Category Archives: East Africa

Repost: Man Gets Eaten By Lion in Africa

This is a great oldie that is getting posted around a lot again. Enjoy.

Many, many people insist that this video must be fake, and actually, it is.

The story is that this is a very famous video that was taken in the mid-1970’s in Africa on a safari. The tourist was apparently from London. It was entered as evidence in a court case. The insurance company used this tape evidence in court to deny the life insurance claim for the guy. They argued that the man engaged in “gross stupidity” and therefore they were not on the line for payout.

In truth, this video is fake. It is said to have occurred in Wallasee National Park in Angola in the mid-70’s. There is no such place in Angola or anywhere in Africa.

The “attack victim” is named Pit Dernitz, and he has his own IMDB entry for this video. He is a very famous lion trainer.

This clip was taken from an Italian Mondo film called Ultime Grida Dalla Savana, which contains many similar clips.

This film was never entered into any court case.

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Have Countries Improved by Moving Away from Social Democracy and Towards Neoliberalism?

HBD investor: Many countries floundered in various socialist schemes and their economies massively improved when they became less socialist.

None of this is true.

Many countries had problems with centrally planned economies with many or all state firms. This is called either state socialism or Communism and the record is not so wonderful. It isn’t so bad either. Been to Eastern Europe? See all that infrastructure? That was all built by the Communists. Go to Russia and see the same thing. Same in China. Communists built Russia and China up from nothing. They were nothing before, and Communism turned them into superpowers. They also had very high economic growth in industry and agriculture for decades. They massively expanded the nearly nonexistent education system. The Communists made monumental gains in housing in both countries. Health care improved to an incredible degree in both countries.

Now with Communism you can get great economic growth for a while, maybe a few decades, maybe more, but at some point it all starts bogging down in bureaucracy, lack of a pricing mechanism and a market, a lot of people just not working very hard and massive thievery of state property. In addition, the rate of economic growth slows. Although Communist countries usually wipe out poverty, in its place they only allow a relatively low standard of living. People probably want to live better than that. In addition, the collectivization of agriculture has been such a failure in Communist countries that I believe we should stop trying it. Production usually goes down by quite a bit and there are sometimes famines at the start if they try to do it too fast.

Yugoslavian Communism worked very well by the way, and they had a very good standard of living, the highest in Eastern Europe.

In addition, state socialist schemes with central planning had a lot of problems in Syria, India, Tanzania and other places. It just doesn’t work very well.

On the other hand, some form of social democracy is the norm all over the world. It’s not true that social democratic countries did a lot better as they shed most of their social democracy and adopted neoliberalism. The world has been doing that for a long time now and the record is in. It’s been a massive failure.

All of Europe except the UK is voting in Left parties, and at least the people want more social democracy and less neoliberalism. There’s no move towards neoliberalism and away from social democracy in Europe outside of Latvia and the UK.

There is no neoliberal free market capitalism in the Arab World. Arabs actually don’t believe in neoliberalism because Arabs and Muslims are sort of “naturally socialist” people. The Gulf states are huge social democracies. There is a lot of social spending and considerable state involvement in the economy in much of the Arab World.

Iran has been pretty much a socialist country ever since the Revolution. There is vast social spending, and the state is involved in the economy. Afghanistan is collapsed, but Communism was actually pretty popular there. Pakistan has been run by social democratic parties in recent years. India is officially a socialist country. It’s written right into the Constitution. An armed Maoist group is very powerful in India. Communist Parties have been running the states of West Bengal and Kerala for decades. Nepal is run by a coalition government consisting of a socialist party and a Communist party. The large opposition is made up of Maoists. I believe Sri Lanka is run by a social democratic party.

Myanmar’s been socialist forever. Vietnam and Laos are Communist. Cambodia has been run by Communists in recent years. The Philippines is a bad example, but they have free state health care for all, and education is free through the university level. Indonesia recently elected a socialist, a woman. The very popular newly elected president says he is a socialist. An armed Maoist group is very active in the country.

Australia and New Zealand are longstanding social democracies on the Canadian model.

Canada is a longstanding social democracy.

The largest party in Mexico is a member of the Socialist International, and the oil industry is state owned. Education is free through the university level, and health care is also free. El Salvador and Nicaragua are now run by former Marxist guerrillas, the FMLN and the Sandinistas. Costa Rica has been a social democracy since after World War 2. Honduras recently elected a leftwing president who was quickly overthrown in a state-sponsored coup. The military is still in power in Honduras, but everybody hates them.

A socialist party called Lavalas, the party of Jean Bertrande Aristide, continues to be the most popular party in Haiti, even though it has been declared illegal. To show you how popular Lavalas is, in the last election they ran in, they got 92% of the vote. During his short reign, Aristide built more schools than had been built in the entire 190 years before him.

