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20 August 2011


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The 'Free Men' are a resilient people, that have endured for thousands of years. While causing Daffy extreme angst, they also gave the flying fickle finger of fate award to the Romans, much to the Roman's disdain.

One would think that Daffy who came from a tribe of arabized Free Men a.k.a. Berbers, would know better. Alas, he has to learn the hard lessons of history the hard way.

Babak Makkinejad


"Unlike the other revolutions of the Arab Spring, the rebels will be left with a clean slate."

You are dreaming and talking like an intellectual itching to re-write human nature.

The psot-Qaddafi Libya will not be clean slate; it will be political anarchy based on tribes, cities, and militia.

God helps the people of Libya.

James ben Goy

'Heroic band of brothers?' Malarkey, says I. Oh, they'll win this war but it's obvious the 'rebels' are getting their direction lately from outside military professionals - they were floundering until very recently. Having NATO airpower has been the deciding factor because the regime is completely defenseless against it. Nothing like complete aerial domination of the battle zone to improve your performance! If & when the mad colonel is compelled to leave or fights to his death - I'm betting the latter - following will be the usual tribal blood bath, which the extremists will dominate. Save your kudos for them.


It seems TTG was commenting, first and foremost, on the operational competence of the (significantly Berber) rebel forces; I fail to see that the outrage directed against him is warranted. As for the second-order question of war aims, jus ad bello, etc., my question for Mr. Makkinejad and Mr. ben Goy, is under what conditions has a political revolution ever _not_ produced anarchy, regional divergence, and the other baleful effects you predict? Are you suggesting that revolutionary wars are, necessarily and as a matter of course, unwise and unjust?

William R. Cumming

TTG and others! I agree with TTG and he is not dreaming. The Berbers are an interesting and complex people and not surprised they are the guts of the rebellion. Whether the result is any kind of revolution remains to be seen. Warfare in the desert is not for the faint of heart.
Very odd that few in USA military could now fight a jungle war so guess they are counting on Global Warming to deserify more land area. And now we know that Arctic warfare may be summer on the beach in the centuries following this one. Oh well the POLAR BEARS will only be in an occasional zoo.
My guess is when all settles down we could well see Libya split into two nations sometime this century.
And MQ may well fight to the death since lowering ones standard of living not truth, justice and the American way seems to be what motivates most of the world to contest any change downward in status. Problematic for the rest of the world as the USA downgrades drastically its standard of living but foreshadowed perhaps by its downgrading of its political class competence post DDE! Could it be TV that killed our Democracy and prevented smoke filled rooms?

Don Quijote

After the Rebels have taken over, watch all the Oil Contracts get rewritten and the Libyan people get screwed out of their Oil.

R Whitman

Don Quijote:

The Libyans are known as one of the toughest oil contract negotiators in the world. Going back to the Arab oil embargo of 1973, they were singlehandedly responsible for the "posted price" rise of light crude from $3.00US to $12.00US



Why what a thought, that wars are instigated and fought over the garnering of resources (by hook or crook), who would have thought of such a concept? Well let's see, the ancient Romans, Egyptians, Carthaginians, Numidians, Hebrews, Sodomites, Gommoradites, Macedonians, Greeks, Persians, Vikings, etc. etc.. Surely not today would such an ancient concept be at the forefront if not in the lead wing of today's wars? Who wudda thought.


"The leaders of a future Libya must remember that whatever they create must be worthy of the great sacrifices of a heroic band of brothers that won this opportunity at a great cost."

TTG, well said. I hope their leaders are wiser than ours.

The Twisted Genius


The clean slate I'm referring to is the government, not the several millenniums of history and culture of the the Libyan peoples. Once Qathafi and his sons are gone, I'm pretty sure his entire regime will vanish into the wind. Although not a student of this region, I am well aware of the tribal, cultural and political diversity that could lead to anarchy. The many Libyans who still are fervent supporters of Qathafi are another major wild card in this mix. And yes, I am a dreamer. I dream of a better future for the Libyans and I pray that God helps the people of Libya.


Al Jazeera live blog comment from NATO seems to indicate that the rebels are now engaged in street fighting in Tripoli, block by block.


Babak Makkinejad

The Twisted Genius

Thank you for your comments.

Mr. Qaddafi's political arrangements in Libya - some sort of Neo-Triabalism - could certainly vanish.

But creating an institutional form of government where none had existed before will take decades. [I am not speaking of representative government and rule of law here - just basic governance structures].

I also think that there really is nothing that is several thousand years old in the culture of Libyan people except the tribal Arab culture.


Berbers - the guts of the rebellion - will not be able to put in place anything better than what Mr. Qaddafi has had. Yes, they are interesting people but does not equate to the ability to govern.

I am reminded in all of this of Mr. Kanaan Makkiya's cheerleading for the inavasion of Iraq and his insistence that the democratic and stable Iraq was just waiting to be bron.

The Twisted Genius

Babak, you are quite right. There is no stable democracy waiting to bloom as soon as the shooting stops. Whatever institutions eventually are created, good or bad, will be the Libyans if they can keep the world's carpet baggers at bay.

