Like pirates of the past (particularly those of the 1st century BC and 18th century), global guerrillas operate from geographically dispersed locations. These locations are sanctuaries of convenience on a global scale. Examples include:
- Failed and collapsed states. GGs are able to establish mobile operations centers (Sudan and Afghanistan) and generate new sources of funding (opium in Afghanistan and oil "bunkering" in Nigeria) within these vacuums of authority.
- Zones of chaotic organic order. Negotiated relationships with tribesmen in Waziristan (Pakistan), have provided security, intelligence, and supplies for GG groups. In Fallujah (Iraq), GGs have used a collapse of state authority and the subsequent rise of organic Islamic order to provide cover for cells.
- The Internet. The size and structure of the Internet provides virtual sanctuary. The Internet provides the glue that links groups that operate within the ancient modes of organic order -- religious, tribal, etc. -- that form the backbone of the physical world sanctuary, with the modern world's operational environment. However, the Internet is more than merely a communications medium, it is a place of sanctuary in itself.
Global guerrillas do not require extensive logistical structures. Their units are small, fleet, and adaptable. Despite this, they are able to inflict extensive damage by leveraging the power of networks and markets. Most GG activity is accomplished within the confines of "controlled" areas (that's where the targets are), however, much of the long term planning and training occurs within temporary autonomous zones (TAZs) -- areas beyond the control of the global nation-state system. GGs can "manufacture" TAZ sanctuaries as needed from any location that exhibits a vacuum of global order. These places provide staging grounds for offensive operations in "controlled" areas. The elimination of TAZs will be a long-run problem for nation-states. Unfortunately, military solutions can work against progress by creating a TAZ where none existed before (example: Fallujah). Here are some ideas on how to approach the problem:
- Rapidly shifting locations. Entrepreneurial guerrillas are quick to take advantage of new opportunities for sanctuary when they arise. A partial solution is to avoid the creation of power vacuums via failed or collapsed states whenever possible (example: Iraq). A failed/collapsed state is worse than a rogue state. Economic and other non-military support structures need to be strengthened to prevent state failure.
- Locations that resist interdiction. Remote, hostile territory makes rapid response difficult. Nation-states require significant periods of time to work through the complexities (mostly political) necessary to neutralize these locations.
- Diversity. Again the theme of "strength through diversity" is apparent. There isn't any single formula for eliminating TAZs. Each location requires an unique effort.