A number of Caribbean island states are members of the Bolivarian economic bloc set up by Venezuela. Most Caribbean political parties are leftwing parties with the words socialist, revolutionary, workers, labor, or popular in them. Cuba is Communist and has a lower infant mortality rate than we do. A few years ago, they also had a longer life expectancy than we did.

Venezuela is still run by the Chavistas, a socialist party. Ecuador is run by a Leftist. Peru recently elected a leftwing Indian, although he has not been able to do much as his hands are tied. Brazil has been electing the socialist PT or Workers Party for many years now. A former Marxist guerrilla was the most recent president, and she was only removed by an illegal US-sponsored legislative coup. Paraguay elected a Leftist Catholic priest, a preacher of Liberation Theology, but he was soon overthrown in a legislative coup. The illegitimate party is now in power.

Uruguay has been a social democracy forever, and it is now governed by a former Marxist guerrilla. Juan Peron put in a social democracy in the 1950’s. Argentina was recently governed by a leftwing husband and wife team who alternated in the Presidency. Chile has been electing presidents from the Socialist Party for about 20 years now. The most recent Socialist, Michelle Bachelet, is a radical, but it remains to be seen what she can do. Chile has a huge class divide, the upper and lower classes  want to murder each other, and there are regular violent protests, leftwing versus rightwing street brawls, and riots, lately by students.

In Latin America, radical neoliberalism was imposed for 20 years, and it failed so badly that the whole continent has been electing leftwingers ever since.

I do not know much about Africa, but most African parties have been officially social democratic for a long time now. The Communist Party was recently part of a South African government. If anything has failed in Africa, it is neoliberalism.

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Scandinavian Socialism Is the Norm All over the World

Hbd investor wrote:

RL: Wait a minute. I am actually supposed to go into the voting booth and vote for muh White race? I am supposed to look at …

HBD Investor: Even with immigration reform, socialism simply wouldn’t work in the USA

The USA has too many tax consumers and not enough tax payers, this is the reason why Americans have high taxes, high medical bills, expensive real estate and high costs of living.

Real estate is expensive because nobody wants to live in a area full of crime and violence, there are only a handful of areas that have jobs combined with living areas that have decent schools. NAMs (non asian minorities ) have made many places unlivable.

Healthcare costs are skyhigh because most of our hospitals are on the verge of bankruptcy. I have a friend who works in as a surgeon in Newark. Newark is an extremely violent and extremely black area. The ER is always full of gunshot wound victims. Majority of these victims do not pay anything so the government foots the tab to keep the hospital running.

Canadians actually pay less tax than the us, and their corporate tax rate is less and they have free universities and health care. The main immigrants that are taken in are highly educated chinese and indians, all of them are net tax payers. They have a lot of money to spend on social goods and Syrian refugees.

Nobody says this but the main reason why socialism works in Scandinavia is because it is full of scandinavians.

Socialism would work very well in Mormon communities in the us

I will go through this point by point.

Health care costs are sky high because most of our hospitals are on the verge of bankruptcy.

Everyone knows that is not the reason. It is pubic hospitals that are hurting sometimes. The private hospital industry is an extremely profitable area. The costs are sky-high simply because we have a system of privatized health care and for no other reason.

Canadians actually pay less tax than the us, and their corporate tax rate is less and they have free universities and health care.

This is not true. Canadians pay quite a bit more in taxes than Americans do, and Canadian corporations pay considerably more in taxes than US corporations. Americans are among the lowest taxed people in the industrialized world and we have the ruined infrastructure and safety net to prove that. US corporate tax rates are high on paper, but hardly any corporation pays that high rate. There are so many loopholes and breaks that most of them pay very low taxes. US corporations probably pay one of the lower tax rates in the industrialized world.

Americans don’t get it. Scandinavian socialism or social democracy is pretty much the norm all over the world. The US and to some extent Latin America are the outliers on that. But even most Latin American countries have free national health care and many have free higher education. Higher education is free in Mexico, Cuba, Venezuela and quite possibly some more places down there. I would have to look into it. I think it was free in Peru just recently.

Social democracy or even beyond is the norm in the Arab World. It’s particularly well developed in the Gulf states. Syrian Kurdistan has gone beyond even that.

It’s the norm in all of Europe, not just Scandinavia. Even the UK has a Scandinavian model.

It’s the norm or beyond in North Africa too.

It’s in place in Iran and there’s even something left of it in India. It’s the norm in most of the former USSR.

It’s the norm or beyond in China and SE Asia. Even Japan has a Scandinavian model with the proviso that the social programs are paid by the corporations directly instead of the state. The Socialist Party regularly wins elections and rules the country. Even the Philippines has free health care and higher education!

Australia and New Zealand have Scandinavian models.

