how inexplicable!

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

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arab autumn

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…..”
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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.
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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!)

libyans on democracy: meh

“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

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democracy-in-libya schedule

a couple of political scientists writing in foreign affairs think that libya shouldn’t rush into democracy — that the nation might not be quite ready for it yet. i gotta say that i agree with them:

“For democracy to take hold, a country needs parties and civic organizations that bridge traditional divides.”

absolutely!

“[P]ost-electoral violence is significantly less likely when the country has had a chance to build up impartial, rule-based, and non-corrupt institutions, including courts, police, and other governmental bureaucracies. It is generally better to wait to hold elections until administrative institutions are strengthened, as measured by the bureaucracy’s level of expertise, its autonomy from political pressure, and the professionalization of recruitment and training methods.”

hear, hear!

but the u.n. has crazy other plans:

“An internal UN document, meanwhile, envisions a two-stage transition to democracy in Libya. The first would be a loosely specified period of time during which ‘political preconditions’ for elections — establishing public security, building public trust in the impartiality of police, and electing a Provisional National Council within six to nine months to write a constitution — would be satisfied. That would be followed by a six-month period during which the NTC would set up Libya’s new electoral machinery, with help from the United Nations.”

well, unless that “loosely specified period of time” is about … oh, say … 1000 years — AND involves libyans not inbreeding anymore, then yeah — i’d say the u.n. plan is a winner!

maybe — maybe — the libyans would be ready for some local elections (town councils, pta representatives) in about 500 years, but for national elections, i’d guesstimate 1000. Forty generations of outbreeding? sounds about right.

previously: “hard won democracy” and libya – land o’ tribes

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democracy in libya…

…allahu akbar!

previously: libya – land o’ tribes and “hard-won democracy”

(note: comments do not require an email. boobies! no, really — boobies!)

number of libyan tribes…

…is rising exponentially, apparently.

last time i heard, there were around “140 different tribes and clans in Libya.” now i read that the tribal leaders from 851 tribes and tribal factions just got together for a little pep-rally! and these are just the ones (supposedly) supporting gaddafi:

Libyan Tribes Call for End to Armed Uprising
06/05/2011

“Journalists were told that about 2,000 chiefs representing 851 tribes and tribal factions were in attendance, at the convention that was organised by the tribes, not the regime. However it seems that the convention drew only limited participation, with only tribal chiefs from three regions of western and central Libya were present….”

number of tribes in libya? a LOT. (guess it depends on how you slice it.)

previously: libya – land o’ tribes

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“tribes mean trouble”

yes. yes, they do.

Tribes Mean Trouble
March 13, 2011

“So far, the fight for Libya has been an armed showdown between Gaddafi and the rebels. This conflict is about to get much more complicated….

“The rebels, on the other hand, hope to win converts by showing they’ve got the momentum. In the east, that’s not much of a problem. Keeping them in line, however, seems more difficult.

“Last Monday tribal leaders gathered in an ornate conference hall with gold-colored chandeliers in Benghazi; some showed up in traditional robes and others in sleek business suits. Gen. Mohammed Massoud, a senior rebel military commander normally only seen in green fatigues, arrived wrapped in a white tribal blanket, sporting a red tarboosh. The group had gathered to express their support for the Interim Transitional National Council, the government-in-waiting in the east.

“But the gathering was hardly a show of tribal unity. At one point, a representative from the town of Bayda stepped up to praise his own tribesmen’s role in the uprising. A handful of angry attendees drowned him out with cries of ‘Libya! Libya!’ — a clear message that no tribe would be able to take credit above any other. The meeting descended into chaos. Many stormed out. A bewildered waitstaff was left behind, serving up dishes of lamb and rice to largely empty tables….”

so many rebel alliances just NEVER turn out like the one in star wars. wonder why?

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the nyt discovers tribes!

hallelujah! from thomas friedman, no less:

“David Kirkpatrick, the Cairo bureau chief for The Times, wrote an article from Libya on Monday that posed the key question, not only about Libya but about all the new revolutions brewing in the Arab world: ‘The question has hovered over the Libyan uprising from the moment the first tank commander defected to join his cousins protesting in the streets of Benghazi: Is the battle for Libya the clash of a brutal dictator against a democratic opposition, or is it fundamentally a tribal civil war?’

