“Hama Rules” and its application, if any, to Iraq

First, a side note:

“If you’re going to do something, be brave and jump in, but do something meaningful.”

These words spoken by Jim Jannard, founder of Oakley, exemplify what I am trying to accomplish here, something meaningful. Sure I might have the occasional post about how I drank too much or smoked so much weed that being on my white down comforter on my bed with my black light on made me feel like I was on a cloud, but that’s not the point of being here, at least not for me. So Stoney, here’s some savagery for you: your words, while dually noted, can be shoved up your ass :). And now, for all you readers out there, this is truly out of love.

On with the show.

Let me set the stage for you oh loyal readers, a bit of the old ultra-violence.

“An unceasing sound, like the creaking of a bullock cart, rises from the river banks to permeate the narrow streets and pervade the whole town — it is audible even as far away as the citadel. This is the noise made by the waterwheels of Hama — a “cry” almost, like the muezzin’s call to prayer, harsh, plangent and timeless” (From the chapter on the town of Hama in the 1977 guidebook SYRIA TODAY, by Jean Huereau).

In the weeks before February 1982, Hama, a city of around 180,000 inhabitants positioned 120 miles from Damascus located off the Orontes River, doesn’t know what’s coming. Hama has always been seen as one of the Petri dishes for fundamentalist Islamic groups that oppose secular government, such as the one in power since the early 70’s. Hafez al-Assad started out when he was the Defense Minister and seized power in a coup d’état. The government in power is Alawite, a splinter sect that used to reside in the mountains. The Alawite population makes up about 10 – 12% of the 11-12 million population of Syria.

Most of the time, the Alawites manage to severely frustrate the majority of the population with their secularist thinking. Therefore, the Muslim Brotherhood sets up in the city of Hama and starts a campaign of bombings and assassinations against the Alawite secular government. So inevitably, Assad responds with force of his own assassinations and abductions, making Syria seem on the brink of civil war. Assad continues to fight the Muslim Brotherhood and ends up raiding, torturing, and killing suspected members of the Muslim Brotherhood. This continues on into the 80’s at which time it reaches a critical breaking point. After some members of the Brotherhood return from prisons, they retaliate by setting off a car bomb in Damascus that kills 64 people and injures another 132.

The Muslim Brotherhood has now managed to incite the incredible wrath of President Hafez al-Assad and his Russian backed army. Assad sends in everything he has including 3,000 troops, helicopters and he surrounds the city with T-62 tanks. The Brotherhood had been tipped off to Assad’s plan and when a section of troops entered the city in order to extract some Brotherhood members, the Brotherhood mowed them down with machine-gun fire. The people in Hama believed they were being “liberated” by the Brotherhood. Assad doesn’t take any risks and calls in thousands of more troops and orders the tanks to move into the cities. He uses the helicopters to spot the Brotherhood ambushes and orders that Hama be cut off from communicating with the outside world. Assad knows that he has to win this fight with overwhelming force. He levels the city with tanks, shelling every building in site, leaving no two stones on top of each other.

Amnesty International gives reports of some 10,000 to 25,000 people dead, but then I’ve read reports of up to a 150,000 dead. This is Hama rules. This is a world of no rules. This comes from centuries of Middle Eastern “politics” in which they only know and understand tribalism. In its long history, in the desert, no country ever comes in to interfere with another’s business. The only way these people know how to survive is if they are provoked; you massacre your enemy so they never, and I mean never, want to fight you or provoke you again.

Let’s take this and jump forward nine years or fourteen years or if you want to get even more recent and more relevant twenty-one years. All of these events, Kuwait, Kosovo, and Iraq exemplify how the United States is completely lost in the Middle East because we don’t understand their culture; furthermore, we don’t know how to have an open dialogue with these people. For all of you who want to say that invading the Middle East is a Republican thing, it’s not. It’s a Democratic thing too. It doesn’t matter which party you affiliate with, it’s still a United States party, it’s still Westernized thought process that gets this country into tight spots. I’m not saying we should completely change the way we think, I just think that we should be more receptive to how other’s think, to what other’s think. I mean if these people, if all they know is complete and utter domination, the United States cannot provide this kind of a government. We want to install a democracy?!? A democracy in a place where these people only know the sword and having your leader slam his boot up your ass to make his point. The United States would light afire if our soldiers attempted to provide this kind of totalitarian force to the situation in Iraq. More over, the American people don’t want our troops to act this way, even though there have already been mass amounts of civilian causalities in Iraq. So one must ask oneself this simple question: how can democracy ever work in the Middle East when all they know is Hama rules?