I don’t know much about Africa, but Scandinavian models with free health care and free higher education would not surprise me one bit. I know they have even more of that in Ethiopia.

Social democracy works just fine everywhere on Earth that it is put in. Obviously Scandinavian model would work just fine here too. We are one of the richest countries on Earth.

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The Hell with the Pentagon

As the agency which enforces US foreign policy at gunpoint, the Pentagon has always blown.

First of all, there is no such thing as the Defense Department. When has the Pentagon ever defended the country? Pearl Harbor? They did a fine job there, huh?

Obviously the task of the Pentagon is not to defend the US mainland, which is all it ever ought to do anyway.

Its task is to running around the world starting wars and killing people in other countries. Leaving aside whether that is sometimes a good idea (and I think it is,) what’s so defensive about that?

The real name of the Pentagon is the War Department.That’s what it was always called until World War 2, which the War Department won. After that in a spate of Orwellian frenzy, we named an army of aggression an army of self-defense and comically renamed its branch the Defense Department.

It’s like calling cops peace officers. You see anything peaceful about what a cop does in a typical day? Neither do I?

There was a brief glimmer of hope there in WW2 when we finally starting killing fascists and rightwingers instead of sleeping with them, but the ink was barely dry on the agreements before we were setting up the Gladio fascists, overthrowing Greek elections and slaughtering Greek peasants like ants.

Meanwhile it was scarcely a year after 1945 when the US once again started a torrid love affair with fascism and rightwing dictators like we have always done. We were smooching it up right quick with Europe’s fascists, in this case the former Nazis of Germany (who became the West German elite), Greek killer colonels, Mussolini’s heirs, actual Nazis in Ukraine, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania, Jew-Nazis in Palestine, Franco (who we never stopped sleeping with anyway), Salazar, the malign Mr. Churchill, the true repulsive Dutch royalty and disgusting European colonists the world over, who we showered with guns and bombs to massacre the colonized.

In 1945, a war against fascism, reaction, Nazism and malign colonialism had ended, and for some reason America had fought against these things instead of supporting them as usual.

1946, and we were back in old style again, hiring Nazis by the busload for the CIA, overthrowing democratic governments and putting in genocidal dictatorships, becoming butt buddies with fascist swine everywhere.

So you see we have always pretty much sucked. World War 1 was fought amidst one of the most dishonest propaganda campaigns the world had ever seen, the Korean War was a Godawful mess where we turned North Korea to flaming rubble with the population cowering in caves while slaughtering 3 million North Koreans.

The horrific catastrophe called the Indochinese Wars, such as the Vietnam War, the Secret War in Laos and the Cambodian Massacre, where we genocided 500,000 Cambodians with bombs, driving the whole place crazy and creating the Khmer Rogue.

Panama and Grenada were pitiful jokes, malign, raw, naked imperialism at its worst.

The Gulf War was a brief return to sanity but turkey shoots are sickening.

Of course that followed on with the most evil war in US history, the Nazi-like war on aggression called The War on the Iraqi People (usually called the Iraq War), the Afghan rabbit hole which started out sensibly enough but turned into another Vietnam style Great Big Mess.

I suppose it is ok that we are killing Al Qaeda guys and I give a shout out to our boys over there fighting ISIS or the Taliban and Al Qaeda in South-Central Asia, Somalia and Yemen. Some people need killing.

But I sure don’t feel that way about their superiors, the US officers who fund and direct ISIS, Al Qaeda, etc. out of an Operations Center in Jordan with Jordanian, Israeli (!), Saudi, UAE, and Qatari officers.

And it was very thoughtful of the Pentagon to cover up the Ukrainian Air Force shootdown of the jetliner which we saw on the radar of our ships in Black Sea.

And it was nice of the US to relay the flight path of the Russian jet to the Turks 24 hours in advance so they could shoot down that Russian jet and kill that pilot.

One hand giveth and the other taketh away. For every good thing we do in Syria and Iraq, we do 10 or 20 bad things. Pretty much the story of the Pentagon.

Sure if you fought in WW2 or one of the few other decent wars, you have something to be proud of, and I can even say, “Thank you for your service,” but the main thing is that you signed up for the rightwing army of the rich that is dead set against the people and popular rule everywhere on Earth. Sure, it’s a great army, professional, super-competent and deadly, but it’s generally tasked with doing lousy things. Why anyone would sign up for that reactionary nightmare of an institution is beyond me. America needs to level the Pentagon and put in a true People’s Army instead. Like that would ever happen.

