, the eastern coastal region of Libya, and the Beni Hilal that settled in western Libya around Tripoli. However other Libyan researchers and expert also revealed that around 15 percent of the Libyan population have no tribal affiliation whatsoever, being descendents of the Berber, Turkish, and other communities.

“The degree of political allegiance to the ruling regime in Tripoli varies from one tribe to the next, particularly over the forty years that Gaddafi has been in power. The tribe which has the strongest, and longest, ties to the Gaddafi region is the Magariha tribe, who which has yet to announce their position on the bloody demonstrations that have been taking place across the country for the past week. Former Libyan Prime Minister Abdessalam Jalloud, widely regarded as Gaddafi’s right-hand man for much of his reign, is a member of the Magariha tribe. Gaddafi’s own tribe, the Gaddafi tribe, had historically not been an important tribe in Libya prior to Colonel Gaddafi’s ascent to power, and the Gaddafi tribe was not known for playing a major role in Libya’s right against colonialism over the last 200 years….”

there’s a lot more dizzying detail on the libyan tribes in that article if you’re interested. LOTS more detail. but i’ll spare you those details.

ok. just a little bit more, maybe:

“Experts say that the Magariha tribe is in the best position to carry out a coup against the Libyan leader, as many members of this tribe are in sensitive and senior positions of the Libyan government and security services. Whilst the Zawiya tribe is also in a strong position, and has threatened to stop the flow of oil into western Libya unless the authorities stop their deadly crackdown against the Libyan protestors.

“Tribal influence in Libya is extremely important, particularly since the 1970s, with tribal affiliation being important with regards to obtaining employment in Libya’s General People’s Committees, as well as in the country’s security apparatus.

“The largest and most influential tribe in eastern Libya is the Misurata tribe, which takes its name from the Misurata district in northwestern Libya. The tribe has particularly strong influence in the cities of Benghazi and Darneh.”

benghazi is where the recent protests in libya started.

and, finally, from france24:

Tribes’ support ‘legitimises’ uprising

“In Libya, several tribal chiefs have lent support to the anti-government movement. France24.com spoke to Hasni Abidi, director of the Study and Research Centre for the Arab and Mediterranean World in Geneva, about the role of tribes in the events….

“FRANCE 24: What role to tribal chiefs play in Libya?”

“Hasni Abidi: There are several dozen tribes, subdivided into little sub-tribes, which exist all over Libya and are very active. Libya is one of the most tribal nations of the Arab world. And historically, the tribes played a very important role: they were, notably, the motor behind the struggle against Italian colonisation.

“Officially, according to the Green Book [the text written by Gaddafi in 1975 that sets out his political philosophy], tribal chiefs have no political influence. On the other hand, they are essential in maintaining the social cohesiveness and stability of the country.

“F24: What relationship do tribal chiefs have with Muammar Gaddafi?

“Hasni Abidi: After his coup d’état against King Idris in 1969, Gaddafi wanted to reshape Libya into a nation-state modelled on the Western example. That effort entailed a full-blown attack on tribal chiefs. He took away all their political power, but did not succeed in stripping them of their strength and influence.

“We see the result today: Gaddafi is reaping what he sowed forty years ago.

“F24: Do the tribal chiefs have any influence in the current revolt in Libya? If so, what is it?

“Hasni Abidi: The uprisings in Libya are popular, not tribal. But just like the army, tribal chiefs can have a crucial impact in this movement, even to the point of toppling the regime. They legitimise the anti-government movement and if they join it, they can considerably expand the movement’s reach. The tribal chiefs represent a sort of moral and social support, and a refuge, given the total absence of Libyan political institutions. The main Libyan tribe, Warfallah, counts nearly one million people and was the first tribe to support the current anti-government movement. It’s a very bad sign for Gaddafi’s regime. And the regime knows that.”

if you haven’t had enough of libyan’s tribes by now, here’s more: Libya – Tribes

update: you know it’s not good when your own family doesn’t support you anymore –

Clampdown in Libyan capital as protests close in

“Two air force pilots jumped from parachutes from their Russian-made Sukhoi fighter jet and let it crash, rather than carry out orders to bomb opposition-held Benghazi, Libya’s second largest city, the website Quryna reported, citing an unidentified officer in the air force control room.

“One of the pilots — identified by the report as Ali Omar Gadhafi — was from Gadhafi’s tribe, the Gadhadhfa, said Farag al-Maghrabi, a local resident who saw the pilots and the wreckage of the jet, which crashed in a deserted area outside the key oil port of Breqa….”

another update: see also Qaddafi survival means weak army, co-opted tribes

previously: serbians being evacuated from libya!, libya – land o’ tribes and cousin marriage conundrum addendum.

