About This Information
The bulk of this information came right off the shelves of the Library of Congress, although the sourcing of this discussion admittedly has been less than meticulous. For example, the author neglected to source the statement "[Qadhafi's] regime almost certainly enjoys strong support from the Qadhadhfa's sister tribe, the Warfalla, the confederation's largest and most militarily significant tribe." In constructing the simple assertion that the Qadhadhfa enjoys an unusually close tie with the Warfalla, disparate writings were drawn upon and exploited with help from French, German, and Italian linguists, including:
- A. Cauneille, "Le Nomadisme des Guedadfa, Tribu de Tripolitanaine (Syrte)," in Bulletin de Liaison Saharienne 32 (December 1958)
- Dr. G. Nachtigal, "Nachtigal's Reise: Tripolis bis Tummo," (Gotha: Justus Perthes, 1878)
- Col. Enrico De Agostini, "Le Popolazioni della Tripolitania; Notizie Etniche e Storiche," (Tripoli: Tip. Pirotta & Bresciano, 1917)
- E.E. Evans-Pritchard, "The Sanussi of Cyrenaica," (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1954)
Cauneille says that, according to tribal legend, the founder of the Qadhadhfa paid debt on behalf of the Warfalla's founder, thereby linking the two tribes inextricably. In a map compiled during his travels through Libya in 1869, Nachtigal went so far as to describe the Qadhadhfa as a "section," or subtribe, of the Warfalla (Abtheilung der Urfilla), an indicator of their strong tie. De Agostini's work likewise highlights Warfalla concentrations among the Qadhadhfa, and vice versa. De Agostini explicitly identifies Sidi Musa Qadhaf al-Dam as a holy man who founded the Qadhadhfa tribe over 275 years ago (he lies buried near Gharyan, deep in Warfalla territory). We know as well from Evans-Pritchard that tribes evolve, splitting to form new tribes often under the leadership of a Sharif, or religiously significant personality. One might conclude that ancestors of the Qadhadhfa were at one time members of a subtribe or large clan belonging to the Warfalla who left to establish their independence as a marabut, a tribe claiming descent from a holy man. This tie alone goes far in explaining why both tribes remain close to this day despite occasional frictions such as a 1993 coup attempt undertaken by several Warfalla.Sourcing and Commentary
Three distinct groups of Warfalla were involved in the action, according to press accounts. Prior to their execution in January 1997, several perpetrators admitted during confessions broadcast on Tripoli television that they had received assistance from UK-based members of the National Front for the Salvation of Libya (NFSL). The consiprators also claimed to have used communication devices provided to them by the CIA via their NFSL cohorts (press accounts indicate similar devices were given to Cuban agents of the CIA in 1983).
And so we see that this statement was distilled from data points such as these. Input from anyone willing to share the results of their own research or first-hand experience with Libya's tribal dynamic is welcome. Thanks to those who have provided comments to date.