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The Development of Metallurgy in Africa

JM8 writes:

There were some in Africa that were equal to or more advanced than those in Eurasia — i.e. Nok and others like it. One might mention the Gajiganna Culture. Cultures on that general level were not rare at the time or in times fairly soon after in West Africa, but those were notably the oldest and most advanced (or among such) in their region at the time. There were also some that were less advanced and/or did not become so until much later. Of course these were not the most advanced cultures on earth…

…Tangentially speaking, not to belabor the point too much: there are especially important developments in Africa that are early and especially stand out by by global standards: for instance, the likely invention of iron metallurgy in West Africa the Igbo region ca. 2000 BC, 1,000 years before its only other independent discoveries in two other places — China and the Near East. Another is one of the few and oldest independent inventions of pottery other than that of Asia (both around the Mesolithic in either Southern Mali or Central Sudan and somewhere between N. E. Russia and China).

I was very interested in this subject at one time, and I did a lot of research into when metallurgy appeared in Africa and whether iron smelting was an independent development in Africa as so many insist.

I read ~90 pages out of a book on subject that was available for reading on the Internet. The author was a respected anthropologist. The claim was that metallurgy was independently developed in Africa in Nigeria before anyone else, and that Africans completely skipped the Copper and Bronze Age precursors and went straight to the Iron Age, a mighty feat if true. However, the conclusion that I reached after all that reading is that Africa did not independently develop metallurgy. In fact, metallurgy developed much earlier in Eurasia as the Copper and Bronze Ages, which appeared long before the Iron Age, the last stage of metallurgy.

So metallurgy itself was developed probably centuries if not millennia before its appearance in Africa with the smelting of copper and bronze, two earlier stages that never showed up in Africa until much later.

And the smelting of iron also does not appear to have developed independently in Africa. Instead it developed first in Anatolia. Anatolians were already familiar with the smelting of copper and bronze, and it appears that iron smelting was invented here some time in the 4th Century BCE.

It then slowly filtered over to Libya, a process that took centuries. The Libyans or pre-Carthaginians traded a lot down through the Sahel with Sub-Saharan Africans.

So iron smelting somehow made its way down the Sahel to Nok, Nigeria, where it appeared 2,900 BP or 900 BCE. It is this well-known Nok development of iron smelting that is the evidence used by misguided people (often Afrocentrists) to claim independent development of iron smelting in Sub-Saharan Africa before anyone else on Earth.

Other than the facts, there were some other suspicious things about this theory. First of all, the claim that Africans were so advanced that they skipped the Copper and Bronze Ages altogether and leaped right to the Iron Age seems suspicious. The normal trend in metallurgy was copper -> bronze -> iron. It went like this the world over. Why would Africans be so advanced that they leapfrogged over the rest of the planet and skipped the first two possibly necessary stages.

Also iron smelting did not appear with the Igbo as claimed above but instead was developed by the more North African/Sahel (and later Islamic) influenced Nok Culture in the far north of Nigeria in what is now the Hausa-speaking region part of Muslim Nigeria.

Nevertheless, I like the Nok Culture, and in my opinion it takes a fairly advanced culture to even borrow things from other cultures, and Nok was very advanced for its time 2,900 YBP.

I would also like to point out that most cultural innovations are actually borrowings. Few major cultural developments occurred independently.

The alphabet is a good example, and most of the world’s alphabets borrowed ultimately from the Phoenician alphabet, the first character set that went on to conquer the world. Even Indian scripts are borrowings from the Phoenician, as are the Arabic, Aramaic, and Persian scripts, etc. There is nothing wrong with borrowing a major cultural advance. Most cultures on Earth obtained most of their major cultural advances via borrowing as opposed to independent development.

Furthermore, it is important to note that after iron smelting occurred at Nok, it spread very quickly through Africa. It appeared in Tanzania not long afterwards, and it rapidly spread through much of the region. Furthermore, Africans made wide, almost stunning variety of innovations in iron smelting, and these innovations were indeed independent developments. Speed of cultural transmission and improvements/innovations in major cultural borrowings are also examples of advanced cultures.

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An Analysis of the Iraqi Resistance Part 5 –

I have decided to publish my most recent work, An Analysis of the Iraqi Resistance, on my blog. Previously, this piece was used for the research for “An Insiders Look at the Iraqi Resistance” a major piece that appeared on the Islamist website Jihadunspun.com (JUS got the copyright but I did the research). That long-running top-billed piece is now down, but it is still archived on Alexa here . Note that this material is copyrighted and all reproduction for profit is forbidden under copyright laws.

For information about reprinting or purchasing one-time rights to this work, email me. This article is an in-depth analysis of the Iraqi resistance and is continuously being revised. It is presently 58 pages long in total. It lists all known Iraqi resistance groups who have ever fought in Iraq since the fall of Baghdad until about 2005 and includes a brief description and analysis of each group. There are separate sections covering Size, Tendencies, Motivations, Structure, Foreign Assistance, Foreign Fighters, Regional Characteristics, Regions, Cities or Towns Controlled by the Resistance, Major Attacks and List of Groups by Tendency.

