Soob

Politics, Foreign Policy, Current Events and Occasional Outbursts Lacking Couth

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Going Tribal

Robert Kaplan's latest:

It's the Tribes, Stupid!

Quelling anarchy in Iraq, Pakistan, and elsewhere, will require building on tribal loyalties—not imposing democracy from the top down.

Adrian's gone tribal as well:

How to Attack a National Identity:

From AQI's point of view, it is preferable that the population fall back on sectarian militias. Tribes provide an alternative political organization to the Caliphate, and also cut across sectarian identities, with many tribes incorporating both Sunni and Shia branches.


The below image, courtesy of global security.org, illustrates the complexity (way beyond that of sectarian divisions) of Iraqs tribal system.

Click to zoom

6 comments:

Adrian said...

Thanks for the link!

I don't know that I see tribal loyalties as being as strong as Kaplan does - in Iraq the entire society is not tribal as the 'tribal' areas of Pakistan supposedly are (I know nothing about Pakistan). In some areas of Iraq, tribal power was totally destroyed by Saddam.

Ymarsakar said...

Saddam's power only extended to his own tribe in the Tikrit triangle. The mafia system he set up didn't need tribal power to be destroyed, so much as subordinated , integrated, and intimidated into not resisting. Even still, many resisted in the north and south. Given the nature of tribes, the resistance was not very good in the south.

Cannoneer No. 4 said...

Pressfield's was better.

"I against my brother, my brother and I against our cousin, the three of us against the world." Pashtun motto

subadei said...

Rugged folk the Pashtun. Thanks for the link.

Anonymous said...

THe military themselves are the closest to the tribal system. Warriors understand other warriors intuitively, where diplomats require experience and wisdom to understand alien cultures.

Also reading all those ancient and military science fiction portrayed many ancient and primitive societies. The only real surprise is that there are still people on Earth that act the exact same way.

subadei said...

Anon,
well said. Somewhere in the pages of R. Kaplan's Imperial Grunts is a Marine officer (I think) who, to be brief, embraces the tribal ideology tactically. His essence was that it was paramount that his element present themselves not only in a tribal fashion but that of the baddest sort in their operational sphere. I think both Kaplan and more poignantly, Adrian are sitting dead red on the Iraqi solution. Political cohesion may come about someday but the immediate success lies with tribal rather than sectarian or political consideration.