The more I think about it, the more it makes sense to think of politically hyperreal spatial inversions in terms of index cases. I’m not entirely comfortable with contagion arguments, but for the sake of this argument, let’s say there’s a contagion logic to terrorist sanctuaries. If it holds, then it makes sense to try to identify “location zero”, the index case, and see what we can learn from there.
The knee jerk response, of course, is that it was Afghanistan. But it wasn’t, at least not for the core group of foreign fighters who moved to Afghanistan (as opposed to Afghanistan’s native tribal and ethnic resistance fighters). Before AQ became trans-nationalist, its lead actors were extremists in their home states (not sure I can refer to them as nationalists, per se, although others have). So, if we’re looking at contagion as having a nationalist (alright, I concede, at least as an expedient referent this one time only) to transnationalist trajectory, then those original states (Egypt, Yemen/Saudi, Algeria, etc.) would be Index Cases. Or would Afghanistan still be the Index Case, for drawing them in? Makes a certain kind of sense, especially if I’m going to stick to the spatial inversion tag, although the history on this is deeper and thicker. The Index Case, at least in historical terms, has to be rooted in earlier pan-Islamic and poco developments.
That’s territory. What about ideological “contagion” (really not comfortable with it now, but I’ll let it ride, at least for this blurb)? The ideological roots have been explored plenty… actually, fire up the argumentation into enough tangents, and it feels like identifying Index Cases is just another way of identifying root causes. Or root locations, if the two are separable. Maybe root space. Will have to step back and think about the zero trope for while and come back to it when I’ve made more sense of it.