The article was intended to be a political science-type analysis of the Iraqi Resistance, and I tried not to take sides one way or the other. I used a tremendous amount of source material, mostly publicly available news reports from the Internet. Obviously, in an area like this you are dealing with a ton of disinformation along with the real deal, so I spent a lot of time trying to sort out the disinfo from the relative truth.

The problem is that one cannot simply discount sources of information such as Israeli and US intelligence, US military reports, reporting from the resistance itself, Islamist websites, etc. Of course these sources are loaded with disinfo and false analysis, but they also tend to have a lot of truth mixed in as well. In writing a piece like this, you pull together all the sources and get sort of a “Gestalt” view of the situation. When you examine all the sources at once in toto, you can kind of sort out the disinfo from the more factual material. Admittedly it’s a hit or miss game, but that’s about as good as we can do source-wise in the inherently hazy subject area of an underground guerrilla war.

Interviews with resistance cadre by the mainstream Western media were given particular prominence in this piece.

FOREIGN FIGHTERS

Foreign Fighters: In Summer 2003, there were some reports that Syrians were said to often outnumber locals in those carrying out attacks in various locales, including Fallujah, Ramadi, Baghdad, Baqubah, Balad, Tikrit and Mosul. However, these reports are contradicted by reports in 11-03 indicating most fighters in most parts of Iraq have been Iraqis. Most of the foreign fighters in the post-major combat phase (after 5-1-03) have been Syrians and Lebanese, and many of the rest are Jordanians, Yemenis, Palestinians, Kuwaitis, Saudis and North Africans – often Egyptians and Algerians.

In 12-03, Syrians were still fairly common amongst fighters in Husaybah, near the Syrian border. After the major battle in Fallujah from April-May 04, a group of 50-100 largely Syrian Sunni extreme fundamentalist fighters seemed to have control over part of Fallujah’s Jolan District.

Many of these could better be described as Arab nationalists than Islamists, and a number of them were not even particularly religious. Dozens of Arab fighters have come from France and hundreds from Europe. In addition to the nations above, others came from Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Chechnya, Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo, Bangladesh, Qatar, Sudan, Somalia, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya. Saudi dissident leaders stated that 5,000 Saudi jihadis were present in Baghdad alone in 11-03. US intelligence believed there were up to 15,000 Saudis alone in Iraq in 9-03. Saudis reportedly played a role in the suicide bombings of the ICRC and Baghdad Hotel.

A Palestinian, born in Iraq, a resident of the Al Jihad neighborhood of Baghdad, carried out the suicide car bomb attack on the upscale restaurant in the Karrada District of Baghdad on New Year’s Eve, 2003. In 11-03, the Jordanian and US governments said that they had identified at least 120 Jordanians in the Sunni Triangle fighting US forces. There were reports from Israeli intelligence that 100’s of Kuwaiti (anti-Kuwaiti regime) Islamists were heading into Iraq in 11-03. These reports were verified by Iraqi sources with AQ connections and former Iraqi military officers in Basra, who said AQ was using the Safwan Crossing because it was the easiest one to get across.

Other areas on the Kuwait-Iraq border were also being used. Before the war, the Kuwait-Iraq border was protected by an extensive fence built by the Kuwaitis. During the 2003 US invasion, US forces smashed through the wall in 9 places. In these 9 locations, crossing the border into Iraq is a simple, low-risk stroll.

These sources also said that AQ was also using the wide-open Saudi-Iraqi border. The porous Saudi-Iraq border has no fences at all and there are many Bedouin guides in that area who will ferry anyone across the border, no questions asked, for only $200. After crossing into Iraq from Kuwait or Saudi Arabia, AQ jihadis usually headed to Zubayr or Abu Al-Khasib, towns south of Basra with a substantial Sunni population.

Zubayr in particular was a popular destination due to a high concentration of Sunni Islamists. According to US and Israeli intelligence, Iran filtered in about 11,000-12,000 Iranian fighters to the Shia South, mostly Revolutionary Guards, during the Karbala pilgrimage in Spring 2003. However, this group has so far, for the most part, merely been working to gain influence in the region peacefully, at least for now. They have been involved in only a very few armed actions. They may be stockpiling arms in the South, along with other Iraqi Shia armed groupings, in case they need them later. A number of Iranian fighters have been captured in the guerrilla war phase. Their ideology and political affiliation are unknown.

However, one of the suicide attackers in the 12-11 bombing of the US base in Ramadi caused 15 US casualties was a Lebanese Palestinian member of Hezbollah splinter faction. In 2-04, Iraqi puppet authorities said that about 500 Hezbollah had come into Iraq in 2003, almost all going to the South, but for the most part they were just engaging in political work and not armed activity. However, the source also said that “scores” of Hezbollah had come to Iraq since mid-December. These Hezbollah were heading to northern Iraq to work with AAI. Hezbollah operatives were said to be providing training and guidance to AAI members; few had participated in attacks.