12 Responses to ““Hama Rules” and its application, if any, to Iraq”

  1. 1 stoneywageslave March 22, 2007 at 9:09 am

    Stoney says: I’m pretty sure this blog is red-flagged by the FBI, CIA and NSA by this point.

  2. 2 deddog March 22, 2007 at 9:31 am

    Westernized mentality will never catch on there… the children growing up in battle hardenned areas of the middle east have deceased martyred role models. An entire new generation of western hating Iraqis and Iranians is on the way, and I agree that the area’s tribal heritage will be felt well into the future. Were it just one country we were fighting (Iraq), I’d feel that a ruthless campaign could possibly restore order. However, the two sects (Shi’ite and Sunni) of Islam responsible for alot of the contention (or at least its facade) both receive funding from Saudi Arabia and Syrian investors (two nations with conflicting perspectives). War is very much economical, and we have a tough time ahead waging war with oil moguls… it will only get worse.

  3. 3 haganav March 22, 2007 at 11:27 am

    It’s more than just the Shi’ite and the Sunni’s. There are over 24 sects in Iraq and the Middle East, all fighting for what they believe is their correct interpretation of Islam. At least with Saddam Hussein they believed they had relative piece with sometimes the Sunni’s Shi’ites and Kurds living in one neighborhood. As far as Saudi Arabia goes, they hate the Sunni majority and never funded them, I might have it mixed up but I believe that’s correct. Since the birth of Islam, the Sunni’s have never had political power, but now they are gaining political power in Iran with the onset of civil war in Iraq. And as we all know, war is very economical, but it seems Bush has not made the American people make the proper sacrifices by raising taxes, and instead he has given us tax cuts, selling America short and setting the United States up for economical disaster.

  4. 4 haganav March 22, 2007 at 11:31 am

    As a note, I can’t spell worth a shit and it’s peace and there are a few commas in there I left out.

  5. 5 Roughty March 22, 2007 at 12:34 pm

    Nice post haganav, very thought provoking. However, do you think it’s wise to end a declaration of savagery with ” 🙂 “? The answer of course, is no.

  6. 6 haganav March 22, 2007 at 12:37 pm

    This is true, and indeed it might not be savage to end such an introduction with such an un-savage smiley face… however, I would consider brotherly love pretty savage so there ya go, it’s a smile to the savagery of brotherly love. Also, it’s there just to make sure that readers don’t get the wrong idea, and so they know that I’m not really pissed or telling him to shove it up his ass.

  7. 7 suityourself March 23, 2007 at 8:56 am

    you know, a long time ago i gave up on trying to understand what the fuck is happening over there. they’ll show us video of the guys burning up flags and g.w.b. dolls, and we’re supposed to hate their asses for it, but what about all the starving and thirsty kids and old folks over there? i have yet to see them on the tv, unless they’re handing some ass-hole marine a flower or some such bullshit. we see only what they want us to see. voicing opinions on topics like these is like going “all in” on a hand of poker and not looking at any of your cards… it’s not a good idea… none of us have enough information to make truly informed decisions.

