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What is happening in Libya

Posted: 2011-03-09
From: Mathaba
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An analysis of the powerful and problematic issue of tribalism in Libya and attempts by Gaddafi to deal with it


We apologize for the poor translation from Russian to English but this contains some valuable analysis on the failure of direct democracy in Libya.

There is one fundamental difference between Libya and other Arab countries. A very tragic end to the ancient history of Libya led to the Libyans that the bulk of these in the Middle Ages had not experienced feudalism. Their social structure is the period of Islamic conquest, that is the 8th century, as a result of Christian wars and, above all, rising circumstances  returned to the pre-class tribal system. They have not experienced any slavery or feudal dependence, with all their advantages and disadvantages.

Of course, in Troegrade (Tripoli) slavery existed, but Tripoli was a pirate town, not focused on internal Libya and the Mediterranean and the caravan routes in black Africa through the desert.

Such an experience of social regression, as a country of Leptis Magna, I do not know. In fact, the Italians won no feudal country, and country of tribal democracy.

The Italians did not want and could not change the social structure of the country. They needed a place to colonize, to ensure that landless Italian colonists parcel. They focused exclusively on the coast. As a market for Fiat and other Italian capital, Libya was a minor. As a result, the independence of Libya has met the tribal country where the power of the king was nominal and did not extend beyond Tripoli, Benghazi and Sirte. Centralized structure had an army, which took power from the hands of a weak-willed king. But on the head of Gaddafi fell a gift from heaven: oil.

By the way, not everyone knows that the Cyrenaica in Arabic from the beginning was called Barca (generic name of Hannibal and his father, a famous general Hamilcar Barca was also, and another relative - the unfortunate commander Hasdrubal Barca), the Libyan dialect - Brega. The State Oil Company of Libya, is also called the Brega.

The historical experience of decolonization of the twentieth century suggests that to overcome the tribal stage of democracy, to enter the country is not that the stage of industrial or post-industrial, and even feudal society - virtually impossible without a lot of blood. Colonel Gaddafi to do this through peaceful means failed, but succeeded to his king, Mussolini before him, before him, Victor Emmanuel ...

The military, headed by Gadhafi were doomed to fight the tribal elite. The leaders, which complement senussite feasts, was a social power, but it was not economic and political power. Since there was no feudalism, that Gaddafi could not go on the road and Ghana, where the leaders of the Ashanti provided an opportunity to fleece the ordinary Asante and Fulani. In fact, the leaders felt a paradoxical situation where the social prestige could not transform either the power nor wealth.

Oil money is giving Gaddafi the opportunity buying off them for a long time, but the sheikh is always small. Such is human nature.

Any observant person in the Libyan hinterland (at least in Tripolitania) one more thing hits you  - in the Libyan province are very few people of average height. People are either very tall or short. And short people also strongly divided on the sturdy child and slim. There was not a mulatto (as in contemporary U.S., where many blacks and mulattos not unlike mulatskih, such as Cuba and Brazil), although there were people of Semitic type, and have been - the Negro.

The fact is that the Libyan tribes at different times post-Byzantine settled in Libya, virtually do not mix, maintaining the purity of blood. And the status of the tribes was different: there were tribes of hosts, and the tribes were clients. And every Libyan is in appearance could not understand their status in relation to other Libyans.  Tribal democracy, multiplied by the unequal status of tribes.

Gaddafi is very well aware of a threat of tribal separatism. He sought various ways to deal with it. One such method has been accelerated, forced prohibitively unsecured other than financial resources, the industrialization of the country. The goal was the proletarianization of society, the creation of the working class who, in Gaddafi's plan, was to be his support in the fight against the tribal leadership.

It took strange forms. For example, it is obvious that a country with a three-million people simply do not have to manufacture Kalashnikov rifles or ammunition. Firearms and ammunition is immeasurably cheaper to buy. Given the fact that all the components and raw materials needed to be flown in from abroad, the cartridge becomes gold, and the there were not prospects of lower production costs. Cartridges are made of bimetal, which is required for the production of advanced and sophisticated black and nonferrous metallurgy, chemical industry, general engineering, manufacture of gunpowder, lead, etc., etc., etc. For a country of three million, this is impossible and unnecessary.

