Arab Tribalism Leaves No Room For Democracy

 

 

syria

syria (Photo credit: ewixx)

 

My first experiences with Arab tribalism derived from my time in Syria. My maternal grandmother’s family inhabited a small village near the city of Jisr al-Shughour (Idlib Governate) called “Halooz”. Halooz was a gorgeous, but relatively unknown village; that’s what I loved about it. I was surrounded by family, as most of the inhabitants inherited lands from their relatives. Unbeknownst to me at the time, I fell for the feudalistic pestilence that has plagued Arabs for centuries.

I felt entitled to that land and why shouldn’t I? “This is the land of my ancestors!” See, there was my first problem; the land does not belong to me. The land does not belong to my ancestors. The land does not belong to anyone. I am Syrian because I come from Syria – Syria does not come from me. This tribal tendency to feel some sense of elitism or self-entitlement is a cancer. How can democracy work in a society that is still stuck in medieval age thinking?

Prior to the Ba’ath Party rule in Syria, the country was politically pluralistic. However, coup after coup, politicians didn’t care about who was in power, they would just usurp their opponents if they were elected. In fact, Syria was just a country of tribes and warlords prior to the Ba’ath Party’s emergence to power. The Syrian Army was not even the strongest army in the country; the Druze possessed the strongest fighting force inside Syria. The first 10 years after Syria’s independence were volatile – there was no sense of patriotism or loyalty. Tribes in Homs and Aleppo were fighting each other over parcels of land that they claimed belonged to their families. How are we supposed to have equality when each group deems themselves superior to the others?

Fast-forward to 2011, the people of Der’ah and Homs are protesting the Syrian government. We are all under the illusion that they are protesting over the economic climate; that was not the case. Take a look at the areas that first immersed themselves in violence; it might shock you to learn that they all share similar characteristics. The FSA derived from military defectors from Al-Rastan, Bab ‘Amr, Bab Hood, and Tableesa in Homs. Still confused? These are tribal and sectarian areas. The people of Bab ‘Amr have carried a strong antipathy for their neighbors in the Al-Zahra neighborhood. Homs and Der’ah are not the only ones: Idlib, Aleppo, Latakia, Tartous, Deir ez-Zor, Al-Hasakah, Damascus, Al-Quneitra, Sweida, and Ar-Raqqa all have tribes. Yes, that is every Syrian province. It is not only Syria; it is Jordan, Palestine, and Lebanon too. You cannot construct an equitable society for your citizens when your citizens possess a sense of entitlement.

-Leith

 

 


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on
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on
I’m British, but Syrian decent. I am from Homs, Greek orthodox. It is true what you say, the islamists are destroying Syria, people should not try to carve out a place for themselves, they should share as the land is syrian , owned by god and no one else. Maybe one day Greater Syria will rise again, absorbing Lebanon Jordan Palestine and Iraq, then the world will see Greater Syria restored to love between Muslims, Christians etc. We will never want the land from gulf countries like Saudi Arabia, as they are worse than the zionista. My grandfather once said,… Read more »
Rafeh
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Rafeh

SSNP will bring another dictatorship to Syria and the region. The problem is totalitarian parties and regime from the Baath to Islamic Brotherhood to SSNP.

R
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R

Well said Leith.

For those who originally “defected” hopefully they realize now they were/are small fish.When the Western
big fish saw a chance to envelop them and taking all of the country at the same time………….

Now pro and cons aside what Syrian now would even consider a vote against the President warts and all?

The west and its minions had the perfect divide and conquer situation in front of them.

There was a slight obstacle– the SAA (and Russia)- Who was given free reign …………………The world -down the line-should be grateful.

dudleydoright911
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Fascinating post. So on one extreme we have virulent radical fake islam and it’s lack of respect for any nationalism at all, then on the other we have the generational tribal entitlement / warlord type mentality ( neither of which as discussed foster democracy, or nationalism ) with lucid humanity somewhere in between, On one hand they fight for the whole world, and on the other they fight for land measures in square miles. This analysis would be outside the realm of the knowledge base of virtually everyone in the west so bravo. I don’t know enough about them to… Read more »
ameer
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ameer
I do not know what happened to your compass, but if it’s not pointing at Damascus then you have fallen for the feudalistic pestilence that has plagued Arabs for decades. Now, while it makes sense from the first instance – what you have written is like the ‘Liars Paradox’, the sentence “This sentence is False” is the classic example it cannot be true (for then, as it asserts, it is false), nor can it be false (for then, it is true). Godel’s theorm explains the problem with your analysis of a Syrian person is – especially when it comes to… Read more »
CHEVI789
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Level 7 - Tribunus Angusticlavius

Love your post and agree 100%, we are Syrians regardless of colour, sect, etc..there is no better way to live in harmony with another good human being, unlike some greedy scheming people who want it all, why? when we can all be better of and make our lives happy, i make donations to the poor as per our teachings, think about your fellow human who is worse off, just because they are far away doesn’t mean they should be forgotten. You never know, you might be in a worse position one day and would need help yourself.

