Denial of Sanctuary

Understanding Terrorist Safe Havens

by Michael A. Innes, editor


This is the first thorough examination of terrorist sanctuaries and denial of sanctuary operations after 9/11, challenging conventional interpretations of terrorist sanctuaries with their limited focus on the role of the host government (state sponsorship vs. state failure).

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June 2007


Pages 248
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Security Studies/Terrorism
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The war on terror's emphasis on denying sanctuary and safe havens to terrorists has placed a premium on physical territory, from mountain caves and frontier hideouts to the bordered world of modern states. Denial of Sanctuary highlights the limits of conventional thinking on the subject, and suggests new approaches to understanding this complex and misunderstood feature of modern conflict.

Critics of the war on terror have pointed to the futility of waging war on a tactic. Its emphasis on denying sanctuary and safe havens to terrorists, rooted primarily in traditional counterinsurgency theory and poorly conceptualized policy statements, has placed a premium on physical territory, from mountain caves and frontier hideouts to the bordered world of modern states. To fully understand sanctuaries is to uncover the problems and pitfalls of waging war on locations—exposing the secret lives of multiple hidden worlds, filled with extremists, criminals, soldiers, and spies, with the pious and the profane, with dangers that lie below the surface and in the margins. As this volume makes abundantly clear, such a murky underground is far more complex and varied than the conventional wisdom suggests.

Terrorists have hidden in plain sight in modern cities, used advanced communications technology to build virtual refuges, crafted militant enclaves out of the disarray of failed states, flocked to distinctly unsafe insurgent battlespaces, and generally challenged the protective limits of law, citizenship, and state. Denial of Sanctuary brings together top experts in the field to expand the debate; to explore the roots, causes and consequences of the problem; and to clarify our understanding of sanctuary in terrorist thought and practice.

Series Description

Praeger Security International

As the world gets "smaller" through technology and globalization, the security risks we face grow and multiply.

International security in the 21st century is not a topic that can be adequately addressed in nightly news soundbites or online articles intended to be relevant for 24 hours or less. Comprehending these complex issues requires insight from foreign policy specialists, diplomats, military officials, peace scholars, historians, and security experts—participants and observers on all sides of each conflict. This series provides the tools for understanding security issues in our uncertain, unstable world.

Written by subject experts and well-known researchers, the books in the Praeger Security International series give readers access to carefully considered and highly informed viewpoints on the critical security issues that threaten to destabilize our world. With titles authored by diplomats, first responders, economists, journalists, civil servants, military leaders and combatants, legal experts, psychologists, and other knowledgeable specialists, these books offer in-depth reflections, thorough analysis, and international perspectives that are unavailable in mass media. These titles represent an invaluable resource for students and researchers as well as anyone who seeks a deeper understanding of the complex issues that affect our lives and future.


  • Provides reliable, comprehensive information on all matters relating to security that is ideal for students, teachers, researchers, and professionals
  • Offers insightful commentaries written by a diverse group of scholars and experts who provide interdisciplinary treatments of newsworthy events and important historical occurrences
Table of Contents

Foreword by Michael F. Scheuer Preface 1. Cracks in the System: Sanctuary and Terrorism After 9/11 Michael A. Innes 2. Critical Reflections on Counter-Sanctuary Discourse Richard Jackson 3. Netwar, the Modern Geopolitical Imagination, and the Death of the Civilian Colin Flint 4. The Failure of al Qaeda Basing Projects from Afghanistan to Iraq Brian Glyn Williams 5. Constraints and Opportunities in Ungoverned Spaces: The Horn of Africa Kenneth J. Menkhaus 6. Iraq and the Edges of Terrorist Space Alice Hills 7. Terrorist Finance and the Criminal Underground Rohan Kumar Gunaratna and Arabinda Acharyna 8. Legal Sanctuaries and Predator Strikes in the War on Terror William C. Banks 9. Exploring the Role of Virtual Camps Jarret Brachman and James J.F. Forest 10. Hiding in Plain Sight in Londonistan Jeffrey M. Bale 11. From Sanctuaries to Protostates Vanda Felbab-Brown Notes Select Bibliography Index About the Editor and Contributors



"The author has gathered several of the world's top experts to explore the root causes and consequences associated with the use of sanctuaries by terrorists....essential reading for anyone seeking a better understanding of the role that sanctuaries and safe havens play in the strategy of the international terrorist."Parameters

"[D]emonstrates the shortcomings of proposals to attack terrorism at its source when there are so many ways of hiding: in the ungovernable interiors of failed states, in the obscurity of urban London, on the Internet."Foreign Affairs

"Innes presents 11 chapters that challenge conventional understandings of denying terrorists safe havens in the post-September 11th environment that are typically framed in strictly geographical terms. The collection is organized in such a manner as to address the following specific problem-sets of denying terrorists sanctuary: the political geography of sanctuary, the political discourse that has structured our understanding of it, al Qaeda and the state, terrorist exploitation of state failure, border security and urban warfare, transnational crime and terrorist finance, national security law, information warfare and virtual havens, diaspora issues, and problems of state-building and reconstruction."Reference & Research Book News


"Denial of Sanctuary is essential reading for anyone seeking a better understanding of the role of terrorist and insurgent safe havens."—William Rosenau, Ph.D, RAND Corporation Washington Office

"In an age where divisive rhetoric and personal opinion increasingly pass for knowledge and expertise on the nature of terrorism, Michael Innes has assembled what in years to come will be seen as the indispensable contribution to understanding terrorist sanctuary and its implications. In his carefully researched and thought-provoking collection we find terrorism analysis at its very best and essential reading for students, theorists, diplomats and policymakers alike. Simply excellent."—John Horgan, Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence, University of St. Andrews

"Denial of Sanctuary offers the first comprehensive glimpse into those cracks between and within states that provide safe refuge for terrorists. Innes takes the reader on a whirlwind tour of the liminal realm that has come to capture the attention of students of geopolitics, transnational violence and the modern state. From reflections on counter-sanctuary discourse to first-person reports from inside Afghani military prisons, this volume challenges our preconceptions of terrorist sanctuaries and offers cutting-edge analyses of their military, legal, financial and virtual implications."—Ron E. Hassner, Assistant professor of political science, UC Berkeley

Other Titles of Interest

Preparing for the Worst cover imageThe Terrorist Conjunction cover imageThe Path to Paradise cover image
The New Terrorism cover imageIntelligence and Human Rights in the Era of Global Terrorism cover imageThe Fight for Legitimacy cover image

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