Archives for posts with tag: all tribes all the time!

Lyme bacteria show that evolvability is evolvable“Natural selection favours those with a greater capacity to generate genetic variation.”

50,000 generations of bacteria prove that evolution never stops“[C]omputer models have shown that animals can still experience significant evolutionary changes over time, even in the absence of selectional pressures. Traits like evolvability, or evolutionary potential. Indeed, the Lenski study shows that the same holds true when working with organisms in evolutionary ‘real time.’ The researchers, who performed a comparative analyses of the bacteria after every 500 generations, showed that E. coli will continue to evolve towards increasing replicative efficiency.” – h/t peter turchin! – see also Krazy Kats from greg cochran.

Mystery humans spiced up ancients’ rampant sex lives“Genome analysis suggests interbreeding between modern humans, Neanderthals, Denisovans and a mysterious archaic population.” – see also: Mystery human species emerges from Denisovan genome.

Out of Africa revisited (entrevista a Chris Stringer)“To what extent do these differences in evolutionary paths, if any, affect the human biodiversity we see today? That is still unclear, but will become clearer in the next few weeks with the publication of new data….”

Neanderthal virus DNA spotted hiding in modern humans“The DNA of ancient viruses first spotted in the Neanderthal genome have now been identified in modern humans…. [The researchers] examined the genomes of 67 people with cancer, and found they each contained seven of the sequences supposedly unique to the ancient humans.”

How Our Minds Went Viral“Based on this research, the scientists propose a scenario. Our ancestors millions of years ago were infected with a virus. Eventually it became lodged in our genome. At some point, a mutation moved the virus enhancer next to the PRODH gene. Further mutations allowed it to helped boost the gene’s activity in certain areas of the brain, such as the hippocampus…. Perhaps our minds are partly the way they are today thanks to an infection our ancestors got a few millions of years ago.” – h/t john durant!

Reconstructing the Population Genetic History of the Caribbean“‘We find evidence of two pulses of African migration. The first pulse—which today is reflected by shorter, older ancestry tracts—consists of a genetic component more similar to coastal West African regions involved in early stages of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. The second pulse—reflected by longer, younger tracts—is more similar to present-day West-Central African populations, supporting historical records of later transatlantic deportation. Surprisingly, we also identify a Latino-specific European component that has significantly diverged from its parental Iberian source populations, presumably as a result of small European founder population size. We demonstrate that the ancestral components in admixed genomes can be traced back to distinct sub-continental source populations with far greater resolution than previously thought, even when limited pre-Columbian Caribbean haplotypes have survived.'” – @dienekes’.

Correlations in the population structure of music, genes and language“‘[T]he first quantitative evidence that music and genes may have coevolved by demonstrating significant correlations between traditional group-level folk songs and mitochondrial DNA variation among nine indigenous populations of Taiwan.” – @dienekes’.

Wolves turned into dogs by European hunter-gatherers – h/t hbd bibliography!

The Paradox of Diverse Communities“Their simulations of more than 20 million virtual ‘neighborhoods’ demonstrate a troubling paradox: that community and diversity may be fundamentally incompatible goals…. After 20 million-plus simulations, the authors found that the same basic answer kept coming back: The more diverse or integrated a neighborhood is, the less socially cohesive it becomes, while the more homogenous or segregated it is, the more socially cohesive…. [T]he models demonstrated that it was impossible to simultaneously foster diversity and cohesion ‘in all reasonably likely worlds.’ In fact, the trends are so strong that no effective social policy could combat them, according to Neal. As he put it in a statement, ‘In essence, when it comes to neighborhood desegregation and social cohesion, you can’t have your cake and eat it too.'” – see also original research article: The (In)compatibility of Diversity and Sense of Community [pdf]. – h/t nearly everybody on twitter!

A Review of ‘The Diversity Illusion’ by Ed West – from peter hitchens. – The Diversity Illusion.

War’s Enduring Effects on the Development of Egalitarian Motivations and In-Group Biases“[G]reater exposure to war created a lasting increase in people’s egalitarian motivations toward their in-group, but not their out-groups, during a developmental window starting in middle childhood (around 7 years of age) and ending in early adulthood (around 20 years of age). Outside this window, war had no measurable impact on social motivations in young children and had only muted effects on the motivations of older adults.” – h/t t.greer!

It’s nothing to sniff at: Men have bigger noses because of more muscle“Men may have larger noses than women because they generally have more muscle, demanding larger noses to breathe in more oxygen….” – h/t mr. mangan, esq.!

Rural White Liberals – a Key to Understanding the Political Divide“there are likely several factors involved in shaping the modern American political landscape. Of which, the strongest may be ethnonational origin. This is buttressed by population density pressure, founder effects, internal self-sorting, and perhaps even recent evolution.” – from jayman.

John Horgan and the “Warfare is Innate” Red Herring“The Blank Slate may be dead, but its zombies still walk among us.” – (~_^) – from helian.