    if you believe what i do, then you’ll agree that as society continues to move forward, (chronologically — not in the “progress” sense), all the nations of the world will become completely enmeshed and totally interconnected. there will be no room for nationalists trying to impose one value system onto another group of people. it won’t be acceptable from the perspective of the oppressors or the oppressed. people in charge will be accountable to everyone — not just to citizens of one (almost totally dumb-ass) country. when this happens, culture will be homogenous with only slight religion-, culture-, geography-based variations. language barriers will not exist, and wars over holy-lands, national sovereignty and the like will no longer happen. this will be good. but it’s exactly what the bible says is bad about the “end times” of revelation… that’s why america is trying so hard to keep things in line with the old model…

    it goes without saying, but this is only my opinion. probably disagreeable to most people. america is still a very young country, and we americans have a tendency to view our lives and our ways of life as pretty much indestructible. that’s foolish. just ask hiroshima’s handless, three-balled, fucked up people. thinking we’re too strong to be derailed is the rationale behind all this political commentary, but i’m playing the long-term… i don’t vote… i don’t have an opinion about any wars… i don’t care in the least what happens to the american economy. in short, i don’t feel like i have anything of value invested in america. it’s nice weather in virginia, so i’ll stay. i pay taxes, so they can’t kick me out. but i believe that before too long, some shit’s gonna hit the fan, and the big-bad american system we all philosophized over for all these years will be just a sad memory. maybe it’s wishful thinking, but i am pretty sure that no matter what happens, i’ll be fine. i can grow vegetables and catch fish, (and i own a couple shotguns). i can walk quietly and real far without getting too tired. i can drive a nail into a board and know how to make water drinkable. if i were you, instead of worrying about the big old american system and what it’s doing right and wrong, learn some practical skills. don’t worry about iraq, but figure out how in the hell you’re going to get by when the bottom falls out. just because you live in the u.s. of a. does not mean you’ll never have to think about this type of real shit. just something to think about.

  8. 8 haganav March 23, 2007 at 11:49 am


    Do yourself a favor and ask Stoney over there how many years of primitive wilderness survival skill training I’ve had and how many summers I’ve spent learning to hunt, track, stalk etc. etc. ad infinitum without the shotgun or any of that other bullshit before you question my level of practical skills. You wanna talk savagery, leave the modern shit behind. So for all practical purposes I have all the “practical skills” necessary to survive if the American economy fell out and it actually came down to that. Therefore, I don’t worry about that kinda shit. Sure I might take a walk or whatever earthy shit people do, but at the same time I enjoy stimulating my mind with discussion about current situations.

  9. 9 Roughty March 23, 2007 at 12:39 pm

    Haganav, I say to you, ppppffffttt. If you want to be a true Renaissance man like SuitYourself and myself, you need to optomize balance in your life. Enjoying the great outdoors is a great activity, and is free. Personally while I am hunting and scouring the Earth, all I need are “lefty” and “righty”. But, that’s me. This one time some bear came lumbering up to me and unleashed a defeaning roar. So I let him eat the lunch I had packed for the day, a knucle sandwhich. Once I revived him, we went into town and had a beer. He was a really nice bear, just misunderstood. Plus he showed me where he stored all his honey. So if anyone wants free honey, I’m the guy to speak to.

  10. 10 suityourself March 25, 2007 at 4:09 am

    haganav, my comment was not a veiled rip on you… since we both belong to this blog’s core group, i take for granted that we’re all have pretty much the same general outlook on things. i have heard about your badassness and savagery ever since the first week of college with your brother, and if it came down to it, i’d pick you to live beyond me in a hypothetical wilderness situation. my comment was just designed to be food for thought for those backward-ass visitors who never do anything but talk shit about politics. i’ll say it again… no ripping intended. stand down, sir. 🙂 i mean, let’s look at the facts… i said, “saying opinions about political shit is worthless.” then, i gave my opinion on some political shit… if i were ripping, i’d have to rip the shit out of myself, too…

  11. 11 suityourself March 25, 2007 at 4:11 am

    roughty, i think you’re confusing the bear for jp’s face behind the dumpster at one greene leafe establishment…. ppfffffttt!! you remember that? haha, i’ll never forget that. that’s why you is da man.

  12. 12 Roughty March 25, 2007 at 10:30 am

    I do Suit, I do. I also remember 7 non savages from the Greeneleafe establishment chasing the 3 of us down the street to try and reaquire thier heisted pitcher of beer. If they didnt want us to drink it then why did they sell it to us five minutes before they tried to take it? Madness, pure madness. That dumpster was crucial cover, and we swindled those assholes good.

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