Magazine Politica

“Tribalism in the Arabian Peninsula: It’s A Family Affair”, un articolo di Sultan Al Qassemi

Creato il 12 febbraio 2012 da Wally26

“Tribalism in the Arabian Peninsula: It’s A Family Affair”, un articolo di Sultan Al QassemiChi e’ Sultan Al Qassemi (foto)?

Ce lo dice il The Guardian

Diverse volte ho affrontato il tema del  tribalismo nelle societa’ arabe, un aspetto cruciale per comprendere le dinamiche sociali e politiche che agitano queste realta’ e una chiave di lettura per capire i possibili sviluppi delle “rivolte arabe“. Giorni fa ho letto un articolo scritto da Sultan Al Qassemi per Alarabiya che vale la pena proporvi anche perche’ analizza le motivazioni che spingono le societa’ arabe a non integrare i citizens of mixed background considerati irregular” individuals. Questo per farvi intendere anche che il tema dell’integrazione e della discriminazione razziale e’ un argomento caldo persino nei paesi arabi, dove nello specifico si lega appunto all’appartenza tribale.

Ecco alcuni stralci tratti dall’articolo:

“…Tribalism in modern day Arabia is alive and well. In this article, I highlight recent developments to illustrate how those in power in the Gulf and the Arabian Peninsula use tribalism, and how, sometimes, it is used against them.

Come i network televisivi arabi esaltano le appartenenze tribali

The centuries-old phenomenon of tribal diplomacy continues to manifest itself in the modern Arab world of satellite televisions as well as in defining politics amongst neighboring Gulf States… Today, the ruling dynasties of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Kuwait all belong to the ‘Anazas of central Arabia. The ‘Anaza tribe is amongst the largest and most ancient Arabian tribes. Its members can be traced back to Prophet Mohammed’s companions and its descendants can be found across the Arabian Peninsula, as well as in non-Arab Iran and Turkey…. The vast reach of the ‘Anaza tribe across the Arab world cannot be overestimated. Toward the end of 2010, former Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi claimed at an Arab summit that he also belonged to the ‘Anaza tribebut that his ancestors had left Arabia because of a dispute. If true, it would mean that he was a distant relative of several ruling Gulf families…

Come i matrimoni misti fra tribu’ rafforzano i legami economici e politici e tengono lontani dalla politica giovani preparati di moderne vedute

Recent incidents illustrate the delicate manner with which tribal relations need to be handled, swiftly and with care… In an uncharacteristically public manner, an open letter signed by thirty-six representatives of the main Bedouin tribes accused Queen Rania of corruption, prompting a strong denial by the monarchy.

In addition to strengthening bonds, tribal marriages often go hand in hand with financial developments. It is common to find Gulf ruling family members marrying into wealthy merchant families in a marriage that preserves both the peace and the wealth. These marriages also extend beyond national borders, as the above cases in Bahrain illustrate.

Familial ties and economic collaboration are deeply intertwined: one is often prompted by the other. Today in the Gulf, the marriage phenomenon between inter-state ruling families continues with the younger generation, bringing with it economic security as well as strengthening political ties between the families.

The UAE is an ecosystem of tribal networks and alliances all its own. In the continuous absence of credible federal institutions, this inter-marriage network has been overlooked as an element that has no doubt contributed to the survival of the UAE as a federation over the past four decades… UAE tribalism was evident in recent managed parliamentary elections that were so skewed in favor of familial ties that it was not uncommon to read of voters who proudly pronounced that they only voted for family members and no one else. 

This phenomenon ensures that candidates who do not come from a tribal affiliation, no matter how qualified or competent, do not stand a fair chance in running for elected office.

L’arresto dell’attivista per i diritti umani Ahmed Mansoor in seguito al rifiuto della sua apparteneza tribale, percepito come un insulto al suo capo tribu’ e al sultano degli Emirati Arabi (UAE), attira la rabbia del suo clan

“As the UAE was trying five reform activists for insulting the country’s leaders, thousands of citizens packed tents traditionally set up for weddings or funerals to listen to their tribal leaders pledge allegiance to the UAE president…the Dubai-based Gulf News reported that members of various tribes, including the Al Shuhooh—to which the most prominent of the arrested activists, Ahmed Mansoor, belonged—gathered to “show solidarity and support to the government.” Gulf News also relayed that “most of the tribes in the emirate of Abu Dhabi” had agreed to file a lawsuit against the activists. I asked Mansoor, who was denounced by leaders of his own tribe, about the reason he never uses his tribal affiliation. He informed me that he “doesn’t like fostering tribalism” and that as a human rights activist he “would like people to deal with each other in a more abstract way” since a tribal name “orients people here.”

Tribu’ contro Religione: la storia dei legami fra Kuwait, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Egitto, Oman, Iraq etc.