A Little Speculation About Disgust Sensitivity and Attitudes Towards Homosexuals and People of Other Races – ewwww! – from staffan

They aren’t meant to pee standing up – well, not without one of these, but frankly that’s gross. – the awesome epigone on how happy teh feminists are (not).

Open letter to Morten Kjeldgaard – (~_^) – from elijah. – see also Was the Scientific Dishonesty Minister trying to suppress population estimates? from dr. james thompson.

The White man has no friends“Over the past millennium, Western Europeans have created a social environment where the individual is largely free from collective ties of kinship and ethnicity. Because the State has imposed a monopoly on the use of violence, there is less need to rely on kinsmen to safeguard one’s life and property.” (and ’cause of The Outbreeding Project, too, imho. (^_^) ) – from peter frost.

Preclinical testing shows SUMO-1 gene therapy shrinks an enlarged heart, improves heart funcion, and blood flow, human trials to start – h/t mike anissimov!

Borjas, Grogger, and Hanson: Immigrant and Native Complementarity“George Borjas, Jeffrey Grogger, and Gordon Hanson have a new paper, and it’s not good news for the Ottaviano and Peri result that immigration can cause native wages to increase due to strong complementarities between native and immigrant labor.” – h/t heartiste!

Is Jared Diamond racist? – oh, noes! not a waaaaycist! (hmmmm. maybe he is….) – h/t peter turchin!

Stunning Portraits Of The World’s Remotest Tribes Before They Pass Away – h/t heartiste!

bonus: William Pollack Dies at 87; His Vaccine Saved Infants“William Pollack, a medical researcher who helped develop a vaccine that virtually eradicated a disease [Rh disease] once responsible for 10,000 infant deaths a year in the United States, died on Nov. 3 in Yorba Linda, Calif. He was 87.”malcom pollack‘s dad. =( see also: William Pollack, R.I.P. from mr. mangan, esq.

bonus bonus: working first chapter of A Part-time Job in the Country by luke lea! send comments to luke.

bonus bonus bonus: I’ve realised why I like the Dutch so much: they invented capitalism – from dan hannan. (just missing the biology! (~_^) ) – see also: The World of English Freedoms“It’s no accident that the English-speaking nations are the ones most devoted to law and individual rights, writes Daniel Hannan.”

bonus bonus bonus bonus: It’s time to confront this taboo: First cousin marriages in Muslim communities [in the u.k.] are putting hundreds of children at risk“Many NHS doctors, while admitting privately there is a crisis, refuse to speak out for fear of being branded ‘racist’.”

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Thus Spake Obama“The incompetence of our neo-monarchy.” – from mark steyn. – h/t charles murray!

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Wine: Drinking in the Mother Vine“[R]eportedly the oldest cultivated grapevine in North America.”

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Scientists date world’s oldest animal at 507 years old — after they accidentally kill it – *facepalm* – h/t nelson!

(note: comments do not require an email. ming – the ex-world’s oldest animal.)

this is a real head-scratcher…

Can Libya Be Saved?

“Two years ago this month, Tripoli, the capital of Libya, fell to the amalgam of rebel forces that had been closing in on the city. The country’s leader Muammar Qaddafi fled to his home town, Surt, where, on October 20, 2011, rebels stabbed, beat, and shot him to death after his convoy was hit by a NATO missile strike. Qaddafi’s eccentric, forty-two-year dictatorship was over, signalling the apparent end to a dramatic chain of events that had started nine months earlier, in the eastern city of Benghazi. There, inspired by the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak, in neighboring Egypt, Libyans had demonstrated against Qaddafi’s rule, and the protests had turned into a bloody national showdown with security forces. The protesters, eventually assisted by French, American, and British bombers under the NATO banner, succeeded. The smoke had not yet cleared when the victory was being touted as a shining example of what Western powers could do on a modern battleground without ever putting ‘boots on the ground.’

With no further need for war and with Western powers fussing over what was being vaunted as the oil-rich nation’s new democracy, Libya should have once again achieved peace and stability. Instead, the country, of more than six million people, seems to have been fatally destabilized by the war to remove its dictator, and it is increasingly out of control. Militias that arose on various regional battlefronts found themselves in possession of vast arsenals and large swaths of territory. Despite the orchestration of parliamentary elections and the assumption of nominal rule by civilian politicians in Tripoli, those militias have not stood down; instead, they have used their force and their firepower to try to effect change in the capital, even, on several occasions, besieging government buildings. They have also fought one another over long-held regional enmities; the most recent such battle occurred last month….

previously: libyans on democracy: meh and the nyt discovers tribes! and consanguinity in libya… and number of libyan tribes… and all tribes, all the time! and libya update and “tribes mean trouble” and inexplicable rifts in libyan rebel forces

(note: comments do not require an email. libyan tribal map.)

in “Family Structure, Institutions, and Growth: The Origins and Implications of Western Corporations,” stanford economist avner greif wrote [pgs. 308-09]:

“There is a vast amount of literature that considers the importance of the family as an institution. Little attention, however, has been given to the impact of the family structure and its dynamics on institutions. This limits our ability to understand distinct institutional developments — and hence growth — in the past and present. This paper supports this argument by highlighting the importance of the European family structure in one of the most fundamental institutional changes in history and reflects on its growth-related implications.

