April 19, 2013

Chechen asabiya and the Borat Brothers

In the comments, FredR writes:
In [Tolstoy's] Hadji Murad, Chechens come across as border people with a hell of a lot of asabiya.

"Asabiya" is medieval Muslim sociologist Ibn Khaldun's Arabic term for tribal solidarity. You don't want enemies with a lot of asabiya in your country. They go down fighting like these two Chechen terrorists in Boston.

From Wikipedia:
In the August 1996 Battle of Grozny (also known as "Operation Jihad") Chechen rebels regained and then kept control of Chechnya's capital Grozny in a surprise raid.[2] The Russian Federation had conquered the city during the Battle of Grozny (1994–1995) and posted there a large garrison of federal and republican Ministry of the Interior (MVD) troops, but a much smaller rebel force managed to infiltrate Grozny and then either rout or split the MVD forces there into dozens of small pockets of resistance, and over the next five days to beat back and decimate several Russian Ground Forces units that were sent to eject them from the city,[3] resulting in the final ceasefire of the First Chechen War and effectively ending the 1994-1996 conflict.

Okay, the Russian Army usually wins in the end. But, even beating the Russian Army once is impressive.


Anononymous said...

"beating the Russian Army once is impressive"

Everyone and their mother beats the Russian Army (and Navy). Surviving through the winter would be impressive.

FWG said...

Yes, beating the Russians just once is impressive - see my beloved Finns!

Anonymous said...

David Sirota and Tim Wise also have plenty of asabiya.

Emmanuel Cellar had tons of asabiya. That is why America is dead.

Anonymous said...

Chechens are not White.

Anononymous said...

"You don't want enemies with a lot of asabiya in your country."

Statement can be broadened to:

"You don't want enemies in your country."

Anonymous said...

Americans have a bit of that too, even though we are a larger population. Remember that after 9/11 Walmart sold out of USA flags [1], showing unity of tribal spirit, and that approximately 1 in 10 Americans can claim descent from the Pilgrims [2], showing a tribal relatedness.

[1] http://www.reddit.com/r/todayilearned/comments/18g0yk/til_that_in_the_days_after_911_walmart_purchased/?limit=500
[2] http://www.yankeemagazine.com/article/features/pilgrims-3

Dr Van Nostrand said...

To my mind, they are far more impressive than the overhyped Afghans.
However unlike the Afghans there were no one to help the Chechnyans especially after they sought (and recieved) Wahhabi support,weapons and cash.Thus enabling Putin to crush them
Even Israel(Russian Jews were in the past historically supportive of Chechnyan autonomy) who was heavily involved in proxy wars against Russia(Georgia for instance) stayed out of it

fnn said...

Ex-LaRouchie and bond trader Dave Goldman says America is still the great hope of the world:

That’s why the United States of America is here: we receive the refugees from people who want to live and therefore abandon dying cultures.

anony-mouse said...

I don't get how 'tribal loyalty' would cause people to blow up the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

I'm guessing that few Russians were in that Marathon.

Anyways its nice to see people on the right focus so much on root causes.

Anonymous said...

You forget it was the Russian army with that useless tosser Boris Yeltsin running it.

Simon in London said...

"Okay, the Russian Army usually wins in the end. But, even beating the Russian Army once is impressive."

They seem to be highly effective against US police forces, too. They seem to be scarily good fighters. I'm glad most of our British jihadis are incompetent Pakistanis*, not Chechens.

*OK the Pashtun are fierce, but most of our jihadis are not Pashtun either. AFAICT they are mostly Punjabi.

drawbacks said...

Chechen perpetrators seem to offer something for everyone: they're Caucasian; they're Muslim; they're a very small minority in the west - that and the nature of their homeland means we and it are likely mostly safe from stupid policies and military actions against them (though Putin may see opportunity here).
By the way, Mark Russinovich's thriller Zero Day features a Chechen child refugee who's grown up into a suave English gentleman, except that he's also a ruthless assassin for a jihadist cause.
On asabiya, Arnold Kling had a quite interesting post up on clannish opponents, before the suspects were identified.

Anthony said...

Solzhenitsyn notices plenty of asabiya among the Chechens in the Gulag.

Anonymous said...

The Chechens did a good job of militarily embarrassing the Russians in the First Chechen war (1994-1996). A good bit of their effectiveness was tactical. Operating in small flexible units. Operating anti-tank weapons from the top of large buildings, firing downward on tanks and armoured vehicles (which aren't armoured so heavily on top).

When the Russians came back in the Second Chechen war (1999-2000), they used a lot more of the old ZSU-23 anti-aircraft vehicles, using them as anti-infantry and building-clearing weapons. The ZSU has 4 23-mm autocannons that each can fire maybe 1000 rounds/minute. Being an AA system, it can slew and track targets very fast and has no problem hitting the tops of tall buildings.

Syria's Assad got caught unprepared for a major rebellion, few counter-insurgency aircraft for example, but he had some 400 ZSU-23s at the start of the Syrian war, one reason that might explain his staying power.

ATBOTL said...

"Remember that after 9/11 Walmart sold out of USA flags [1], showing unity of tribal spirit..."

If you think Amuricuns waving Chinese made flags from Wallmart is a sign of tribal solidarity, you don't understand the concept.