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Geopolitics of the War on Terror

Lecture for Geopolitics Course 15th of February 2013

Jamie Allinson

on 5 April 2013

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Transcript of Geopolitics of the War on Terror

Geopolitics of the 'War on Terror' The Defining Conflict of an Epoch, the
First De-territorialised War, or Imperialism
in a New Form? Overview Chronology of events 'The Pentagon's New Map'
and the geographical
imagination of the War on Terror Photo credit: Zahira photography Background 1978: Soviet invasion of Afghanistan: 'Mujihadeen' formed to fight invasion with US support
'Afghan Arabs' join them: Bin Laden group coalesces c.1988-9 Post-Gulf War, Bin Laden turns hostility to US troops
in Saudi Arabia 1993 First World Trade Centre Bombing 1996 Bin Laden returns from Sudan to Afghanistan, now under Taliban control 1998: Bin Laden 'Fatwa', bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania October 2000 USS Cole attack The 9/11 Attacks and after Approx. 3000 people killed in
attacks on Pentagon and World Trade
Centre Response: 'If you're not with us,
you're against us' 'Operation Enduring Freedom':
Invasion of Aghanistan, fall of Taliban
November 2001: now 12 years old 'Operation Iraqi Freedom' Invasion of Iraq on grounds of 'WMD'
March 2003 ( never found) Division on UNSC, US unilateralism Dual insurgency, and eventually
civil war US official withdrawal December 2010 Why? What does it mean for Geopolitics? 'The Pentagon's New Map' US= Globalisation= Security
=> Enforce globalisation in
'gap' 'A balance of power that favours freedom...' "The great struggles of the 20th century between liberty
and totalitarianism ended with a decisive victory for
the forces of freedom - and a single sustainable model
for national success: freedom, democracy and free
enterprise...to create a balance of power that favours
human freedom: conditions in which all nations and
societies can choose for themselves the rewards and
challenges of political and economic liberty"

The National Security Strategy of the United States, 2002 "Shock and Awe" of US technological advantage could be used to do this: one-fifth the number of troops used in 1991 Gulf War A de-territorialised, 'everywhere war'? 'War on terror' seemingly everywhere, without end or enemy state to be defeated Bin Laden killed May 2010: but Al-Qa'ida, or its mutations, appears to continue A decentralised network of nodes (Flint) rather than a territorially-based
hierarchy Affinity to "Clash of Civilisations, but not completely To be fought by a 'networked' 'Revolution in Military affairs: clash of 'globalisations'? BUT Iraq, Afghanistan are territories. Why Iraq, anyway? Neo-con geopolitics? War on Terror as 'New Imperialism'? David Harvey, Alex Callinicos Not necessarily same as old-fashioned territorial control, but still imperial competition,

Strategy of one particular state, the US, dominant in capitalist system Maintain dominance over area that other states rely on for oil 'States of
exception' such as
Bay Make use of advantage in military terms that US was losing in financial terms Derek Gregory , "Colonial Present" Colonial, Orientalist imaginaries
feed into and are recreated by occupations in
Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan Is it still going on? Bin Laden is dead: last major attack outside of Pakistan was 2005 US troops withdrawn from Iraq: will withdraw from
Afghanistan A shift to drone attacks: but still pre-emption anywhere, e.g. memo on drone legality
Full transcript