“This is the question because there are two kinds of states in the Middle East: ‘real countries’ with long histories in their territory and strong national identities (Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Iran); and those that might be called ‘tribes with flags,’ or more artificial states with boundaries drawn in sharp straight lines by pens of colonial powers that have trapped inside their borders myriad tribes and sects who not only never volunteered to live together but have never fully melded into a unified family of citizens. They are Libya, Iraq, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Bahrain, Yemen, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. The tribes and sects that make up these more artificial states have long been held together by the iron fist of colonial powers, kings or military dictators. They have no real ‘citizens’ in the modern sense. Democratic rotations in power are impossible because each tribe lives by the motto ‘rule or die’ — either my tribe or sect is in power or we’re dead.”

been there, said that.

here’s (some of) what kirkpatrick has to say about the tribal sitch in libya:

“The question has hovered over the Libyan uprising from the moment the first tank commander defected to join his cousins protesting in the streets of Benghazi: Is the battle for Libya the clash of a brutal dictator against a democratic opposition, or is it fundamentally a tribal civil war…?

“The behavior of the fledgling rebel government in Benghazi so far offers few clues to the rebels’ true nature. Their governing council is composed of secular-minded professionals — lawyers, academics, businesspeople — who talk about democracy, transparency, human rights and the rule of law. But their commitment to those principles is just now being tested as they confront the specter of potential Qaddafi spies in their midst, either with rough tribal justice or a more measured legal process.

“Like the Qaddafi government, the operation around the rebel council is rife with family ties. And like the chiefs of the Libyan state news media, the rebels feel no loyalty to the truth in shaping their propaganda, claiming nonexistent battlefield victories, asserting they were still fighting in a key city days after it fell to Qaddafi forces, and making vastly inflated claims of his barbaric behavior.”

well, after hearing that — that the “operation around the rebel council is rife with family ties” — i’m gonna call this a civil war in libya and NOT a democratic uprising. in fact, i’m not even sure civil war is the right term. to be a civil war there needs to be a civitas, right? i’m not so sure that a group of endogamous tribes that happen to live in an artifically created state constitutes a civitas. this is more like good, old-fashioned tribal warfare like you woulda found in pre-state days.

anyway, here’s where kirkpatrick gets it wrong:

“But the legacy of such tribal rivalries in Libya may in fact be fading, thanks in part to the enormous changes that Colonel Qaddafi — a modernizer, in his idiosyncratic way — helped bring about. Coming to power just before the oil boom, he tapped Libya’s new wealth to provide schools, hospitals and other benefits for Libya’s desperately poor, semi-nomadic population.

“Gradually, Libya became overwhelmingly urban, with about 85 percent of its populations clustered around its two main urban centers — Tripoli and Benghazi.

“Though many of the people who flocked to the growing cities continued to identify closely by tribe, they now live mixed together. Many from eastern tribes now live in western Tripoli, and tens of thousands of members of the predominantly western tribes, Warfalla and Tarhuna, which form the core of Colonel Qaddafi’s support, now live in Benghazi and last weekend staged a major public demonstration there calling on their western cousins to join the revolt.”

just ’cause people are shuffled around doesn’t mean that tribal ties will be broken — NOT if they’re still marrying their kin at a rate of 46.5% — a rate similar to that found in iraq, and look how well they all get along! the chinese tried to get rid of the hakka clans in southern china during the cultural revolution by moving them around and not letting the members of various clans live with one another like they traditionally did. didn’t work. (the clan members are now living with one another again.) prolly ’cause the hakka had remained endogamous.

nope. if u wanna get rid of tribes or clans or whatever, u have to understand where tribes and clans come from. they do not just miraculously appear out of nowhere. they are the products of mating patterns. so, to get rid of tribes, u need to use hbdchick’s draconian measures of banning inbreeding. or do something to stop the inbreeding. shuffling people around might help ’cause you might make it more awkward for people to marry their kin over long distances. but better techniques would be just to ban it outright or encourage outbreeding somehow. (note: this is not a recommendation from me. just sayin’ how it could be done if someone really wanted to get rid of tribes. people can inbreed all they want afaiac.)

friedman is really lost-in-space, though, in how he views egypt and iran and tunisia:

“It is no accident that the Mideast democracy rebellions began in three of the real countries — Iran, Egypt and Tunisia — where the populations are modern, with big homogenous majorities that put nation before sect or tribe and have enough mutual trust to come together like a family: ‘everyone against dad.'”

*facepalm*

he’s gotta be kidding! ok, so maybe egypt doesn’t have tribes the way saudi arabia and libya does, but they are extremely clannish! their consanguinity rate was 29.7% in 2008. that’s a lot better than libya, but nuthin’ like anything you see in the west. so, good luck with the democracy thing there!

and iran?! he’s gotta be kidding:

these pc correct people are never gonna understand what’s going on in the world until they learn some biology. you can’t mix-and-match different ideologies (like democracy) with different peoples ’cause different peoples is different. duh! and, most crucially when we’re talking about tribes, mating patterns matter.

previously: cousin marriage conundrum addendum and libya – land o’ tribes and all tribes, all the time! and aígyptos

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