However, the social project of industrialization has failed. A single working class is not formed. For the formation of class consciousness this is necessary because operation, and her rich Libya does not have ...  Besides the ban on trade unions, which in those conditions would inevitably have a tribal nature, also prevents the formation of the working class.

The next attempt to overcome tribalism by Gaddafi has been the introduction of direct democracy. But as it turned out, in a tribal democracy, direct democracy becomes a terrible instrument. The tribe, which has the numerical majority in a particular area, always voted in solidarity, depriving  the other tribes of any access to decision-making and places in government.

I once drove to see the great ruins of Leptis Magna and in the neighboring town Zlyten (30 thousand population), went into the shop to drink tea and to chat with the owner. Suddenly the street was a terrible commotion. The square shot in a large crowd armed with sticks and stones, and to meet it, another crowd. People began to thrash each other. The owner rushed to close the iron shutters, and I began to push deeper into the bench. "What's happening?" - I was surprised. "Elections" - meekly replied the landlord, snapping the lock. 15 minutes the police arrived and began to disperse the crowd. In the area of blood were left 20 people, no less ... How many of them were killed and how many injured, I do not know.

And particularly stringent conflicts arose when the tribe received a majority that took the low status. In fact, direct democracy means social revolution, with those tribes, who were nothing, really getting all ... But it has a downside. Those tribes who were all (and they have among other things, and religious authority, and traditional education, and the courts, and a means of resolving disputes) becomes nothing.

With that Gaddafi had fought quite a strange way, forbidding the mention of tribal affiliation. In relations with foreigners, tribe is a word almost never mentioned. Although in The Green Book itself Gaddafi devotes a chapter to the tribe and discusses it in detail.

In a serious sense (that is, not how to use political scientists, occupational requirement which is a complete inability to think independently - without the failure of political scientists are genetically derived from the ignorant and no matter what kind of teachers are not capable of historical materialism, do not take) Gaddafi Civil power is almost possessed.

His power can successfully compare with the regime Farther Makhno in the Walk-field in the best of his time. Yes, Gaddafi, in principle, could shoot any (although this right is not abused), but it does not have power. Yes, Qaddafi could give orders to the armed forces that they could try to do. But those who did not perform, not threatened, but an honorable resignation from the substantive benefits.

In the war with Chad, the Libyan armed forces failed, and the Chadians in the Toyota trucks (albeit with the support of the French Air Force) chronically beat Libyan armored divisions in the desert. Guerrilla warfare as it is ... Not only the Libyans, but Americans with all their equipment with such a war can not cope.

By the way, Qaddafi turned his actual military defeat to a brilliant success on the foreign policy front, having achieved virtually all the goals by peaceful means (here we must consider, however, that the economic reason for the war - uranium deposits - largely lost its relevance due to the sharp fall in prices for uranium).

But the real power - it's completely different. Power - it's impact on the budget that went to Libya with the European standards for a disproportionately high concentration on what we would call the municipal level.  To this end, the military was not a compliant device. To those who prepared the draft decisions of the People's Assembly, Qaddafi could not influence. Yes, he has remained a tool of monetary emission and monetary policy, but the military did not have the skills to adequately control the monetary officials ...

Qaddafi became angry and announced his resignation from all posts ... There was a paradoxical situation. The military were the opponents - the tribal elite, mostly from tribes with high status, but there were no supporters. Libyan projects could not unite. New social tools are not there. And use the old meant that happening. The pilots of the oppressed tribes bombed neighborhoods of prosperous tribes, and from wealthy tribes people migrated to Malta. Tribal warriors  smashed police stations, as they did in the 6th century, where former clients are going, they dismantle their weapons to repulse the enemies of old ...

The old system of tribal conflict resolution is destroyed, no new, since the very existence of tribes was denied, and the weapons are readily available, and the most modern weapons.

Truly, the social transformation of tribal democracy requires a very high blood ...

Of course, they can understand. Social progress is always unjust and cruel. Still, it is inevitable ... I think so.

Said Gafurov

Source Article in Russian.
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