richard sanchez
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richard sanchez
Hello Mrs. Fadel, Good to see the family is thoughtfully engaged in analyzing developments. Good point, history does repeat itself as in the case of Arab landowners bickering for, traditionally genes and culture will produce children that want more as well. Unfortunately, I thought the rest of your argument has “Baathist” tunnel vision. “Entitlement” is a human trait not a medieval one. Throughout history and etched in the stones of developing humans many millenniums ago, shows humans have always felt entitled to things, not just Arab landowners. English rebels (Americans) felt entitled to justice, a degree of liberty and Democracy… Read more »
M
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Level 4 - Scholae Palatinae

You get that from “How to be US government approved arrogant troll” handbook?

richard sanchez
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richard sanchez

Hilarious, M. I’m just searching for truth and telling it how it is, open minded. Just so you know the only 1 like you have on your comment was me. 🙂

dudleydoright911
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I took from the article not that arabs are not entitled to the land they are born on, but that the idea that one tribe or family is generationally entitiled to a postage stamp sized piece of land to covet at the expense of national brotherhood is a cancer. He explains that the birth of this foreign insurrection was in some part fomented by people or in a areas where you have rabid tribal areas where to use an americanism “the hatfields and the mccoys” attitude persists. This in itself shows, in my view, that the “weak link” to a… Read more »
Anon Sings
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Anon Sings

This half-Mexican sure is really interested in Syria.

richard sanchez
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richard sanchez
This is a pivotal moment in time. What takes place in Syria today will affect your children on the other side of the planet tomorrow. The Syrian conflict will change the Middle East and the future of the entire world, in fact it already is. Russia and China are speeding up alignment. USA is now planning to be EU’s natural gas provider, due to the convergence of a oil boom(fracking) and the Syrian conflict (alienating Russia from West) as the catalyst that got controversial, ecological damaging, shipping ports approved overnight. Also, Russia is test firing nuclear capable missiles as the… Read more »
Fadi
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Newbie

Keep your racist shit away from here please..

R
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R
Fadi -i’m on your side and understand your point.However,In the Half Mexican’s post he has summarized what is (the result) happening thru out the world,a lot of which is because of the halting of the outsiders failing in their quest to topple Syria. He is off your topic but it is a very accurate and intelligent post and well thought out. Fadi the tribal aspect is/was prevalent thru out the world.Even in Dudleys country. When the Europeans settled America they found a country where there were Native tribes all having their piece of land.It was slowly wrested from them,by hook… Read more »
Anon Sings
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Anon Sings

I did not mean to be racist. I noticed trolling behaviour from richard sanchez in the past.

It is my mistake that I did not read his post carefully this time around and hurled my weapon prematurely.

His post was not trollish this time and I apologize. The “half-mexican” thing originally came from his own description of himself and I used it in a similar way.

My bad.

Ra'ad
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Ra'ad

RATS ,, DEIR AL ZOR..

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=033_1401119966 ….COYOTE .

Fadi
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Newbie

Richard Black Senator of Virginia writes to Assad and thanks the SAA 4 its ”heroic rescue of Christians in Qalamoun”

https://upload.facebook.com/SyrianPerspective2/photos/a.547771291935207.1073741828.546954078683595/694502240595444/?type=1

Anonymous
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Anonymous
@CHEVI789 quote says: May 26th, 2014 at 9:11 PM And now for some more news, it seems the west (mainly Christian) don’t mind if their kind are killed nor desecrated, a little article about how the SAA found and put together an ancient statue of Mary. – — – – – – – – – – – Hello Chevi.. I think your confused about the West and Christianity.. IF we talk about the US elite ,they are Atheist.. and probably practice Satanism for Curiosity. but believe in nothing. The Christians are against Wars and promote Unity between people. And where… Read more »
CHEVI789
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Level 7 - Tribunus Angusticlavius

Hi Anon, i am very well aware of what Christians do because although i am muslim i am married to a Catholic, sorry but i did not mean to generalise, i did mean the so called Christians like obomber, Hollande, etc. whom are all fakes.
BTW, 90% of my friends are Christian.

gbcd
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gbcd

I am against the terrorists but I do not agree with your political philosophy. Land is everything. The state must protect the people and their land.Otherwise what is happening is what the international bankers aim for.