“What constituted this change was the emergence of the economic and political corporations in late medieval Europe. Corporations are defined as consistent with their historical meaning: intentionally created, voluntary, interest-based, and self-governed permanent associations. Guilds, fraternities, universities, communes, and city-states are some of the corporations that have historically dominated Europe; businesses and professional associations, business corporations, universities, consumer groups, counties, republics, and democracies are examples of corporations in modern societies….

“In tracing the origins of the European corporations, we focus on their complementarity with the nuclear family. We present the reasons for the decline of kinship groups in medieval Europe and why the resulting nuclear family structure, along with other factors, led to corporations. European economic growth in the late medieval period was based on an unprecedented institutional complex of corporations and nuclear families, which, interestingly, still characterizes the West. More generally, European history suggests that this complex was conducive to long-term growth, although we know little about why this was the case or why it is difficult to transplant this complex to other societies….

“The conquest of the Western Roman Empire by Germanic tribes during the medieval period probably strengthened the importance of kinship groups in Europe. Yet the actions of the church caused the nuclear family — consisting of a husband and wife, children, and sometimes a handful of close relatives — to dominate Europe by the late medieval period.

The medieval church instituted marriage laws and practices that undermined kinship groups…. The church … restricted marriages among individuals of the same blood (consanguineous marriages), which had historically provided one means of creating and maintaining kinship groups….

“European family structures did not evolve monotonically toward the nuclear family, nor was their evolution geographically or socially uniform (Greif, 2006, chap. 8).** By the late medieval period, however, the nuclear family was dominant. Even among the Germanic tribes, by the eighth century the term ‘family’ denoted one’s immediate family and, shortly afterwards, tribes were no longer institutionally relevant. Thirteenth-century English court rolls reflect that even cousins were as likely to be in the presence of nonkin as with each other. The practices the church advocated (e.g., monogamy) are still the norm in Europe. Consanguineous marriages in contemporary Europe account for less than 1 percent of the total number of marriages, in contrast to Muslim and Middle Eastern countries where such marriages account for between 20 and 50 percent per country (Alan H. Bittles, 1994). Among the anthropologically defined 356 contemporary societies of Euro-Asia and Africa, there is a large and significant negative correlation between the spread of Christianity (for at least 500 years) and the absence of clans and lineages; the level of commercialization, class stratification, and state formation are insignificantly correlated (Andrey V. Korotayev, 2003).”
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the presence (or absence) of clans in societies is somehow connected to the mating patterns of societies. in fact, it seems to be that a whole range of kinship-based societal types is somehow connected to a whole range of mating patterns: the “closer” the mating patterns in a society, the more “clannish” it tends to be — the more distant the mating patterns, the less “clannish.”

so we see a spectrum of “clannish” societies ranging from the very individualistic western societies characterized by nuclear families and, crucially, very little inbreeding (cousin marriage, for instance) to very tribal arab or bedouin societies characterized by nested networks of extended families and clans and large tribal organizations and having very high levels of inbreeding (specifically a form of very close cousin marriage which increases the degree of inbreeding). falling somewhere in between these two extremes are groups like the chinese whose society is built mostly around the extended familiy but in some regions of china also clans — or the medieval scots (especially the highland scots) whose society for centuries was built around the clan (h*ck, they even coined the term!). these “in-betweener” groups are, or were, characterized by mid-levels of inbreeding (typically avoiding the very close cousin marriage form of the arabs).

furthermore, not only do the degrees of extended family-ness/clannish-ness/tribal-ness in societies seem to be connected to the degrees of inbreeding in those societies, the degrees of “clannism” also seem to be connected to the degree of inbreeding — the more inbreeding, the less civicness, the less democracy, the more corruption, and so on.

it’s not clear what exactly the mechanism(s) behind this inbreeding-leads-to-clannishness pattern is, but since mating patterns are involved, and mating is a very biological process, it seems likely (to me anyway) that the explanation is something biological — i.e. some sort or sorts of evolutionary process/es — like natural selection — resulting in different/different degrees of behavioral traits related to “clannism” in different populations with inbreeding acting as a sort of accelerant for those processes.

clans and clannism, then, are not things that peoples “fall back on” in the absence of a state as mark weiner suggests in The Rule of the Clan [kindle locations 106-108]:

“[I]n the absence of the state, or when states are weak, the individual becomes engulfed within the collective groups on which people must rely to advance their goals and vindicate their interests. Without the authority of the state, a host of discrete communal associations rush to fill the vacuum of power. And for most of human history, the primary such group has been the extended family, the clan.”

rather, people’s attachments to their extended families/clans/tribes — and, more importantly, their tendencies towards clannish behaviors — are likely innate behaviors. and those behaviors likely vary, on average, between populations since (long-term) mating patterns have varied — and, indeed, still vary — between populations.

such innate behaviors cannot be changed overnight — certainly not within a generation or even two (evolution does take some amount of time — but not, necessarily, extremely long amounts of time either) — and definitely not by simply changing a few laws here and there in the hopes of encouraging individualism. as avner greif grasped, although probably not fully because he’s likely missed the underlying biology of what he’s noticed, family structures need to be altered in order to effect changes to larger societal structures (again, all via tweaks to innate behavioral tendencies). and, again, that can’t be done overnight — as greif pointed out, the process in europe began in the early medieval period (with the church’s bans on cousin marriages) and didn’t really start to take hold until the late medieval period — i.e. a 500 year (or, conservatively, a ca. 25 generation) timeline.
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see also: Cousin Marriage Conundrum by steve sailer and Why Europe? by michael mitterauer (in particular chapter 3) and Institutions and the Path to the Modern Economy: Lessons from Medieval Trade by avner greif.

**see “mating patterns in europe series” in left-hand column below ↓ for further details.

(note: comments do not require an email. busy clan members.)

clans and tribes are reportedly making a comeback in syria — what a surprise! (did they ever really go away?)

here are some excerpts from two articles that appeared recently in al monitor.

the first article is a translation of an article that originally appeared in the lebanese paper, as-safir. the original title of the article was (translated to english): “Tribal ‘Solidarity’ and the Role That the Clans Play in the Syrian Crisis.” when the author refers to tribes, i believe that he is referring to groups such as the bedouin tribes in (iirc) northeastern/eastern syria as well as other arab tribes which have tribal connections in other countries (like iraq). he suggests that 1) tribalism is more prevalent in northern syria than in the south, and 2) the power of tribes is weaker in urban areas than in rural. ok, here we go (links added by me)…

“Tribalism and the Syrian Crisis”
“January 18 2013

“Prominent tribal figures have become omnipresent in Syrian opposition meetings, at a time when the regime is also hosting meeting after meeting for these same leaders. All of this is transpiring amid fears that societal unity will once again become fragmented, opening the door to tribal clashes in the worst possible scenario that could face Syria.

Tribal influence has returned to the forefront of the country’s political scene. Although their presence on the ground fluctuates between weak in some areas to effective in others, the impression is that Syrian society still longs for the old days of tribal friction and polarization, despite the fact that cohesion between some of them has played a positive role in avoiding disputes. As a result, there is a new drive to monitor the country’s tribal communities, their influence and relationship with the regime, be they for or against the current government.

“Syrian tribes

“The Syrian tribes are spread throughout all the regions of the country, from the extreme northeast in the plains of al-Jazira and the Euphrates river valley, all the way to the Badiya desert, Homs, Hama and the Damascus countryside, as well as the southern regions of Hauran and Jabal al-Druze. All these tribes are interconnected and have relationships with neighboring countries, especially Iraq and Jordan, with some tribes even claiming ties in Saudi Arabia. Furthermore, many inhabitants of Mount Lebanon still retain a strong connection to their places of origin in southern Syria and maintain good relations with their relatives there, while others have Turkish ancestry, such as the Abazaid clan in Daraa….

“On another note, researchers and activists in Hauran see that southern culture is based more on family relations than on tribal allegiance, because tribes are composed of large numbers of people, whereas there are many families in the plains region that have tribal connections which cross borders but whose presence remains concentrated in areas specific to each one of them. This is accentuated by the region’s agrarian character, which greatly diminishes nomadic tendencies and expands the influence of the family’s elders, who solve internal problems, reconcile disputes between people or give aid to any distressed member of the expanded Haurani family….

“Tribalism, on the other hand, leads to destructive armed conflicts and never-ending feuds. The concept of tribal solidarity might be the only one that southern families took with them to the city, a concept that Hauran‘s inhabitants point to when describing the uprising in the whole region against the regime. Everyone took to the streets without hesitation, before the Syrian crisis even erupted, to demonstrate and demand the release of some detained children. This solidarity also succeeded in thwarting any attempts to incite strife between them and their neighbors in the Jabal al-Druze, who reciprocated and snuffed out the flames of any possible conflict between themselves and the Hauranis….”

so, the tribe/clan leaders of the south pressured their members not to enter into conflict with their usual rivals? so clannishness can sometimes be a power for cooperation. hmmmm….

