Papers must be typed, double-spaced, no less than 2, no longer than 3 pages in length, with reasonable fonts (10-12 point) and margins (1 inch). The purpose of page limits is to ensure that all students have the same amount of space with which to develop their thoughts; you can think of the page limit as being similar to a time limit on an in-class exam. If you choose to write a shorter paper, that is certainly your right; however, I must ensure that all papers are held to the same standard of length for reasons of consistency. Therefore, please be careful that you do not exceed the limit; the absolute maximum limit for a paper is 1200 words.

Your readings for this paper topic consist of Law, Wright, and especially Joby Warrick’s Black Flags. While the book serves as a history of the insurgent group ISIS up to about 2010-2011, it focuses primarily on the person of abu Musab al Zarqawi, who led the Iraqi chapter of Al Qaeda from the American-led invasion of 2003 to his death in 2006. To most observers, the Iraqi chapter seemed to be very much under the control of al Qaeda’s senior leadership, especially Osama bin Laden, during this time—however, just a few years later the two groups split and became bitter rivals. Why was this? What differences already existed between the Iraqi chapter of al Qaeda and al Qaeda’s central command in 2004-2006 that led the two groups to split by 2014? To develop this question, you should contrast the origins of al Qaeda as discussed in Wright, Law, and the PowerPoint, with Zarqawi and his influence on the Iraqi chapter, as discussed by Warrick. Zarqawi was very different from Osama bin Laden and Ayman al Zawahiri in personality, background, and ideology. How did these leadership differences influence the evolution of jihadism after 9/11? At the same time, go beyond Zarqawi—after all, the Iraqi franchise did not officially split with al Qaeda until years after his death. How did the experience of war, occupation, and civil war affect the evolution and radicalization of the Iraqi franchise? How did it affect the ideology of the Iraqi franchise and its understanding of the possibility of Islamic revolution? Again, briefly contrast these ideas with the ideas of al Qaeda’s central command. What do these differences suggest about the overall nature of global jihad in the decades after the 9/11 attacks?


Joby Warrick, Black Flags (Required) BOOK



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