University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown
Pitt-Johnstown Seal

Fall - Winter 2006

Radical Islam's Periphery: Bosnia & Herzegovina's Extremist Threat

Steven Oluic
United States Military Academy

In October 2005 President Bush spoke to the issue of the global radical Islamic threat at an address to the National Endowment for Democracy. For the first time Mr. Bush warned that one of Islamism's goals is a trans-national Muslim theocracy, technically a Caliphate - "a radical Islamic empire that spans from Spain to Indonesia" (Mayer and Rabinowitz 2005). Bosnia and Herzegovina is located at the periphery of this Caliphate and where a legitimate extremist militant and ideological Islamic threat does exist. Although the International Community's attention is focused elsewhere as the US and its allies struggle in the Global War on Terrorism, the Balkans and Bosnia in particular, with its historical linkage to Islam and recent radical Islamic activity merits closer scrutiny. This paper investigates how radical Islam developed in Bosnia and considers if there is a tangible threat.

Families, Geography, and Terrorism in the Post-9/11 City: An Exploration of Place Alienation in New York

Kevin Keenan
Clark University

A feminist lens is used to reorient the scale of analysis in urban geography and terrorism studies to the micro-geographies of everyday, urban lives. Interviews, multiple case studies, and explanation building about the cases are used to explore three theoretical propositions regarding how urban families experience place alienation from terrorism. The explanations derived from the cases corroborate the theoretical propositions: (1) perceptions of place alienation are heightened by the existence of strong caring bonds (e.g. parental concerns for children or other care-dependent relatives) in urban environments, but (2) are mediated by institutional / cultural influences as well as stage in the family-course and (3) proximity to the heart of the urban center (which is likely to be the target of terrorism).

The Abode of War? The Relationship Between Terrorism and Islam

Roger C. Sambrook and Steven M. Radil
University of Colorado at Colorado Springs

In recent years, many claims have been made linking Islam to violence, and specifically terrorism. Many of these claims have been made on the basis of high profile events such as 9/11. This paper investigates the claim that Islam is one of the major root causes of terrorism using both quantitative and qualitative geographic methods, testing for differences in terrorism events between countries with differing proportions of Muslim populations. The results show no significant differences in the number of terrorism events between countries with high and low Muslim populations, nor any correlation between numbers of Muslims and terrorism events. It does identify significant "outliers" in the data such as Palestine and Iraq, which are a major factor in the "Muslim hypothesis". This geographic approach helps contextualize and explain these outliers, which can easily distort both quantitative analyses, and public perceptions of the relationship between terrorism and Islam.

A Geographical Analysis of Un-Governed Spaces

Francis A. Galgano
United States Military Academy

Ungoverned or weakly governed spaces merit more attention and study because they are being exploited by violent non-state actors, and across the security landscape, the problem of ungoverned spaces is growing. Ungoverned spaces are areas outside of effective or viable government control and thus, can be affected severely by humanitarian disasters and ethnic conflict. Furthermore, terrorist groups, narco-traffickers, criminal organizations, or other violent transnational actors can use them as sanctuaries to train, plan, and organize, largely without fear of government interference. Presently, there are a number of areas around the world that fall into this category, including the western provinces in Pakistan, portions of Lebanon and Yemen, the southern Philippines, Indonesian islands, Chechnya, rural areas in Myanmar, and large areas of Africa and South America. Since the end of the Cold War, the number of failed or failing states has increased. Out of 90-plus failing states identified by the World Bank, violent non-state actors are located in remote parts of more than 20 countries. Many of these states are former Cold War surrogates with large stockpiles of weapons and a failing security apparatus. This paper examines traditional and evolving un-governed spaces and proposes a classification system, which may permit a systematic approach to dealing effectively- humanitarian to military-with those regions.

Progress in the Long War: Reconfigurations in the Politico-Military Map of the Greater Middle East, 2001 to 2006

Timothy S. Ryan
California State University, Northridge

This paper examines American progress in The Long War on terror from a politico-military perspective along two axes. On the first axis, the number and location of terror-supporting states and terror-fighting states in the Central Asia/Middle East/North Africa (CAMENA) region in the summer of 2001 are noted and plotted, then compared with the numbers and locations of such states in the summer of 2006. On the second axis, the number and location of states that housed or allowed access to US military forces in the summer of 2001 are compared to the number and location of such states in the winter of 2005/2006. Comparison of the maps of these two measures indicates that real progress has been made in the Long War. However, the interpretation of the real extent and ultimate importance of these gains is essentially a political matter.

The Ethnic Fan Club: Jewish Influence on Us Foreign Policy, and the Geography of Terrorism

Mark A. Blumler
Binghamton University

"Terrorism" today focuses around Israel, and US support for Israel. Nations act in their perceived self-interest, but America's pro-Israel policy has never been in its self-interest. Rather, it developed as a result of complicated interactions between the Israel Lobby, influential American Jews not associated with the Lobby, and the American public policy discourse. One result has been mismapping of the geography of terrorism, especially as it pertains to the US. Were the US to adopt a neutral stance on Israel and Palestine, the geography of terrorism would change and the threat to the US would diminish. However, this is unlikely to happen unless American Jews change their thinking regarding Israel. Historical contingency has placed American Jews in a position to control the discourses about the Middle East and terrorism, skewing (often unwittingly) US policy in directions that may benefit Israel but not the US.

The Geographic Nature of Terrorism

John C. Rock
University at Buffalo

Typically, one might think that a set of all geographic entities in the world-a geographic ontology-would include things such as mountains, rivers, and streams, or perhaps cities, buildings and more abstract things like nations and their boundaries. It is reasonable to believe that no one would consider terrorism to be a part of such ontology, but in this paper I will argue that this reluctance stems from a mistake in the understandings of both terrorism and geographic entities. It is my hope that with some introspection we can begin to see how the two coincide in reality in such a manner as to be inseparable from one another. And thus, since a good ontology does nothing more than catalog what exists in reality, a geographic ontology should catalog terrorism as a spatial entity, though one of a peculiar and special sort at the limits of what could properly be called "geographic".

Assessing Social and Physical Vulnerability to a Terrorist Attack: A Case Study in Norfolk, Virginia

Nicole Conklin
City of Binghamton
Mark E. Reisinger
Binghamton University

Throughout the urban landscape there are several areas that can be vulnerable to a terrorist attack. Finding these vulnerable areas across the urban landscape is key to protecting city space. Researchers tend to focus their efforts on large cities such as New York or Washington, DC. However, smaller cities need to be prepared for a potential terrorist attack. We use Norfolk, VA as our study area for this research. Norfolk is a mid-sized city that contains several potential terrorist targets. We develop a model, based on previous hazards research, to identify areas of the City that are vulnerable to a terrorist attack. Included in the model are physical and social variables including critical infrastructure, demographics, and symbolic targets. With the framework presented in this paper, planners and other local officials will be able to identify the most vulnerable areas of the city and develop mitigation strategies.

Johnstown, Pennsylvania - The Locust Street Gas Incident: A Case Study in Practical Gis Application for Emergency Services

Joseph Matthew Sernell
City of Johnstown, Pennsylvania

In today's uncertain world, a world filled with dangers like terrorist attacks and natural disasters, the First Responder sits on the front line of any recovery effort. Now, the benefits of a strategically developed GIS system can be directly linked to responders in the field from an Emergency Operations Center using off the shelf equipment and a limited budget. Combining the power of GIS and cutting edge communication equipment allows information to aid in response effort like never before, as this case study details.




Last Reviewed: March 7, 2007