Young Tribesman from Splinter Faction Attack Tribal Elders

For the second time in as many months, young men from a splinter faction of a conservative rural tribe attacked clan elders.  On the first occasion, five young men pulled a tribal elder from his home in Mesopotamia and forcibly cut the man’s beard.  On the second occasion, a young clansmen invited his father, a religious leader in the community, into his home.  After discussions broke down, the young son attacked his father and forcibly cut his beard – an embarrassment as:

“to cut their beard is an assault on not only their personal identity but also on their religious identity and their religious faith as married men are expected to let their beards grow.”

The son, a member of the Bergholz region breakaway faction and son-in-law of the rebel leader Mullet, initiated the attack in response to perceived unfair rulings by tribal elders enforcing tribal law. Breakaway leader Mullet says tribal elders:

“changed the rulings … and they’re trying to force their way down our throat, make us do like they want us to do, and we’re not going to do that,” 

Analysts note that while:

“it’s uncommon … to take disputes public and enlist authorities, there is no central authority to decide so it usually falls to the … leaders or those involved.”

Mullet’s breakaway faction in Bergholz, Ohio ….. OH YEAH, BREAK…did I forget to mention that I’m talking about the Amish.  I hope I didn’t confuse anyone that this might be an Afghanistan-Pakistan discussion about the Neo-Taliban. All of this is happening in Ohio.

NPR, and of course only NPR, brought to light the story of the Neo-Amish faction of Johnny Mullet in rural Ohio. While rogue Amish are less violent than an Occupy Oakland protest, I found the narrative fascinatingly similar to counterinsurgency discussions over the years. 
Younger, self-appointed cleric with no religious training begins challenging the old tribal guard through the use of force atypical of the culture
.  Older generation leaders struggle to ward off the aggression of young upstarts seeking to change cultural decision-making processes.  I’m waiting to hear if we should dispatch advisers to quell the insurgency.  We’ve seen this sort of breakaway Amish radicalism before in the movie Kingpin and we all know where it leads (I think no where but it’s been a while since I’ve watched the movie). Turns out the first attack was around Mesopotamia, Ohio and not Mesopotamia between the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers.

It is still unknown if either side will enlist the support of foreign fighters from Pennsylvania Amish country.  The Pennsylvania Amish could potentially provide either side a decisive edge as everyone recognizes the training provided them by Harrison Ford in the movie Witness.  They were instrumental in defeating a rogue Danny Glover.

Despite my bad movie references, I value both articles as an alternative, less violent U.S. version of the cultural dynamics the U.S. has encountered during overseas COIN operations in recent years.  As I’ve told friends in the past, “there’s a little Taliban in all of us” … even the Amish!