As an anthropologist I do consider tribes and nomadic pastoralists as legitimate cultures. Maybe the city folk from the coast can learn something from them... or at least not try to change them. There I go dreaming again.

Babak Makkinejad

The Twisted Genius:

I am familiar with the research doctrines of ethnography.

What I have found wanting in the ethnographic literature is the discussion of the physical and non-physical violence that is practiced and exercised to maintain group cohesion.

Tribes are legitimate as any other historical empirical phenomena are, but a state cannot be built on tribes for any duration of time beyond the thrid generation.

William R. Cumming

So BABAK how do you see the ability to govern these days?

Is governance inversely proportional to the size of a nation-states military? IMO yes!

Babak Makkinejad


It depends on the nature of the state and the polity.

Before 1914, Autria-Hungarian Empire had very few bureaucrats but could govern a set of disparate people effectively.

Nothing better has emerged since 1914 for the former constituents of that Empire.


The Libyans may not have such a hard time forming a government once they settle on the formula for the citzens petroluem royalty payments. Just allow only Libyans in the tent.

A lot of pessimism towards our fellow man. Some can adapt, some can't and others won't, so we will see.

Chalk me up for The Twisted Genius' Dream Brigade.

William R. Cumming

Babak! Too bad the Archduke just had to spend some time in the Balkans! Just think of what we might have missed.

Sidney O. Smith III

TTG, the anthropologist.

Came across a fascinating book I want to check out titled “Weaponizing Anthropology”.


Obviously your approach is vastly different from the inferences of the book title, as your comments verify.

Haven’t read the book yet but it does seem to suggest what can happen when anthropology is harnessed for those in the State apparatus who are promoting special interests. This includes those in the USM who don’t see their profession as a vocation but, instead, are workin’ for the corporation.

In my opinion, if a military person is listening to the likes of Kagan, then odds increase such a person is “working for the corporation.”

The approach of ODA in Libya makes for an worthwhile juxtaposition to the approach by the disciples of shock and awe and the “re-education””centers so highly touted these days as a success. The differences in the two approaches could not be starker, imo. But the American people are so weary of our US foreign policy, they probably will fail to see the distinctions. Besides, they are too busy trying to make ends meet.

Babak Makkinejad

William R. Cumming:

In the world of before 1914, the so-called "White Man" reigned supreme. A European or a North American could travel the world over without passport. In Europe, one could conduct business or own business in any number of countries without any issue - EU is a pale imitation of Europe before 1914.

In French Africa, in places that they showed movies - Europeans seated on chairs, natives on the ground; you could look at any African - man or woman - and he or she would follow you to your hotel for sexual pleasure.

WWI also destroyed those young Europeans who could, in principle and had they lived, solved some basic problems of an economic life organized around commonwealth - a.k.a. socialism.

The Guns Of August heralded - in retrospect – also the Liberation of the non-Europeans from the European Rule; no doubt.

Babak Makkinejad

Sidney O. Smith III:

This is not new.

Check-out The Chrysanthemum and the Sword: Patterns of Japanese Culture by Ruth Benedict written at the invitation of the U.S. Office of War Information.

William R. Cumming

BABAK! Personally I believe it was technology not "race" that ruled supreme pre-1919. Then the western powers learned you could not kill enough people to deter the spread of Wilsonian self-determination. That legacy still alive. If the Turks, Iranians, and Iraqis thought they could kill all the KURDS without people noticing that perhaps might well happen. An argument could be made that genocide stopped when the INTERNET reached some maturity but only time will tell and others will have to research that theorem.


2min 16 sec ago - Libya

Al Jazeera has learnt that Gaddafi's eldest son Mohammed has surrendered.

Sidney O. Smith III


I am contrasting the approach suggested by TTG in this post to the spectacle of Shock and Awe. The differences, at least from my vantage point, cannot be greater, and, by looking at the differences, I am bringing up the possibility of the role of academic apparatchiks embedded within the military.

Operation Iraqi Freedom began with Shock and Awe -- an American show of force from the beginning and one marketed by the msm like a garish halftime show during a super bowl.

Iraqi museums were destroyed. The USM generals occupied and lived in Saddam’s palaces. And then the “Re-education””centers. And the cost? A trillion dollars here and a trillion there.

Operation Mermaid looks much more organic. From the people up. It is ending with a shock and awe, not beginning with one. And if you’ll note, TTG was touting the culture of the Berbers, not that of the ODA’s.

This last point really tells you all you need to know. More is expressed by what TTG did not say. He is not touting American exceptionalism. Contrast that to COIN Iraq and COIN Afghanistan.

But who knows…maybe TTG would have been all for blowing up Iraqi museums, living in palaces, and playing Born in the USA while living it up in the Green Zone as if he were leading the good life in a subdivision of Pacific Palisades. Don't see TTG doing so myself.

A trillion dollars here and a trillion there…

Patrick Lang


Encouragingly, the latest number of "The Drop," the SF Associations quarterly has an article on the re-birth of UW. pl

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