From so-called deterritorialized terrorist organizations such as al-Qaeda to U.S.-led overthrows of existing regimes in the Middle East, the relationship between territory and sovereignty is under siege. Unfolding an updated understanding of the concept of territory, Stuart Elden shows how the contemporary “war on terror” is part of a widespread challenge to the connection between the state and its territory.
By his focus on how territory animates world politics, Stuart Elden demonstrates how far we are from the borderless world of popular fantasy. More specifically, in this deftly argued and richly emprical book, he shows how, in responding to 9/11 as an act of war, the US government, through its association of al Qaeda with the Afghan Taliban and in its pre-emptive invasion of Iraq, directly undermined the very territorial integrity norm that the terror of 9/11 was held to have violated. In this way, ‘terror’ sheds light on the continuing political importance of territory.