The region’s [i.e. the north - h.chick] inhabitants might be more prone to tribal fanaticism than their counterparts in the south. Tribal customs still prevail, especially in the countryside, which has begun to urbanize, but which still abides by many tribal concepts. This is mainly due to wide-ranging marginalization seen throughout the area, while cities seem to be in a much better state. The influence of tribal leaders there [i.e. in the cities - h.chick] waned until is became nearly nonexistent, due to two main factors: first, the large number of different tribes, and second, the urbanization of younger generations….

“The regime or the opposition: Who will win the clans?

“It wasn’t until the crisis was in its fourth month that anyone in the regime or the opposition considered playing on tribal sensitivities to mobilize clans in their favor. This occurred after organizers held demonstrations on what came to be known as the ‘Friday of the clans’….”

جمعة العشائر << "friday of the clans" — that, apparently, was a protest against the assad regime in june 2011 organized by opposition forces via facebook. a bunch of people were killed, of course.

“…As a result, a concerted large-scale campaign was initiated to win over the clans and provoke them into bearing arms against the regime, which, in turn, strove to reinvigorate tribalism and set about organizing meetings with tribal elders, mobilizing them through the media in an attempt to portray the clans as pro regime. In parallel, a tribal presence was now mandatory at all opposition meetings….

The foremost danger lies in the formation of armed militias by clans to fight against other clans based on their support for or opposition to the regime, which would surely lead the country into civil war….

“An activist in Hasakah, viewed as the perfect example of a tribal society, replied that the regime had intentionally let tribal elders rule those areas since the 1970s in return for absolute allegiance. Some of those elders even became members of the People’s Council representing their districts as a reward for that allegiance….

“But this model seemed to lose its effectiveness this time around in most areas. For despite the presence of many clans completely loyal to the regime, especially in rural Aleppo, Riqa and Hasakah, their influence remains limited when compared to the larger clans whose elders have completely lost any authority over the young clansmen. They have also lost their influence over the clans that have abandoned tribalism in favor of agrarianism, therefore succeeding in sparing themselves from any tribal conflict. The end result is a society that seems bent on trying to avoid any disintegration of its cohesiveness, regardless of political, tribal or sectarian considerations. As such, it is a true rarity in the midst of this conflict, and represents the only common goal over which both supporters and opponents of the regime agree: preventing the revival of tribalism.”

well, good luck with that. =/
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and the second article:

“Hezbollah Defends Shiite Villages In Syria War”
“February 20, 2013

“Several days ago, Hezbollah fighters guarding Shiite Lebanese citizens living in and around 14 Lebanese villages located in Syrian territory clashed with armed opposition groups affiliated with radical Sunni Islamist factions. The incident, the first of its kind, portends a possible transition of Syria’s sectarian strife to Lebanon….

“Since the start of the turmoil in Syria — which was accompanied by sectarian categorization between the Sunni Muslims, most of them against the Syrian regime, and the Alawite and Shiite Muslims who support it — the Sykes-Picot Agreement has had negative effects on the demographic balance in that region. Security incidents have taken place more than once during recent months among these Shiite villages, which are located in the middle of the smuggling line in the countryside between the Lebanese town of Arsal, Al-Qa’, Lake Homs, Al-Qusayr and Talkalakh.

Shia citizens from the adjacent Lebanese region of Hermel quickly became involved in these tensions. They belong to large clans, which have a social system that values ​the ‘support of relatives.’ In the current situation, they are Lebanese Shiite villagers living on Syrian territory, who complain that they are being subjected to attempts of forceful displacement by their Sunni Syrian neighbors.

“Last summer, military skirmishes took place between the Sunni town of Al-Qusayr, which is located behind the Syrian border and considered a stronghold of the armed opposition in its countryside, which is also the northern part of the countryside of the city of Homs — and between Lebanese residents in the Hermel region.

“Private sources have revealed to Al-Monitor that during one of these skirmishes, Jabhat al-Nusra militants attacked a Hezbollah training camp in the Hermel region from the Al-Qusayr countryside, killing and wounding 10 Hezbollah members. This was followed by a retaliatory operation by Hezbollah, which resulted in the killing of many members of the Syrian opposition.

“In general, Hezbollah is cautious about stepping into the sectarian strife raging in Syria. However, the issue of providing protection for the 14 Shiite villages located inside Syrian territory within the Al-Qusayr countryside arose as a challenge for the party before its social base in the Hermel region. It seems that the party has made the decision to protect these villages and prevent the people’s displacement based on the following considerations:

First, there are familial links between the residents of the Hermel region and those of the 14 Lebanese Shiite villages located inside Syrian territory. It should be noted that Hermel, in Lebanon’s Bekaa region, is considered as a popular reservoir for Hezbollah and its resistance apparatus. Accordingly, the party cannot turn its back to their appeal for help to save their relatives inside Syria from killing and displacement. Moreover, the Hamadah clan, one of the major clans in Hermel, owns vast areas of Lebanese territories that were cut off in the Sykes-Picot Agreement in the interest of Syria, and they still have the documents proving their ownership of these lands….”