Sources in Pakistan claim that the Taliban, al-Qaeda (International Islamic Front), Hezb-e-Islami, and HUM (Pakistani Kashmiri fighters) all sent fighters to Iraq, with most of them coming after major combat ended. Two Taliban guerrilas were apprehended in 9-03 coming over the Iranian border into Iraq northeast of Khanaquin through the Kurdish mountains. Another Afghan was caught trying to plant a roadside bomb near the Dura Power Plant in Baghdad in 2-04.

By 1-04, indigenous Iraqi groups were employing smugglers to ferry foreign fighters across the Jordanian, Syrian and Saudi Arabian borders into Iraq. Once inside Iraq, foreign fighters are often transported to Ramadi or Fallujah, 2 of the hubs of the foreign fighter network in Iraq. A 3-29-04 interview with a Blackwater USA (the mercenary firm that lost 4 employees in the famous mutilation-burning attack in Fallujah 2 days later) mercenary based near Fallujah said that many of the attacks around Fallujah had turned out to be Jordanians, Syrians, Iranians, and Chechens.
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Foreign Fighters During And Before Major Combat (March 19-May 1): Many foreign fighters came before and during major combat. An attempt was made to put them under central command towards the end of major combat. By the fall of Baghdad, the central command of the Arab mujahedin stated there were 8,000 foreign fighters in Baghdad alone. They took heavy casualties in the fighting, and many just went home after Baghdad fell. But in the postwar phase, they seem to be coming in again.

A large number of Palestinians came during major combat, about 1,500-2,000 (according to sources in the camp below) or 4,000+ (according to Newsweek), mostly from a splinter Al Aqsa Martyr’s Brigades faction aligned with Syria and located in the Ein Al Hilweh Refugee Camp in southern Lebanon. The leader of this faction is reportedly named Colonel Munir Maqdah. About 30-40 more Al Aqsa Martyr’s Brigades fighters came from just one town in the West Bank. Hamas and Islamic Jihad each sent factions of ~300 fighters. Islamic Jihad’s fighters came through Lebanon.

Fighters from Romania (Communists) and Vietnam (Communists), Indonesia (Islamists), Russia (mixed ideology – Communists, nationalists, Islamists), Dagestan (8,000 Islamists) and Malaysia (Islamists) reportedly announced plans to go fight in Iraq during the major combat phase, but none of them seem to have made it. Hezbollah sent about ~800 fighters, and they continued to trickle in long after major combat ended.

One source claimed that Lashkar-E-Toiba (LET), a Pakistani/Kashmiri group active in Kashmir, participated in the major combat phase. LET cadre in Saudi Arabia (LET purportedly maintains a Saudi presence) claim the group sent a number of fighters, possibly 100-200, during the major combat phase, and suffered casualties.
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Al Qaeda (AQ) Foreign Fighters: AQ has had an open presence in Iraq only recently. In the couple months before the war, when conflict seemed inevitable, small groupings of AQ were allowed by the Iraqi state to form cells in Baghdad, but told to stay clear of Saddam’s regime. They were allowed in on the basis that war seemed inevitable and anyone who wanted to fight the Americans was basically welcome. This group numbered only 30-40. They fought during the war and remained afterwards, when they were apparently reinforced by others. Many of the AQ who came to Iraq during and after major combat may have come in via Iran, either across the border east of Baghdad, or to the north through the Kurdish areas.

A few others supposedly came across the Turkish border into the Kurdish zone. Some may have crossed the Saudi and more recently the Kuwaiti borders. Few, if any, appear to have crossed the Syrian or Jordanian borders. The number of AQ currently in Iraq is very controversial, with estimates ranging from 300-15,000+. AQ sources in Iraq said there were 4,500 foreign jihadis in Iraq in 11-03, most of them from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Yemen and the other Gulf countries. It seems certain that there were at least 100’s of AQ fighters in Iraq as of 12-03. In a 12-03 interview, MA cadre said there were at least 150 AQ in Iraq, with almost of them coming after the fall of Baghdad.

They moved around the country regularly. “One or two” of them might participate in an operation with a local resistance group before moving on to another part of Iraq. MA cadre acknowledged that “1 or 2” AQ cadre had participated in “a few” MA attacks before moving on. In 12-03, sources in Pakistan said that AQ was pulling out 1/3 of its 1,000-man force out of Afghanistan and directing them to Iraq. That would mean ~350 more AQ heading to Iraq. The whole question of AQ’s role in the Iraq War or the guerrila war that followed is poorly understood, probably due to the shadowy nature of the group.

