Congressional Briefing - December 7, 2007

Ungoverned Territories: Incubators of Terrorism

Cosponsored by RAND and Security for a New Century

ungoverned territories


Angel Rabasa


Friday, December 7, 2007


10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.


S-120 (U.S. Capitol, Senate side)
Washington, D.C.

About the Program

Ungoverned territories—failed or failing states, or ungoverned areas within otherwise strong states—pose various risks to international peace and U.S. national security. In the RAND monograph “Ungoverned Territories: Understanding and Reducing Terrorism Risks,” RAND Senior Policy Analyst Angel Rabasa analyzes the conditions that give rise to ungoverned territories and generate terrorist safe havens. He also presents strategies for the U.S. government to mitigate the threat, especially the problem of terrorists operating from or within these areas. The complete report and a “research brief” describing the findings are available at

Rabasa's briefing will summarize the study's findings and recommendations, and will specifically examine three case studies from the RAND report:

  • The Pakistani-Afghan border region
  • The Horn of Africa region, and
  • The Sulawesi-Mindanao arc

About the Speaker

Angel M. Rabasa

Dr. Angel M. Rabasa, Senior Policy Analyst at the RAND Corporation, has written extensively about Islamic extremism, terrorism and insurgency. He is the project leader and principal author of the RAND reports Beyond al-Qaeda, Part 1: The Global Jihadist Movement and Part 2: The Outer Rings of the Terrorist Universe (2006); Building Moderate Muslim Networks (2007); and Ungoverned Territories: Understanding and Reducing Terrorism Threats (2007). He is currently working on projects that examine Islamist trends in Turkey and East Africa and Islamist militancy in Southeast Asia. Dr. Rabasa has a B.A. and Ph.D. in history from Harvard University and was a Knox Fellow at St. Antony's College, Oxford University. Before joining RAND, Dr. Rabasa served in the U.S. Departments of State and Defense.

Ungoverned Territories

Understanding and Reducing Terrorism Risks

Ungoverned Territories

By: Angel Rabasa, Steven Boraz, Peter Chalk, Kim Cragin, Theodore W. Karasik, Jennifer D. P. Moroney, Kevin A. O'Brien, John E. Peters

Ungoverned territories — failed or failing states or ungoverned areas within otherwise viable states — generate all manner of security problems and can become terrorist sanctuaries. Using a two-tiered framework areas applied to eight case studies from around the globe, the authors seek to understand the conditions that give rise to ungoverned territories and what makes some ungoverned territories more conducive to a terrorist or insurgent presence than others. On the basis of this ground-breaking analytical work, they identify three types of ungoverned territories and their effects on U.S. security interests and develop strategies to improve the U.S. ability to mitigate these effects.

Order the Book

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Further Inquiries

For further information about this event, contact the Office of Congressional Relations at or call (703) 413-1100 x5395.