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whiskey says:

“The one ‘bright spot’ is that a huge shock, nuclear attack by Iran or AQ, cyber sabotage taking down infrastructure, massive oil shocks due to a widespread Arab revolt, all promise to create massive instability and financial destruction. In which women would spell Beta Males (who are willing to fight, and can do so effectively) P-R-O-T-E-C-T-I-O-N. Think the LA Riots. Or any third world disturbance. Of course X-box playing guys are probably limited in their usefulness in fighting, but one looks for silver linings where ever one can.”

funny, but i often have similar thoughts (altho not about global thermonuclear war — don’t want that under any circumstances, thankuverymuch).

he’s talking about how to solve our society’s mating problems (and we do have such problems); but i usually have these sort of thoughts related to political correctness and things like the mass immigration of non-westerners to the u.s. and europe (and the antipodes). and of some westerners, come to think of it. i mean, how many poles do we really need to have in the u.k., huh?

i sometimes find myself “hoping” for some sort of disaster that will force westerners to WAKE UP. i don’t think, tho, that we have to “hope” for an oil shock or any sort of cyber sabotage. we just have to wait for helicopter ben to finish his handiwork.

*sigh*

but, as rs just commented:

“This is frequently a sad world, yet our job is to find happiness and greatness in it, and create more of the same – both among our own, and also worldwide. Securing our own, first of all – which is the prerequisite to helping to promote others.”

well put. well put, indeed.

and, now, for something completely different (to cheer us up a bit!)…

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so, libya’s got a handful of ethnic groups

“Native Libyans are primarily Berbers, Arabized Berbers and Turks, ethnic ‘pure’ Arabs (mainly tribal desert Arabs ‘Bedouins’), and Tuareg. Small Hausa, and Tebu tribal groups in southern Libya are nomadic or seminomadic.”

(here’s a nice map outlining from whence they hail.)

plus there’s a whole bunch o’ immigrants (some legal, a LOT illegal) from egypt and tunisia and sub-saharan african countries…

“Among foreign residents, the largest groups are citizens of other African nations, including North Africans (primarily Egyptians), and Sub-Saharan Africans. Libya is home to a large illegal population which numbers more than one million, mostly Egyptians and Sub-Saharan Africans.”

simply having all these various ethnic groups in one country would make things really interesting on the political scene (with all those conflicting ethnic genetic interests); but THEN, libya is full o’ tribes, too! tribes, tribes, and more TRIBES! all of the berbers and arabs and arabized berbers are divided into who knows how many tribes and clans and familial-what-nots (i dunno — i couldn’t find a comprehensive list online).

97% of the population is muslim, and 90-95% of them are sunni muslims. so there’s not really any obvious ethnic/tribal divides along religious lines like there is in bahrain.

nope. what there is is TRIBES.

tribes seem to be a complete mystery to (most) contemporary cultural anthropologists, prolly ’cause most of them don’t do science.

however, mr. snappy dresser himself knows what tribes are (pg. 299). in fact, he sounds like he’s been reading a lot of steve sailer!:

“A tribe is a family which has grown as a result of procreation. It follows that a tribe is a big family….” unfortunately “…tribalism damages nationalism because tribal allegiance weakens national loyalty and flourishes at its expense…. It is damaging to the political structure if it is subjected to the family, tribal, or sectarian social structure and adopts its characteristics.

so, he’s not quite as dumb as he looks, eh? not quite.

muammar al gaddafi is a member of the — you guessed it — al gaddafi tribe. i’ve seen the gaddafi tribe described as a both a berber tribe and an arabized berber tribe, so i’m not sure how berber and|or arab m. gaddafi himself is. in his early years he was a big follower of nasser and pan-arabism, so i’m guessing he’s quite arab, but you never know. maybe he was just keen on allying himself with powerful folks in the arab world. (apparently, there are one million members of the al gaddafi tribe in egypt. don’t know if that makes the gaddafis arab tribes or arabized berber tribes or what. -??- i wonder how many of the illegal egyptian immigrants in libya are gaddafis?)

anyway. at the beginning of his glorious revolution, gadaffi apparently tried to get rid of the tribes and tribal sentiments in libya. at the very least, he tried to minimize their power (while appointing members of his own tribe to important positions, of course.) this didn’t work out. the tribes didn’t just miraculously go away just ’cause he instituted a new -ism in libya. (what he should’ve done, of course, if he truly wanted to break the tribes, was to force everyone in libya to marry out of their tribe. ah, well. looks like it’s too late now!)