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The Flynn Effect in Blacks Is Ongoing

Jason Y: “Mark my word though, that a bad environment will see NO improvement even over a 1000 years!”

Phil: You forgot something, time is a resource. Second, it’s been noticed in the “Flynn effect” with Blacks that it stopped.

According to my latest information from Bermuda, the Bahamas, Dominica, Kenya, the US and the UK, the Flynn Effect, or whatever it is, is ongoing in Blacks.

Blacks now match Whites on an IQ proxy in the UK, and Half-Black mulattos now match Whites on an IQ proxy in Bermuda.

And in the Bahamas, more or less pure Blacks (9% White) seem to have made some serious IQ gains. Their IQ’s are now 93, whereas on a genetic basis, we might expect an IQ of ~78 or even lower. There also appear to have been actual IQ rises in the UK and Bermuda among Blacks and mulattos respectively.

These three cases actually expand on the Flynn Effect because the FE was previously simply showing rising IQ’s for all races, and while Black IQ’s were going up a lot, White IQ’s were going up by the same amount, so there was no closing of the B-W gap, and there was no actual rise in relative IQ.

In the Bahamas, there was a 15 point gain in relative IQ, that is, Blacks closed 15 pints of the B-W IQ gap.

In the UK, there was a 14 point relative IQ gain, and Blacks closed a 14 point B-W IQ gap.

In Bermuda, there was a 12 point gain in relative IQ, that is, Blacks closed a 12 point B-W IQ gap.

In the US, Dominica, and Kenya, we are still seeing Flynn rises among Blacks, but in the US and possibly in the other two places, there has nevertheless been no closing of the B-W gap.

While it benefits Blacks to get smarter, if Whites are rising at the same rate, some of the gains and all of the relative gains are wiped out.

After all, if there is a tiger chasing both of us, I don’t have to be faster than the tiger. I simply have to be faster than you.

With both Black and White IQ’s rising in tandem, the effect is simply one of an IQ arms race where neither side is gaining on the other while both become more heavily armed.

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Filed under Africa, Americas, Bahamas, Black-White (Mulattos), Blacks, Britain, Caribbean, Dominica, East Africa, Europe, Flynn Effect, Intelligence, Kenya, Latin America, Mixed Race, North America, Psychology, Race/Ethnicity, Regional, USA, Whites

A Look at the Ndali Language

Method and Conclusion. See here.

Results. A ratings system was designed in terms of how difficult it would be for an English-language speaker to learn the language. In the case of English, English was judged according to how hard it would be for a non-English speaker to learn the language. Speaking, reading and writing were all considered.

Ratings: Languages are rated 1-6, easiest to hardest. 1 = easiest, 2 = moderately easy to average, 3 = average to moderately difficult, 4 = very difficult, 5 = extremely difficult, 6 = most difficult of all. Ratings are impressionistic.

Time needed. Time needed for an English language speaker to learn the language “reasonably well”: Level 1 languages = 3 months-1 year. Level 2 languages = 6 months-1 year. Level 3 languages = 1-2 years. Level 4 languages = 2 years. Level 5 languages = 3-4 years, but some may take longer. Level 6 languages = more than 4 years.

This post will look at the Ndali language in terms of how difficult it would be for an English speaker to learn it.

Niger-Kordofanian
Niger-Congo
Volta-Congo
Benue-Congo
Bantoid
Southern
Narrow Bantu
Central
M
Nyika-Safwa

Ndali is a Bantu language with 220,000 speakers spoken in Northern Malawi and Southern Tanzania. It has many strange tense forms. For instance, in the past tense:

Past tense A: He went just now.
Past tense B: He went sometime earlier today.
Past tense C: He went yesterday.
Past tense D: He went sometime before yesterday.

Future tense is marked similarly:

Future tense A: He’s going to go right away.
Future tense B: He’s going to go sometime later today.
Future tense C: He’s going to go tomorrow.
Future tense D: He’s going to go sometime after tomorrow.

Ndali gets a 5 rating, extremely hard to learn.

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A Look at the Malagasy Language

Method and Conclusion. See here.

Results. A ratings system was designed in terms of how difficult it would be for an English-language speaker to learn the language. In the case of English, English was judged according to how hard it would be for a non-English speaker to learn the language. Speaking, reading and writing were all considered.

Ratings: Languages are rated 1-6, easiest to hardest. 1 = easiest, 2 = moderately easy to average, 3 = average to moderately difficult, 4 = very difficult, 5 = extremely difficult, 6 = most difficult of all. Ratings are impressionistic.

Time needed. Time needed for an English language speaker to learn the language “reasonably well”: Level 1 languages = 3 months-1 year. Level 2 languages = 6 months-1 year. Level 3 languages = 1-2 years. Level 4 languages = 2 years. Level 5 languages = 3-4 years, but some may take longer. Level 6 languages = more than 4 years.