yeah, i bet they do. old (clannish) grudges die hard.

it’s really irritating (if i bother to think about it, which i mostly don’t anymore) that the msm fails to mention ANYthing about clans/tribes in the middle east. EVER. or almost never anyway. rarely. instead it’s all just “arab springs” and “freedom fighters” in syria or bahrain or wherever. what a bunch of nonsense! i wonder if they (teh msm journalists) are really that clueless, or what?

previously: clans in the news: aleppo and clans in the news: the lebanon and syria and syrian tribes and more on syrian marriage and family types

(note: comments do not require an email. cool syrian music.)

i knew if i looked long and hard enough, i’d find some tribes in syria.

actually, i didn’t look at all, but instead stumbled across this yesterday in Foreign Affairs:

“Despite popular notions of a rich, privileged Alawite class dominating Syria, the country’s current regime provides little tangible benefit to most Alawite citizens. Rural Alawites have struggled as a result of cuts in fuel subsidies and new laws restricting the sale of tobacco — their primary crop for centuries. Indeed, since the provision of basic services by the first Assad in the 1970s and 1980s, most Alawite villages — with the exception of Qardaha, the home of Assad’s tribe, the Kalbiyya — have developed little. Donkeys remain a common form of transport for many, and motor vehicles are scarce, with dilapidated minibuses offering the only way to commute to the cities for work.”

ah ha! now we’re getting somewhere. assad comes from a particular alawite tribe — the kalbiyya — and — surprise, surprise! — out of all the alawites, they have benefitted the most from the assad regime(s). i’ll betcha that they have benefitted the most out of everybody in syria, but we’ll have to wait and see on that one.

from the qardaha entry on wikipedia:

“During the reign of Hafez al-Assad 1970-2000 the government poured massive investments into Qardaha, Lattakia and the surrounding region. Today, this is evident already before entering Qardaha, as the broad Syrian coastal highway makes an inexplicable pass into the mountains just to reach Qardaha. Qardaha has a lot of luxurious villas…. People of the Qardaha are said to be descent of Banu Kalb tribe, them and all of the Alawite mountains are called by other Syrians ‘The Germans’ because of their looks.”

there are four alawi tribes or tribal confederations in syria: the kalbiyya, the khayatin, the haddadin, and the matawira.

here’s what happened when and after papa assad took power — from Minorities and the State in the Arab World [pgs. 135-37]:

“After Asad seized power in Syria and became the de factor leading figure in the ‘Alawi community, he turned his attention to strengthening his grip on this community. His first step was to bolster his position within his family and tribe. It is as a result of this effort that the core of Asad’s regime has been composed of members of the Kalbiyya tribe, headed by members of the Asad family: his brother Rif’at and Jamil (until the mid-1980s), his son Basil, and since his death, Bashshar and Mahir. Alongside them in the highest echelons of the regime are members of the Makhluf family, the largest and most prominent in the area of Asad’s birth. Asad is married to Anisa Makhluf, whose cousin, ‘Adnan Makhluf, was the commander for many years of the Republican Guard, the elite force responsible for the regime’s security.”

so bashar is both an asad AND a makhluf. that’s gotta be pretty good.

Asad’s [that's papa asad remember] second step in consolidating his hold on the ‘Alawi community was to arrange a system of alliances among its families, tribes, and clans by means of marriage and the appointment of family and tribal representatives to important posts in the regime. For instance, Asad appointed members of leading families from other tribes to key positions: ‘Ali Duba, whose family comes from the Matawira/Numilatiyya tribe, was appointed head of the Military Security Department; and ‘Ali Haydar, from the Haddadin tribe, was appointed commander of the Special Forces. There are also strategic marriages between the Asads and those prominent families of the ‘Alawi community whoe members command crucial posts in the army, including the match of Rif’at Asad’s daughter with the son of the then Third Division commander Shafiq Fayyad (now commander of the Third Corps), in an attempt to cool passions aroused in the 1983-84 struggle over government succession.

Once he secured the allegiance of the ‘Alawi community, or at least the recognition by most of its members of his leadership, Asad turned it into the main prop of the regime. The ‘Alawis gradually gained sway over the army and internal security forces. Today, they fill most of the commanding positions in the elite units of the Syrian Army and supervise most organs of state security….”

and they still do.

“With the ‘Alawi community firmly behind him and its members serving as the engine of his regime, Asad directed his efforts to building bridges between ‘Alawis and others. The ‘Alawis are cognizant of their weaknesses; therefore, ‘Alawi officers have always sought partners along their road to power and today endeavor to broaden the base of support for their policies and ideology as much a possible. Other minority groups, principally the Druzes and Isma’ilis, are longtime confederates….

that makes sense since the common enemy of all three groups would be the sunni majority.