“It is very simplistic of political observers to declare that the six Gulf Arab governments are bound to each other merely due to the Sunni nature of the regimes. In reality, the bonds highlighted above illustrate that tribalism plays no small part in these relations. Historically, in fact, Arabian Peninsula ruling families supported each other regardless of religious sect… In Yemen, on the other side of the Arabian Peninsula, a war broke out in the 1960s between the royalists—backed by Saudi Arabia and Jordan—and the Egyptian-backed republicans. Tribalism trumped religion in this proxy war as well, when Saudi Arabia supported Imam Mohammed al-Badr of the Mutawakkilite Kingdom of Yemen, who followed a Shia sect known as Zaidiyyah, over its coreligionist, the Sunni Jamal Abdul Nasser of Egypt… Furthermore, the ruling family of the Sultanate of Oman, which was promised ten billion dollars by the Gulf Arab States in March 2011 following civil unrest, adheres to the Ibadi sect of Islam, which is neither Sunni nor Shia, while in Iraq, tribes such as the Jiburi and the Shammar have both Sunni and Shia members.”

Il pragmatismo tribale del passato: un lontano ricordo

The tribes of central Arabia also displayed a degree of pragmatism that has gone missing in recent years, a phenomenon which may be an overreaction to the perceived threat of globalization Amidst the male chauvinistic world of tribal Arabia, a woman was nominated by tribal elders to keep the peace between two of the Peninsula’s largest and most powerful tribes: Al Rashid and the Shammar. Following the death of her tribal chief husband, Fatima Al Zamil ruled the province of Ha’il from 1911 to 1914 as an administrator of her minor grandson’s estate as a trustee of both tribes.

Alcuni effetti indesiderati del tribalismo: discriminazione sul lavoro e nepotismo

Tribal affiliation, however, can also be a reason for discrimination with regard to jobs and opportunities in the region, as well as a tool of collective punishment.

In 2005, prior to a Saudi-Qatari rapprochement, the latter expelled thousands of members of the Al Ghafran clan of the Al Murrah tribe to Saudi Arabia after stripping them of their citizenship, forcing them to seek refuge in the eastern al-Ahsa region of the Kingdom.*

*Traduzione: “Dopo aver revocato loro la cittadinanza il Qatar espulse migliaia di membri appartenenti al clan Al Ghafran della tribu’ saudita Al Murrah costringendoli a rifugiarsi nella regione orientale del regno detta al-Ahsa. Cio’ avvene prima della riconciliazione del 2005″.

Tribal governance in the Arabian Peninsula today entails allocating certain government posts known as “sovereign portfolios” to family members. These portfolios include defense, foreign affairs, security, intelligence, the interior ministry, and the premiership. This system all but ensures complete allegiance and loyalty to the tribal leader, takes precedence over competence, and undermines meritocracy*. Even within the ruling families, seldom do members whose mothers are of a non-tribal or foreign affiliation rise to prominence, although there are exceptions. I personally encountered much criticism online and in person following the publication of an article on the contributions of prominent UAE citizens of mixed background, whom I was told were not “regular citizens.”

*Diciamo pure che questo e’ un malcostune che accomuna la penisola araba con l’Italia!

Gause (Gregory Gause, professor of Political Science at the University of Vermont) attributes the relative stability of Saudi Arabia during the Arab uprisings to the security forces that “are recruited disproportionately (though not exclusively) from tribes and areas the regime sees as particularly loyal.” Tribal loyalty continues to be employed even within state borders as a tool of managing populations when the criteria for citizenship in a modern state should be measured in different metrics altogether.

Additionally, Saudi political scientist Khalid Al Dakhil told Reuters that tribalism would take several decades to disappear and that the state “uses tribal mechanisms for political ends”.

Le affiliazioni tribali ieri e oggi: lo scopo

Tribal connections in the region once formed a powerful force of resistance to colonial powers and contributed to a collective Arab peninsular identity. Historically, this network formed through tribal affiliations assured a layer of trust among its members that was vital for survival. Today, however, tribalism is perhaps second only to religion as the greatest obstacle standing in the way of a civil and democratic state in the Arabian Peninsula.Tribalism effectively sidelines non-tribal and naturalized citizens in these countries. Such “irregular” individuals can never truly become integrated in tribal societies, even after decades of intermarriage. Unlike, say, a political party or social movement that a citizen can join, a tribal network is exclusive toward those not carrying a specific last name.

Il peso del tribalismo sui futuri sviluppi democratici

Tribalism also undermines alternative social and political affiliations, such as secularism, liberalism, socialism, and even Islamism, which already exist in the region in one form or another. Going forward, tribalism is likely to pose a challenge to the Peninsula States in their quest to advance from being “developing nations.” Loyalty to leaders of states that are mere decades old can come into question, either by the governments or rivals, when Arab tribes have for centuries transcended artificial borders imposed by imperial powers. Perhaps its biggest disadvantage is that tribalism is a sort of elite club that outsiders can never truly belong to. While it is not possible to negate, nor should it be, it is advisable for the countries of the Arabian Peninsula not to stoke the flames of tribalism, either through the media, favoritism, or collective punishments, if they truly intend to build a modern civil state.

L’articolo completo e’ disponibile qui

Filed under: Integrazione, Islam, Rivolte in Maghreb, Societa'

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