when that tactic didn’t pan out, gaddafi, in the ’80s, began to (try to) work with the tribes:

“Al-Qadhafi said political parties – whether they are Arab nationalists, communists or religious parties – had failed in liberating, developing or in uniting Arabs. He argued that only tribes can realize such a dream because they are united by high ideals and traditions: ‘We have gone back to tribes because other forces have failed. Where is the Ba’th Party, where are the Arab nationalists, where are other nationalist parties, where are the communist and religious parties? They are all dispersed and they did nothing. They have failed to unite or liberate the nation. Now the modern party is the tribe, and tomorrow’s army is the tribe.’”

apparently, gaddafi was a master at pitting the tribes against one another. up until now.

so, the state of libya now is as it ever was — full of inbred tribes that are all looking out for themselves (not that there’s anything wrong with that! — but democracy ain’t gonna work well in such a place):

“Tribalism remains a key determinant in political allegiances in Libya. Neither oil wealth and modernizing influences nor Qadhafi’s revolution have altered the web of kinship-based loyalties that has characterized Libya’s domestic political scene for centuries. Libya’s tribes are arranged in a pyramidal lineage scheme of subtribal, clan, and family elements.” [source]

from 2002:

“The rivalries among the tribes of Libya extend to an era well before the formation of the modern Libyan state. Such rivalries are most pronounced in the armed forces. Each of the main tribes is represented in the military establishment and the various popular and revolutionary committees. For instance, Qadhafi’s Qadhadfa tribe has an ongoing rivalry with the Magariha tribe of Abdel Sallam Jalloud, the man who was second-in-command in the country for decades until he fell out of favour….

“The Warfalla tribe, which turned against Qadhafi during the coup attempt in 1993, is numerous and is closest to Jalloud’s Magariha tribe. The Al Zintan tribe backed the Warfalla as well. The coup attempt was spearheaded by Warfalla officers in the Bani Walid region, 120 km south-east of Tripoli. The main reason for the coup attempt was that, despite its size, this tribe was poorly represented in the regime and only occupied second-echelon posts in the officers’ corps.

Moreover, Warfalla tribal officers have been excluded from the air force. The air force is reserved almost exclusively to the Qadhadfa tribe, to which Qadhafi belongs. [and now the air force is bombing the protestors. what a surprise!] It was the air force which crushed the coup attempt in October 1993. Jalloud’s Magariha tribe comes next to the Warfalla in terms of numerical strength and is bigger than the Qadhadfa….

If Jalloud’s Magariha, the Warfalla and Islamic militant groups unite against Qadhafi in an all-out confrontation involving the military, they could take over power. But that would soon be followed by challenges from other tribes. Ultimately, if Qadhafi is overthrown, these tribes could fight each other and Libya could be split into several regions.”

confused? i am.

gaddafis. magarihas. warfallas. al zintans. that’s a lot of players to keep track of! right now, the warfallas and another tribe called the al zuwayyas are siding with the protestors. (the al zuwayyas are the ones who threatened to stop the oil exports.)

from the nyt:

“Libyans tend to identify themselves as members of tribes or clans rather than citizens of a country, and Colonel Qaddafi has governed in part through the mediation of a ‘social leadership committee’ composed of about 15 representatives of various tribes, said Diederik Vandewalle, a Dartmouth professor who has studied the country.

“What’s more, Mr. Vandewalle noted, most of the tribal representatives on the committee are also military officers, who each represent a tribal group within the military. So, unlike the Tunisian or Egyptian militaries, the Libyan military lacks the cohesion or professionalism that might enable it to step in to resolve the conflict with the protesters or to stabilize the country.

terrific.

gaddafi needs (needed?) to go ’cause he’s a psychopathic lunatic that has driven his country into the ground with his bizarro political strategies. but, just as in egypt and bahrain, democracy clearly AIN’T gonna make things much better.

__________

note: no idea what the consanguinity rate for libyans is because of the completely f*cked up health-care system in libya (most of the cousin-marriage research done in the arab world is connected to medical research ’cause of all the genetic diseases|conditions). there is one report which states in the abstract that there is a “high frequency of consanguineous marriages in Libya.” the rate is not in the abstract and, unfortunately, i don’t have access to the journal.

it wouldn’t, i think, be unreasonable to suppose that the consanguinity rate in libya is not unlike its neighbors, egypt and tunisia, which are 38.9% (2000) and 26.9% (1980s) respectively. the moral of the story is: all of those tribes are inbred. and you know what that means.

see also: Libya crisis: what role do tribal loyalties play? and What’s Happening in Libya Explained

previously: baharnas and ajams and howalas, oh my!, cousin marriage conundrum addendum and aígyptos.

