Ungoverned Territories

Ungoverned Territories: Understanding and Reducing Terrorism Risks

Angel Rabasa
Steven Boraz
Peter Chalk
Kim Cragin
Theodore W. Karasik
Jennifer D. P. Moroney
Kevin A. O’Brien
John E. Peters
Copyright Date: 2007
Edition: 1
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 396
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Ungoverned Territories
    Book Description:

    Using a two-tiered framework areas applied to eight case studies from around the globe, the authors of this ground-breaking work seek to understand the conditions that give rise to ungoverned territories and make them conducive to a terrorist or insurgent presence. They also develop strategies to improve the U.S. ability to mitigate their effects on U.S. security interests.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-4265-1
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-x)
  4. Figures
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Tables
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  6. Summary
    (pp. xv-xxiv)
  7. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xxv-xxvi)
  8. Abbreviations
    (pp. xxvii-xxxii)
  9. CHAPTER ONE Understanding Lack of Governance
    (pp. 1-6)
    Angel Rabasa and John E. Peters

    This study examines ungoverned territories and the challenges that these areas pose to U.S. national security as breeding grounds for terrorism and criminal activities and launching pads for attacks against the United States and Western interests. For the purpose of this investigation, we define anungoverned territoryboth with respect to physical space and to the level of state control, the degree to which the state has control of normal government functions. Ungoverned territories can be failed or failing states; poorly controlled land or maritime borders or airspace; or areas within otherwise viable states where the central government’s authority does...

  10. CHAPTER TWO Dimensions of Ungovernability
    (pp. 7-14)
    Angel Rabasa and John E. Peters

    In this chapter, we describe in detail the four variables that we use to assess levels of governance, or lack thereof, and the indicators associated with some of these variables.

    The first attribute of an ungoverned territory is the lack of penetration by state institutions into the general society.¹ Lack of state penetration could be measured by absent or nonfunctioning state institutions. For example, law enforcement entities may only be present in the capital or major cities of a state, leaving substantial territory outside the state’s purview. State health and welfare institutions may not reach into a substantial portion of...

  11. CHAPTER THREE Dimensions of Conduciveness
    (pp. 15-22)
    Angel Rabasa and John E. Peters

    Several environmental factors allow terrorist and insurgent groups to flourish in particular places. As stated in Chapter One, we are concerned with a hierarchy of threats: from al-Qaeda and its affiliated and associated groups in the global jihadist movement to insurgent groups that do not threaten the United States directly but threaten U.S. regional interests and the security of U.S. friends and allies.

    Al-Qaeda and other groups in the global jihadist movement use ungoverned territories as financial, logistical, and training bases or as operational bases. Each of these activities poses a different set of requirements. An ungoverned territory that lends...

  12. CHAPTER FOUR Comparative Analysis of Case Studies
    (pp. 23-32)
    Angel Rabasa and John E. Peters

    In this chapter, we analyze the results of eight case studies of ungoverned territories in terms of the dimensions identified in our framework—ungovernability and conduciveness to a terrorist presence. We do this in two ways. First, we describe the dominant characteristics of each of the case studies, that is, those features that are most relevant to a specific ungoverned territory and that differentiate it from others. Second, we compare the values that we have given to the indicators of ungovernability and conduciveness in each of these territories. On the basis of this analysis, we seek to determine how ungoverned...

  13. CHAPTER FIVE Conclusions and Recommendations
    (pp. 33-48)
    John E. Peters and Jennifer Moroney

    This chapter considers some specific options and implications for U.S. government policies, using our three-part typology of ungoverned territories to inform the discussion.

    Although ungoverned territories may have different sources that require different policy mixes, U.S. policy must always address the two sets of attributes that make some of these territories actual or potential terrorist sanctuaries—the lack of an effective state presence and the conduciveness of these territories to the presence of terrorist groups. Two approaches are possible: the direct approach, targeting terrorists directly with military force, and the indirect approach, helping friendly governments extend state control and improve...

  14. CHAPTER SIX Case Study: The Pakistani-Afghan Border Region
    (pp. 49-76)
    Peter Chalk

    The Pakistani-Afghan border is the prototype of an ungoverned territory that serves as a sanctuary for terrorist groups. The British annexed the area during the nineteenth century but never fully pacified the area. There were major rebellions in 1919, when Wazir tribesmen briefly drove the British out of the South Waziristan Agency capital of Wana; and in 1936–1938, when a charismatic Muslim cleric, the Faqir of Ipi, led a popular uprising in Waziristan that the British subdued by resorting to extensive aerial bombardment. The two decades of war in Afghanistan that began with the Soviet invasion in 1979 also...