“The ‘Alawis, however, did not require Druzes and Isma’ilis as ruling partners, but rather as supporters and assistants, and when the non-‘Alawi members of the Military Committee attempted to preserve and fortify their standing in the mid-1960s, a power struggle ensued in which the non-‘Alawis were toppled.

“No less important was the coalition between ‘Alawis and rural Sunnis. Their understanding was originally based on a common interest in extirpating the old regime, in effect the entire old order in Syria, and in implementing a just distribution of power and resources. Provincial Sunni officers and politicians proved to be convenient and loyal confederates, as they rallied around the regime without reservation in its most trying hours….

Since the early 1990s, a new pact has been in effect — this time between the ‘Alawi officers and the urbanized Sunni economic elite, prompted by the ‘economic openness’ policy recently adopted by the regime. This is a symbiotic covenant between Sunnis, whose priority is political stability as a means of achieving economic stability, and ‘Alawis, who deliver political stability in exchange for recognition of the regime’s political legitimacy from the erstwhile foes of Ba’th hegemony and ‘Alawi power.”

this must explain why it seems to be rural and “backward” areas, like homs (hey, damascus it ain’t!), that are being beaten up today. urban sunni families (tribes — i’m sure they’re there!) are backing bashar and the alawis against the (somewhat unrelated to them) rural sunni families. this has GOT to be an awfully shaky alliance, though [pg. 138]:

“[T]he Sunni majority still regards the ‘Alawis as socially inferior. While recognizing the ‘Alawis’ political and military puissance and appreciating the economic strides they have made, the average Sunni still harbors feelings of condescension and contempt toward them. There is much evidence of an abiding Sunni unwillingness to accept ‘Alawi integration into Syrian society. Intermarriage between the two communities, for example, is rare.”

the feelings are probably mutual.

how long will any sunnis back the alawis? there’s got to be a limit … maybe it’s already been met and urban sunnis are abandoning the alawis. i don’t really know. i don’t follow the goings on in syria closely enough to know.
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steve sailer was recently annoyed at the msm for failing to explain the racial differences between the players in the mali unrest. i found myself raising my voice to a cnn anchor over easter during a report from turkey in which they were telling all us viewers about the streams of “syrian” refugees fleeing from syria to turkey. i was figuring to myself that these were probably syrian turks — makes sense to flee to turkey if you’re a syrian turk i thought — and i was wondering if bashar’s regime was beating up on the syrian turks (and why). as the cnn cameraman panned around the refugee camp, i could see that the women there were dressed head-to-toe in niqabs, so then i figured they must be syrian bedouins — which made me wonder if bashar’s regime was beating up on the syrian bedouins (and why).

which all made me very annoyed at cnn/the msm for being SOOOO uninformative! how can anybody getting their info from the msm expect to know what the h*ll is going on out there?! and most people don’t know what the h*ll’s going on out there. (and prolly most people don’t care to.)
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p.s. – this looks like all you’d ever want to know about the bashar regime. here’s a nifty graphic from that report [pg. 356]:

previously: syria

(note: comments do not require an email. the assads.)

“National survey reveals Libyans would prefer one-man-rule over democracy”

“The first ever National Survey of Libya suggests that the population would still prefer one-man-rule over alternatives like democracy. The publication of the survey of over 2,000 Libyan people coincides with the anniversary of the first protests triggered by rebel forces against Gaddafi, which ended after months of fighting when he was killed in October 2011. Despite the widespread hatred of the Gaddafi regime, this survey of public opinion reveals that in five years’ time 35 percent would still like a strong leader or leaders for the country. Only 29 percent of those surveyed said they would prefer to live in a democracy….”

oxford research international

previously: democracy-in-libya schedule

(note: comments do not require an email. not.)

you could write a book about it! you really could.

first of all, there are endogamous mating practices in all directions in pakistan: people marrying within their ethnic group (sindhi, balochi, punjabi); people marrying within their religion (muslim, sikh, christian); people marrying within their religious sect (sunni, shia); people marrying within their clan/tribe and/or caste (biradaris or zats or quoms) — like i could keep track of this all. *facepalm*

and then, of course, pakistanis are also endogamous within their extended families (or clans) and regularly marry cousins, fbd marriage being the preferred form (you’re not surprised, are you?).

i posted yesterday that one researcher found that pakistanis in britain had an endogamous marriages rate (that included marriages ranging from first-cousins to simply within the same biradari or patrilineage) of 87%. the numbers are not all that different for pakistanis back in pakistan: one researcher (see below) found in 2004-05 that 90% of marriages in punjab and sindh were between blood relatives or members of the same biradari. that’s a LOT of endogamy.

there’s a lot of data out there on consanguineous marriages in pakistan. below are some snippets from just five different articles, including one on sikhs who appear to have a much lower cousin-marriage rate than pakistani muslims (we’ve seen this before). and, interestingly, the sikhs in the particular study cited below did not have any fbd marriage.

