CounterVortex World Regions

The world regions used by CounterVortex conform loosely to the UN Statistical Regions and Pentagon combat commands, but with some significant differences. Unlike those of the UN and Pentagon, our regions do not always conform to national borders, but represent cultural and ecological spheres. A few clarifications on our categories:

We use the term Greater Middle East only to mean the broader region beyond the countries that we focus on individually: Iraq, Syria, Iran and Palestine. We by no means intend to imply the special sense of the term used by the neoconservatives.

We also designate Afghanistan separately, sidestepping any debates about whether it belongs to the Greater Middle East, South Asia or Central Asia.

North Africa generally refers to Libya, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco, including the disputed Western Sahara. We include the entire Sahara, incorporating the northern areas of Mauritania, Mali, Niger and Chad.

Our¬†Africa¬†region means Black Africa‚ÄĒthose parts of the continent not in the Arab-Berber¬†areas of the North. We avoid the term “sub-Saharan Africa,”¬†which many on the continent consider¬†racist and outdated.

We similarly designate the Caucasus separately from the rest of Europe.

Central Asia, by its narrowest definition, means the post-Soviet republics of¬†Kazakhstan,¬†Kyrgyzstan,¬†Tajikistan,¬†Turkmenistan¬†and¬†Uzbekistan. We also include¬†Xinjiang¬†(East Turkestan),¬†Tibet¬†and Inner (Southern)¬†Mongolia, which are under¬†China‘s rule, the independent state of¬†Mongolia,¬†and much of¬†Russia‘s¬†Siberia¬†region.

We designate Mexico as a distinct entity, sidestepping the debate about whether it properly belongs to North America or Mesoamerica.

The five republics of Central America are, strictly speaking, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Costa Rica. Following popular parlance, we also include Panama and Belize.

We include Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana in the Caribbean.

Our conception of the¬†Andes¬†includes those areas of¬†Bolivia,¬†Peru,¬†Ecuador,¬†Colombia¬†and¬†Venezuela¬†not in the¬†Amazon Basin‚ÄĒdespite the fact that only a small area of Venezuela actually lies within the Andean range. Chile¬†and¬†Argentina¬†are also Andean countries, but we designate them as part of the¬†Southern Cone.

On our map, the Arctic and Antarctic represent the Planet Watch section, for stories dealing not only with these antipodal regions but the planetary biosphere as a whole.

We offer these explanations in recognition of the reality that any such system of designation must be oversimplified. All such regions have fuzzy and overlapping borders. For instance, a story dealing with¬†Taiwan‘s¬†Austronesian indigenous peoples¬†may be placed under¬†Oceania¬†rather than¬†East Asia. A story dealing with the¬†independence movement¬†in¬†Indonesia‘s¬†region of¬†West Papua¬†may similarly be placed under Oceania rather than¬†Southeast Asia. A story dealing with¬†Venezuela’s border dispute with Guyana¬†will be placed under the Caribbean rather than Andes.¬†Et cetera.