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Terror and Territory

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While geographical aspects of the “war on terror” have received extensive discussion, the specifically territorial aspects have been less well explored. This article engages with the relation between territory and terror through three main angles. First, the relation between terrorist training camps and the absence of sovereign power over territory in particular places is examined through a broadening of Agamben's notion of a “space of exception”. Second, the portrayal of al-Qaeda and militant Islam more generally as a deterritorialised organisation is interrogated, noting the territorial aspects of its operations. Third, the territorial responses are studied, particularly looking at the way the international legal term of territorial integrity, with its dual meanings of territorial preservation and territorial sovereignty is under increased threat. This is illustrated with a study of Afghanistan and Iraq and particularly through an analysis of the 2006 war in Lebanon.

Keywords: Lebanon; spaces of exception; territorial integrity; war on terror; weak states

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: International Boundaries Research Unit, Department of Geography, Durham University, Durham, UK;, Email:

Publication date: November 1, 2007

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