751 No-Go-Zones in France: The Gap Societies

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Zones Urbaines Sensibles
A “Zones Urbaines Sensibles” (No-Go-Zone) in Nice, France (PDF)

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Via Thomas Barnett, Daniel Pipes discusses the 751 Zones Urbaines Sensibes (Sensitive Urban zones) demarcated by the French Government, which are “are conveniently listed on one long webpage, complete with street demarcations and map delineations.”

Daniel goes on to state:

What are they? Those places in France that the French state does not control. They range from two zones in the medieval town of Carcassone to twelve in the heavily Muslim town of Marseilles, with hardly a town in France lacking in its ZUS. The ZUS came into existence in late 1996 and according to a 2004 estimate, nearly 5 million people live in them.”

Daniel declares that a more apt description for ZUS would be “Dar al-Islam, the place where Muslims rule”, but I feel that’s more of a provocative statement than an accurate one. A more appropriate description for ZUS would be “Gap Societies”.

In early 2005, I wrote a paper title “In the Midst of the Swarm: Reconceptualizing the (Mislabeled) Global War on Terrorism“, which called for a new framework of focus on the GWOT (Global War on Terrorism), looking to take account the swarm-like phenomena covered by John Robb and a social-level interpretation of Thomas Barnett’s Core v. Gap States.

One aspect of the paper defined “Gap Societies” in areas in Europe like ZUS:

Organizations like Al-Qaeda to Hizb ut-Tahrir are not just “terrorist groups” or “Islamist extremist,” but groups that represent a worldwide social movement that transcend nation-states, Core or Gap states or civilization blocks. Thus, there is a need to focus on different social groups inside Core and Gap states that are disconnected from the larger society and how they related to other states and societies globally.

…Borrowing again from Barnett, one may call these alienated segment of the European Muslim diasporas as being “Gap” societies, which are not fully integrated to where the live as locally to the state and globally to the world. In short, a particular segment of Muslims living in “Gap” societies – be it within the Core or Gap states – are the foundation for the militant Islamist social movement.

These Zones Urbaines Sensibes (Sensitive Urban Zones) sound very much like “Gap Societies” that exist outside the fabric of French society, economy and law, while being physically inside France. Just as the United States and other states must take a lead in helping closing the Gap States where they remain, governments must act to close the gaps (connect “Gap Societies”) that exist within their states. This is the best path to succeed in the Long War.

3 comments

  1. […] StrategyUnit outlines the melting French map: These Zones Urbaines Sensibes (Sensitive Urban Zones) sound very much like “Gap Societies” that exist outside the fabric of French society, economy and law, while being physically inside France. Just as the United States and other states must take a lead in helping closing the Gap States where they remain, governments must act to close the gaps (connect “Gap Societies”) that exist within their states. This is the best path to succeed in the Long War. […]

  2. Tom around the web…

    Ok, this weblog mess has got me really behind. So, for all of the links I have stored up, I’m just going to list the weblog linked to the post that links to Tom. But, had you noticed I turned……