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CFR and 'Ungoverned Spaces'

Earlier this week, the CFR’s Stewart Patrick analyzed ungoverned spaces (such as tribal regions in Yemen or Pakistan) and whether these areas pose a threat to international security. Given the difficult relationship between the Yemeni government and tribal authorities outside of metropolitan areas (loosely similar to the problem faced by Pakistan’s government), this article is a helpful read in assessing the relationship between weak rule of law and the relative strength of terrorist organizations.

In the past, scholars have noted that gaps in the rule of law (whether geographical or political) have allowed extremist organizations such as the Taliban to function as a sort of parallel government. For more on this discussion, and related Pentagon and White House assessments, go to


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