CHEVI789
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Level 7 - Tribunus Angusticlavius
Hi Leith, nice article but i must also point out that after many coups that Hafez was elected as head of the party if i remember correctly, and he always said (if i remember correctly) religion is for the person, politics is for the people. Now many do not know who the Ba’ath party is, they simply point to the Alawii and say it is them, but the fact is that it is made up of most if not all the religions in Syria, hence why it is rude to ask a person of what religion they are, can we… Read more »
Anonymous
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Anonymous

Found this video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WGPThp_G4zU

The ground looks like the SAF flatted the ground after they got the checkpoint, also there are no videos with intact spoils, only groupshots on totally damaged tanks. Seems that the SAf learned and bomb the places after every rat-sucess.
Or what woukld you say? To mee the craters look like an airstrike (the snackbarians entered after two carbombs and one Tankbomb infront of the checkpoint, but i think the craters inside look more like a massive airstrike)

Jovi
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Jovi
Canthama
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Canthama

Food for thoughts indeed. I do have the feeling this conflict will get the Syrians together after rats are eliminated.

cataro
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cataro

Trying to rescue the positive of the brutal attack on Syrian certainly is like a second independence, in which every patriotic Syrians involved in the common cause of defending a bigger interest: Syrian, one common cause that honorable manages to motivate who embrace optimism, brotherhood, patriotism and a lot of motivation. Maybe this is what was missing to erase the divisions that still had on religious, regional, tribal and economic reasons. Now Syria is only one

M.O.B
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M.O.B

Libya’s Jamahiriya system worked well with tribalism, until its destruction by foreign powers.

dudleydoright911
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On some level I can’t disagree. However, Libya is now a failed state and Syria is still functioning so somewhere in the mix there is a reason for that be it political cohesiveness or the ability to foster strong foreign partners instead of falling for treachery ( Tony Blair for example ). RIght now as I understand the civil war rages in Libya and the tribes are trying to reassert themselves, but in their own open letter to the whore diplomat from the US, they themsevles say that there is no end in sight for the nihilism there.. Read it… Read more »
Anonymous
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Anonymous

Arab tribalism worked quite well with the Libyan Jamahiriya system.

on
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on

In Libya tribalism worked quite well when it was under the Jamahiriya.

Fadi
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Newbie

During his comments about a strong connection between Judaism and Christianity and tolerance towards Christians in Israel, Netanyahu told the Francis: “Jesus was here, in this land. He spoke Hebrew.”

“Aramaic,” the pontiff interjected.

“He spoke Aramaic, but he knew Hebrew,” Netanyahu shot back.

http://rt.com/news/161600-pope-netanyahu-jesus-language/

dudleydoright911
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I was raised catholic and have drifted more to a biblical christian perspective, and therefore have many questions about catholicism and the vatican but yeah that was a real knee slapper. Some secular supposed member of the tribe of levi who changed his name to sound more jewish aims to school the pontiff on a subject for which christianity exists? Recall Bibi is so non religious that he was barred from speaking in a synagogue at a funeral of a prominent rabbi, yet he feels he can authoritatively speak about someone his religion ( which he apparently doesn’t even believe… Read more »
Fadi
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Newbie

I don’t like the pope anymore than i like Israel. But this Zionist cracker is funny as hell . . Yes bitches.. I know more than the pope? LMAO!

freeman
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freeman

Peope who think the current ‘democracies’ are the best form of rule are dillusional, just take a look at ” democratic ” countries and their portfolio’s ( murder, rape and pillaging is what dominates their portfolio) The word democracy has been poluted and should change into Hypocrisy.

Sacramento
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Sacramento

http://postedeveille.typepad.com/.a/6a01156fb0b420970c015432a05c15970c-pi

this is one of the main cause of the backwardness you allude to. In fact, you can’t have tribes without a high degree of inbreeding. This is a way to keep wealth (most often, land) within the clan. In many other regions, tribes have disappeared sometimes centuries ago.

Consanguinity has well-known effects pertaining to genetic disabilities (sometimes lethal), but one notable effect is a sharp lowering of cognitive ability.

Even leaving these medical effects aside, such practices are evidently germane to the narrow-mindedness and parochialism you recount in the article.

dudleydoright911
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Level 6 - Praefectus

not for nothing, but I owe you a night out drinking for using the word consanguinity.

Indeed inbreeding is not deadly but increases the chance of virulent recessive genes pairing up and manifesting themselves.

Take Charles Darwin for example. He was a rabid racist and eugenecist and his inbred children were a cadre of retards.

R
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R
THANK YOU DUDLEY for the blog!!!! Only Green Libya is Free libya –Hafter is a scumbag. Just imagine what Syria would look like today if the evil ones would have pushed thru the no-fly zone? I don’t care for Obama but i have to thank him (for whatever his or his handlers reasons) for backing down.This leads to a few questions.#1 did he realise he was fed bad info? #2 did he realise the event would get out of hand and perhaps www3.? Now the biggie Did he get sick and tired of Northern European types(being nice here) attacking and… Read more »
dudleydoright911
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No issues my dear friend. I followed that blog closely as I watch NATO destroy Libya and there isn’t a day that goes by that I’m not happy that the same fate won’t befall syria.

Obama I don’t think has the personal latitude to stop things like this but I agree I Would like to be a fly on the wall and have access to the back room shouting matches.

richard sanchez
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richard sanchez

It was clear as the bright sunlight at high noon why Obama didn’t bomb Syria and why the American public rejected it. As much as the USA public hates Assad’s perceived dictatorship, it was obvious only terrorists would have benefited from it.

Rafeh
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Level 1 - Novice
Rafeh

They revolted against Bashar. It must be then tribalism and sectarianism.

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