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so, tptb in bahrain are shooting @ the protestors:

Bahrain royal family orders army to turn on the people

“…Most of the protesters are members of Bahrain’s long-marginalised Shia majority.

“They say they are not demanding the abdication of Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, Bahrain’s Sunni king, but they are calling for a constitutional monarchy that would treat the Shia fairly and make them equal subjects in his kingdom.

“But they are demanding the resignation of his uncle Khalifa bin Sulman Al Khalifa, who has served as prime minister for 39 years.

“During his rule, the protesters say, the Shia have been turned into second class citizens, deprived of jobs in the army, police force and government while Sunnis from abroad have been given Bahraini citizenship to alter the kingdom’s demographic balance….”

“sunni” and “shia” are really just code words for a couple of populations of unrelated peoples that don’t get along.

in bahrain, the shia — who are probably 66% of the population — are the baharna, the arabs indigenous to the area. they happen to have as allies the ajam, some persians who settled in bahrain within the last 100 years.

i imagine that these two groups are allied together against the ruling “sunnis” just for convenience’s sake. they’d probably have a go at one another given the chance. kinda like how blacks and hispanics here in the u.s. are allied politically … for now ….

the sunni — who are probably 33% of the population — are in charge. they’re other arabs from an area in the center of the arabian peninsula. in other words, they’re really not related at all to the local baharna. they’ve been in bahrain for a couple of hundred years.

it’s kind-of like if the poles went and invaded and took over bulgaria. sure, they’re all slavs (arabs) so they’re related in one way, but clearly the poles (sunni arabs in bahrain) are not really bulgarians (baharna).

see?

the king of bahrain, the prime minister, and roughly half of the cabinet are all members of the al khalifa clan, i.e. they’re all some of these non-bahraini arabs from central arabia.

allied with these sunni arabs that are in charge are the huwala, who were a bunch of sunni arabs from a bunch of different areas who migrated to persia at one time but then came back to the arabian peninsula. (there’s some persians mixed into that group just to add to the confusion.) and, also, the descedants of the african slaves that had belonged to the al khalifas once-upon-a-time are allied to them. oh, there’s also some bedouin tribes in bahrain that are allied to the sunnis in charge.

so, there’s the “bahrainis for dummies” breakdown for you, as far as i understand it.

don’t let THEM throw you off with all this “sunni”/”shia” nonsense. religion and religious sects ain’t got nothing to do with it. not ultimately anyway. there’s a minority of foreigners (+ their allies) ruling over a majority of natives (+ their allies), and the natives are a little fed up, especially since the rulers have been busy electing a new people.

oh, and yes the clans in bahrain inbreed, too. the first- plus second-cousin marriage rate in 1989 was 31.8%.

previously: cousin marriage conundrum addendum and aígyptos

update: from The Menas Associates Blog

“During the 1990s, there were several years of Shi’a rioting and low level violence mostly in rural areas against a constitution that allowed them virtually no representation. When King Hamad took power in 1999 he offered a new deal whereby the Shi’a appeared to be able to vote freely for a Lower House which would have the main say in parliament. He later altered this to an equal voice to the Upper House. Election arrangements for the Lower House are organised (i.e. gerrymandered) to ensure that the Shi’a are under-represented….

“There are also strong suspicions that the regime has been granting nationality to Sunni from Jordan and other countries in an effort to increase Sunni demographic size…..”

update 02/21: see also steve sailer’s Bahrain—Electing A New People…And Shooting The Old One

update 02/22: see also IAmA Bahraini Citizen, and I will tell you what’s REALLY going on in Bahrain.

update 03/11: from globalsecurity.org“The way that government officials are appointed reflects the importance of tribal connections. Members of the ruling family are accommodated first, followed by families and tribes with whom the rulers have been traditionally allied. In Bahrain, for example, the ruling Al Khalifa have given the major positions in the bureaucracy to Sunni Arabs from tribes that helped them rule the island in the nineteenth century. The Al Khalifa have given lesser positions to Shia Arabs from merchant families with whom they engaged in the pearl industry but with whom they had no tribal alliances. But the Al Khalifa have been reluctant to give positions of authority to Shia farmers of Iranian descent to whom they had neither tribal nor economic ties.”

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