Tribalism and the Future of Conflict
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"Human Terrain Mapping (HTM) presents an increasingly accepted solution for achieving victory in the Long War, enhancing security in regions deemed to be largely ungoverned or where state failure and regime collapse have left a political and security vacuum. Using HTM, warfighters as well as stabilization and reconstruction (S&R) teams are able to develop detailed, highly granular cultural knowledge to help focus the application of force and to customize S&R efforts in many parts of the world. Interestingly, the most sparsely inhabited regions, whether barren desert, arctic tundra, high alpine, or lush tropical forest zones, are seldom truly ungoverned, but are in fact governed by sub-state structures that often lack formal sovereignty but which exert tremendous authority at the local and regional level. Many of these so-called 'ungoverned territories' of concern to counterterrorism experts are in fact zones of tribal governance, populated by tribal remnants from the pre-modern world that continue to inhabit these isolated regions where the modern state has never fully penetrated, reflecting a continued underlying tribal topology of the world's frontier regions."
This article was published in Culture and Conflict Review (Summer 2008), v.2 no.3