christians also have lower cousin-marriages rates than muslims; and hindus have very low rates as well. also, it appears that the number of consanguineous marriages has increased over the past generation or two. (same pattern for pakistanis in the u.k.) seems things are going from bad to worse.

this is really just the tip of the ice-berg, but here we go:

“Bleeding disorders in the tribe: result of consanguineous in breeding”

- study of one extended family, up to seven generations, in badin district, sindh, pub. 2010:

The recent ‘Pakistan Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) has shown that two-thirds of marriages in Pakistan are consanguineous…. The studies by Hussain R et al on consanguineous marriages in Pakistan have show frequency of 58.7% in the Karachi survey and 62.7% in the DHS. 83.6% of consanguineous marriages in the Karachi survey and 80.4% in the DHS were between first cousins.”
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“Watta Satta: Exchange Marriage and Women’s Welfare in Rural Pakistan”

- 3,100 married women age 15-40 in households randomly sampled from 171 villages in punjab and sindh, 2004-05 (watta-satta is when two families exchange brides):

married same/neighboring village = 62%
married outside the tehsil (sub-district) = 20%

married blood relative = 77% (mostly paternal first-cousins)
married unrelated but within the same caste/patrilineage (zaat/biradari) = 13%

exogamous marriages = 10%

watta satta marriages = 43% [no wonder there are so many double-first-cousin marriages in pakistan.]
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“How frequent are consanguineous marriages?”

- interviews of families of all patients admitted to a pediatric department in a hospital in karachi, jan-dec 2001:

1C & 2C marriages = 72.7%
87% of the cousin marriages were between 1C.
85.7% had double consanguinity

consanguinity amongst maternal grandparents = 64.15%
1C = 77%; 2C = 22%

consanguinity amongst paternal grandparents = 60.3%
1C = 83%; 2C = 16.8%

sindhi = 42%
balochi = 33%
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“Community perceptions of reasons for preference for consanguineous marriages in Pakistan (1999)”

- four squatter settlements in karachi, 1995:

non-consanguineous = 43.2% – 47.4%
– muslims = 25.9% – 57.5%
– christians = 34.6% – 59.3%
– hindus = 7.9% – 14.8%

1C = 51.4% – 52.6%
– muslims = 63.4% – 81.4%
– christians = 16.8% – 28.3%
– hindus = 1.8% – 8.3%
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“Consanguineous Marriages in the Sikh Community of Swat, NWFP, Pakistan”

- sikhs in the northwest frontier province (nwfp), 1996:

consanguineous marriages (2C or closer) = 21%
marriages with more distant relatives = 29.4%

mzd, mbd and fzd marriages. no fbd marriage.

mzd = 7.7%
fzd = 6.3%
mbd = 6.3%
2C = 0.7%

“[H]usbands with higher education contract marriages with cousins more frequently than those males with lower education…. Cousin marriages have shown an increasing trend over the years.”

pukhtun (pashtun) vs. sikh marriages from swat:

1C = 25% vs. 20%
non-consanguineous = 75% vs. 80%
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see also: genealogical terminology

previously: anarchy in the u.k.

(note: comments do not require an email. sikh soldier.)

a little bit more from robin fox (links added by moi) [pg. 325-26]:

“What is closed in the Closed Society [as opposed to popper's open society] is the future, because it is thought either to eternally repeat the present, or to recycle fixed ages, or to change in completely known and fixed ways. The Closed Society seeks to ignore, deny, and arrest, or to predict and hence totally control, social change. The Open Society accepts the unpredictable reality of change and deals with it. (The roots of this idea were there in Henri Bergson’s philosophy, and his ‘open morality’ and ‘closed moratlity’ — but that is another essay: see The Search for Society.)

“This contrast was present from the start in the great conflict between democratic Athens (potentially Open but with a heavy burden of Closed features) and tribal Sparta (completely and utterly Closed): the subject of Popper’s first volume (The Spell of Plato). Athens had passed consciously from a tribal society to a democratic city-state, which in turn morphed into a maritime empire. (Curiously, Popper, while making much of Solon and Pericles, does not mention the reforms of Cleisthenes, which were critical to the change. [yes, they were. - hbd chick] Athens struggled to maintain its democratic system, both against outside opponents and against inside forces. By becoming an empire it threatened its own democracy. [hmmmm - sounds familiar.]

The old order of tribal families, which Cleisthenes had tried to break down, hated democracy and conspired with Sparta, the archtypal closed tribal society, which just as consciously arrested change as Athens had embraced it. Many of the Athenian intellectuals took the pro-Spartan side. Plato, Popper’s nemesis, led the intellectural justification for a Spartan-style society in The Republic and The Laws. Plato’s relatives were active in the council of the Thirty Tyrants, who conspired with Sparta and led a reign of terror in Athens.

didn’t know that about plato.

previously: demokratia (in case you missed that link in the text. (~_^) )

(note: comments do not require an email. reinstate plato pluto!)

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