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July 24, 2012


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My friend the major in Lebanon reports that the price of a black market semi-automatic rifle has hit $4,000. Take that as you will.

Interesting. Let's see what happens.

Of course most blogospherians will claim that Algeria has since conquered France due to unlimited immigration of unassimilable Islamic fundamentalists.

The Assad|Baath regime is native, not colonial. Unlike France there is nowhere for its supporters to go. It is more likely that this conflict will go on for years with the regime eventually retreating to Alawite regions.

I agree, Richard.

"The problem is that he is going to lose slowly. He can easily fight on for another few months, although the correlation of forces has turned against him. De Gaulle abandoned the victory because of international pressure and because there were no real advantages (other than access to oil, which the Evian Agreements let France keep) to hanging on. The first applies to Assad. The second not so much."

As in, De Gaulle and the pieds noirs could withdraw from Algeria. Assad and the Alawites can't withdraw from Syria.

I gotta stop being cryptic in these posts.

Peter, I am confused.

You know that I know that the statement in your post is bullshit on every level. It is bullshit on the base level: immigration to France is not unresistricted; most French Muslims have assimilated perfectly well and inasmuch as not the issue is French racism; and on current trends you'll never see even a quarter of the Hexagon descended from immigrants from Islamic countries, let alone be actual practicing Muslims.

You also know that I know that it is bullshit at a meta-level: "most blogospherians" do not believe obvious falsehoods about a prominent nation of 60 million people. Not even most American blogospherians believe that.

If that is what most of the bloggers you read believe, then you have some odd and more-than-slightly creepy reading habits.

I therefore assume that it is sarcasm. But why would you post such sarcasm here? Without explanation, it leaves me a little creeped out. Would you mind explaining, Peter?

Trust me, in MANY quarters of the blogosphere any mention of Europe, no matter how peripheral, soon leads to gloom-and-doom tirades about "Eurabia." You'll hear about plummeting white-Christian birthrates, "no-go" zones in the larger cities, Sharia in many communities, and so on.

Of course the reality is far less dire, but the point to understand is that many people are so frightened of Islam that they'll believe the most absurd claims about its relentless growth. Mortal dread has a way of triumphing over fact and logic.

That's crazy! Why raise it here?

If I may speculate?

As someone familiar with Eurabianist rhetoric, the rejoinder of Eurabianists to your perfectly sane analysis is that the French--even the French of the 1950s and 1960s--were a weak and degenerate nation as compared to the Syrians who have iron in their blood and an unbreakable will linked somehow to Islam, the victory of the Algerians who are also Arab and Muslim just gong to demonstrate the unbreakability of the Islamic will, and that therefore the Algeria:Syria comparison is invalid.

No, it's not a coherent analysis at all. It, though, and its associated worldviews, do enjoy a level of popularity that's worrisome.

Binge eating does not happen in a vacuum. Your binge eating is your response to deep emotional pain that you need to process. Many trauma survivors, such as people with a history of abuse or neglect in childhood, binge eat to manage their emotions. Thanks.

France did not win militarily, if it did, it would have stayed. The French were able to win small battles, but the war as a whole, they lost and badly.

The analogy with Syria is valid but not for the reason that you stated.

France was an occupying oppressive force, and the Algerians were fighting for their land on their land.

The Syrian army is fighting an army of jihadist "occupiers" that have come from all over the world to make of Syria an Islamic State and ethnically cleanse all the minorty groups. The Syrian army is fighting for its land on its land.

For this reason, just like Algeria won, Syria will also win.

It's remarkably hard to find good time series statistics on the Algerian War, but they do exist. Basically, the ALN had been decimated as an effective fighting force by late 1959. For example, the number of rifles in its possession fell from a peak of 15,000 in late 1959 to barely 5100 by early 1961. Similarly, the monthly number of ALN attacks (including terrorist strikes on civilians) peaked at a hair under 4,000 in February 1957 and the plunged to under 1,000 by December 1959, where it remained until the end of the war. European civilian casualties fell to the double-digits annually, mostly in rural areas. Of the approximately 3,000 civilian fatalities from ALN attacks, roughly 92% of them occurred in 1954-58.

Of course, the French breaking of the ALN as an effective fighting force didn't matter. If you want to find a key event that precipitated independence, it was the December 1960 riots. They surprised De Gaulle, prompted French settlers to kill hundreds of Muslims, and showed that reconciliation had become impossible. The French polity simply wasn't willing to keep the boot on the neck of the Muslim population for the sake of the pied noirs.

Other countries in similar military positions have made different decisions: Israel, the Russian Federation, the U.K., Sri Lanka. All those countries sustained levels of violence similar to France in Algeria after 1959 for decades.

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