This post will look at the Malagasy language in terms of how difficult it would be for an English speaker to learn it.

Austronesian
Malayo-Polynesian
Greater Barito
East Barito
Malagasy

Malagasy, the official language of Madagascar, has a reputation for being even easier to learn than Indonesian or Malay.

Malagasy gets a 1 rating, easiest of all to learn.

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Filed under Applied, Austro-Tai, Austronesian, East Africa, Language Families, Language Learning, Linguistics, Madagascar, Malayo-Polynesian, Regional

A Look at the Somali Language

Method and Conclusion. See here.

Results. A ratings system was designed in terms of how difficult it would be for an English-language speaker to learn the language. In the case of English, English was judged according to how hard it would be for a non-English speaker to learn the language. Speaking, reading and writing were all considered.

Ratings: Languages are rated 1-6, easiest to hardest. 1 = easiest, 2 = moderately easy to average, 3 = average to moderately difficult, 4 = very difficult, 5 = extremely difficult, 6 = most difficult of all. Ratings are impressionistic.

Time needed. Time needed for an English language speaker to learn the language “reasonably well”: Level 1 languages = 3 months-1 year. Level 2 languages = 6 months-1 year. Level 3 languages = 1-2 years. Level 4 languages = 2 years. Level 5 languages = 3-4 years, but some may take longer. Level 6 languages = more than 4 years.

This post will look at the Somali language in terms of how difficult it would be for an English speaker to learn it.

Somali

Somali has one of the strangest proposition systems on Earth. It actually has no real prepositions at all. Instead it has preverbal particles and possessives that serve as prepositions.

Here is how possessives serve as prepositions:

habeennimada horteeda
the-night her-front
“before nightfall”

kulaylka dartiisa
the-heat his-reason
“because of the heat”

Here we have the use of a preverbal particle serving as a preposition:

kú ríd shandádda
Into put the-suitcase.
“Put it into the suitcase.”

Somali combines four “prepositions” with four deictic particles to form its prepositions.

There are four basic “prepositions”:

“to”
“in”
“from”
“with”

These combine with a four different deictic particles:

toward the speaker
away from the speaker
toward each other
away from each other

Hence you put the “prepositions” and the deictic particles together in various ways. Both tend to go in front of and close to the verb:

Nínkíi bàan cèelka xádhig kagá sóo saaray.
Well-the rope with-from towards me I raised.
“I pulled the man out of the well with a rope.”

Way inoogá warrámi jireen.
They us-to-about news gave.
“They used to give us news about it.”

Prepositions are the hardest part of the Somali language for the learner.

Somali deals with verbs of motion via deixis in a similar way that Georgian does. One reference point is the speaker and the other is any other entities discussed. Verbs of motion are formed using adverbs. Entities may move:

towards each other    wada
away from each other  kala
towards the speaker   so
away from the speaker si

Hence:

kala durka "to separate"
si gal     "go in (away from the speaker)"
so gal     "come in (toward the speaker)"

At one time, Somali lacked orthographic consistency. There were four different orthographic systems in use – the Wadaad Arabic script, the Osmanya Ethiopic script, the Borama script and the Latin Somali alphabet. In 1972, Somali President Said Barre decreed that the Latin alphabet would be the official alphabet for the Somali language, so the Somali orthographic system is now stable.

All of the difficult sounds of Arabic are also present in Somali, another Semitic language – the alef, the ha, the qaf and the kha. There are long and short vowels.  There is a retroflex d, the same sound found in South Indian languages. Somali also has 2 tones – high and low. For some reason, Somali tends to make it onto craziest phonologies lists.

Somali pluralization makes no sense and must be memorized. There are seven different plurals and there is no clue in the singular that tells you what form to use in the plural. See here:

Republication:

áf  “language” -> afaf “languages”

Suffixation:

hoóyo “mother” -> hoyoóyin “mothers”

áabbe -> aabayaal

Note the tone shifts in all three of the plurals above.

There are four cases, absolutive, nominative, genitive and vocative. Despite the presence of both absolutive and nominative cases, Somali is not an ergative language. Absolutive case is the basic case of the noun, and nominative is the case given to the noun when a verb follows in the sentence. There are different articles depending on whether the noun was mentioned previously or not (similar to the articles a and the in English). The absolutive and nominative are marked not only on the noun but also on the article that precedes it.

In terms of difficulty, Somali is much harder than Persian and probably about as difficult as Arabic.

Somali gets a 5 rating, extremely hard to learn.

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Filed under Africa, Afroasiatic, Applied, East Africa, Language Families, Language Learning, Linguistics, Regional, Semitic, Somalia