  15. CHAPTER SEVEN Case Study: The Arabian Peninsula
    (pp. 77-110)
    Theodore Karasik and Kim Cragin

    This chapter focuses primarily on the border regions of Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar, Bahrain, and Kuwait. Our research explores the governing capacity of states in the Arabian Peninsula and the movement of goods across their borders, with the goal of gaining a better understanding of remote borders. We also include a brief look at Jordan and Iraq because the movement of persons and goods across their borders presently affects stability in the Arabian Peninsula. However, we do not discuss Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) or the ongoing insurgency in Iraq in detail in this report,...

  16. CHAPTER EIGHT Case Study: The Sulawesi-Mindanao Arc
    (pp. 111-146)
    Angel Rabasa

    The Sulawesi-Mindanao arc—that is, the region comprising the Celebes and Sulu Seas and the land areas bordering on them—constitutes a single geopolitical area that affects the political stability of the larger maritime Southeast Asian region (see Figure 8.1). There is, however, no historical or cultural basis for the separation of the populations around the Sulu Sea among different nations.¹

    The area’s borders are porous—with piracy, armed militias, terrorists, separatist groups, and unregulated movement of persons and goods. Within Sulawesi and Mindanao, large areas in Central Sulawesi, in the Philippine provinces of Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur,...

  17. CHAPTER NINE Case Study: The East Africa Corridor
    (pp. 147-172)
    Peter Chalk

    The eastern corridor of Africa is attracting growing attention among Western security officials as an area of potential interest to al-Qaeda and affiliated elements.¹ Not only are several states in this region unable to exercise control over their territory—Somalia being a graphic case in point–-but Islamists with established links to the international jihadist movement are known to have both operated in and passed through this part of Africa. This chapter examines the extent to which certain areas in southeast Africa can be considered ungoverned territories and delineates attributes that might make them conducive to the presence of terrorist...

  18. CHAPTER TEN Case Study: West Africa
    (pp. 173-206)
    Kevin A. O’Brien and Theodore Karasik

    This chapter discusses the region between the Sahara and pan-Sahel and the Gulf of Guinea, the western half of a zone of conflict and known terrorist activity stretching to the east and southeast. West Africa is becoming more important to the West, not just in “hard security” terms, such as in the war on terrorism, but also in terms of other security considerations, such as fuel and resource security—all of which makes it of ever-increasing relevance to the outside world. This chapter provides, first, a brief overview of West Africa, focusing on geopolitical issues, including previous and ongoing Western...

  19. CHAPTER ELEVEN Case Study: The North Caucasus
    (pp. 207-242)
    Jennifer Moroney and Theodore Karasik

    The National Intelligence Council’s (NIC’s) 2004 report,Mapping the Global Future, discussed future hot spots of instability extensively. The North Caucasus was highlighted as a critical region that will remain a source of endemic tension and conflict.¹ In the universe of ungoverned territories around the world, the North Caucasus is certainly worth studying because this highly heterogeneous region lies at a critical juncture between European and Asian civilizations, has a high level of corruption, and serves as a transit route for the smuggling of illegal commodities and weapons. According to the NIC report, “lagging economies, ethnic affiliations, intense religious convictions,...

  20. CHAPTER TWELVE Case Study: The Colombia-Venezuela Border
    (pp. 243-276)
    Steven Boraz

    The 1,400-mile-long border separating Colombia and Venezuela is lengthy and diverse. Neither Bogotá nor Caracas have paid sufficient attention to the region, which suffers from extreme poverty and a three-sided armed conflict involving Colombian government forces, Marxist insurgents of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the smaller National Liberation Army (ELN), and the groups constituting the United Self Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC).¹ These organizations vie for control of the drug trade in the region and use the porous border to support their illicit transactions, to obtain arms, and to provide safe haven from Colombian forces.

    This chapter...

  21. CHAPTER THIRTEEN Case Study: The Guatemala-Chiapas Border
    (pp. 277-306)
    Steven Boraz

    The border separating Guatemala and Mexico is a more than 600-mile-long frontier that is plagued by poverty, violence, corruption, and an overall lack of state presence. It represents an increasingly utilized and important transit zone for the smuggling of drugs, people, and other contraband that often reach the United States. Both Guatemala and Mexico face significant challenges in enforcing security in a region that is increasingly coming under the control of such nonstate actors as gangs, criminal organizations, and vigilante groups. These groups are able to exploit state weakness to increase their illicit activity and gain control of important transit...

  22. APPENDIX Assessment of Ungovernability and Conduciveness Values for Ungoverned Territories
    (pp. 307-316)
  23. Bibliography
    (pp. 317-352)
  24. Index
    (pp. 353-364)