The War on Terror and the Politico-Military Reconfiguration of CAMENA, 2001-2006
Below is a link to a paper that I wrote as a grad student in the summer of 2006. This paper was subsequently published in the special Geography and Terror issue of the journal Pennsylvania Geographer, and updates versions were presented at the 2007 conferences of the Association of American Geographers and International Conference on Military Geography and GeologyAt the time, although I was a strong supporter of the War on Terror in general, I believed that the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan only made sense if they were part of a greater plan to (a) physically contain Iran and (b) create a long term alliance structure throughout the Central Asia/Middle East/North Africa (CAMENA) region with the goal of ensuring global access to the vast gas and oil resources of the Strategic Energy Ellipse. Indeed, it was also my belief that this was the actual, if not publicly acknowledged, grand strategy under which the Bush Administration was working.
Soon after the publication of this paper, however, the Bush Administration, bowing to immense political pressure both domestically and abroad, began a concerted pull back from throughout the region, including a negotiated permanent withdrawal from Iraq. Now, without Iraq, I don’t think the Afghanistan project makes sense – al Qaeda was routed years ago and, though still a dangerous nuisance, hasn’t been a realistic strategic threat since the July 2005 attacks in London. A long term occupation of Afghanistan only made sense as part of much larger geostrategic effort throughout the region. Since that effort has now been abandoned by successive US administrations, there is no point in maintaining a large presence in Afghanistan. That said, I am posting this old paper here as a reminder of my original thoughts on the region, for anyone interested.