Homework 1

Homework 1
Since the end of World War Two (1939-1945), the Middle East region has been engulfed by major conflicts and wars in which millions of people were killed or displaced. Estimates of Iraqi casualties since 2003 range from hundreds of thousands to well over a million, while the United Nations estimates that in 2014 there were more than 13 million people displaced by wars in Iraq and Syria alone.
The list of conflicts and wars includes but is not limited to: (1) the Palestine-Israel conflict since the late 1940s, (2) the war in Afghanistan since the early 1980s, (3) the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s, (4) the war in Iraq since the early 1990s, (5) the war on terrorism since September 11, 2001, (6) the war in Libya since 2011, (7) the war in Syria since 2011, and (8) the war in Yemen since 2015. In many cases these wars and conflicts have caused a serious structural damage to the state, society, and infrastructure. This has weakened the ability of the state to contain its internal conflicts or control its external borders in a region marked by a high level of cultural integration.
These conflicts and wars have local (within a single country), regional (within the Middle East region), and global (worldwide) connections with a broader rivalry between two loose and sometimes undeclared international coalitions of states or geopolitical axes (defined in this course as Axis 1 and Axis 2). Rivalry between these two axes drives current issues in the news and steers US domestic and global policy. The current LEADING members of Axis 1 include the United States, the United Kingdom, France, the State of Israel, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia. The current LEADING members of Axis 2 include Russia, China, Iran, and Syria.
The current MAIN adversaries in the Middle East region are the United States and Israel (and their local/regional/global allies) versus Iran and Syria (and their local/regional/global allies). The top root cause of the struggle between the MAIN adversaries is mainly the Palestine-Israel conflict (for example, Israel considers Palestine the homeland of world Jewry, whereas Iran considers Palestine the homeland of the Palestinians and considers Israel an illegitimate state). In 1979 Egypt ended the state of war with Israel by signing a peace treaty and de facto joining Axis 1, whereas in 1979 Iran ended its alliance with Israel by turning over the Israeli embassy in Tehran to the Palestine Liberation Organization and de facto joining Axis 2.
With the above brief theoretical and historical background in mind, review carefully and thoughtfully the information provided in the 38 PowerPoint slides (84-122) of Topic 1, especially (1) the “Major Middle East Events of 1978-1979” (during which Egypt left Axis 2 and joined Axis 1, whereas Iran left Axis 1 and joined Axis 2, see slide 94) and (2) the written and/or videotaped statements made by (or about) US National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, US President Ronald Reagan, Iranian Leader Ayatollah Khomeini, US Secretary of State George Shultz, Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Soviet Jewish leaderAnatoly Sharansky, AlQaeda leader Osama bin Laden, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, US Evangelical Pastor John Hagee, former Israeli Mossad head Dagan, Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mufti Abdul Aziz al-Asheikh, Qatar-based Egyptian cleric Sheikh Youssef al-Qaradawi, former US Congressman Paul Findley, Saudi Prince Salman(who became king of Saudi Arabia in January 2015), Professors John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, US Secretary of State Colin Powell, Declassified DIA document, Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Admiral John Kirby, US Senator Rand Paul, and US Vice President Joseph Biden (you can do quick search for each name in the slides).
Based EXCUSIVELY on your critical thinking and your learning from the theoretical and historical background and from the 38 PowerPoint slides (84-122), write a CONCISE essay (250-350 words) in which (1) you provide a clear explanation of why the “Christian Zionists” in the United States, the “Jewish Movement” in the Soviet Union, and the “Muslim Mujahideen” in Afghanistan in the 1980s were all brought together and laser-focused on ONE common goal (to defeat the Soviet Union, which at the time bans the emigration of Soviet Jews to Palestine) and (2) you draw a clear comparison between the main actors, goals, and means of the war in Afghanistan in the 1980s and the war in Syria since 2011.
Please keep in mind that homework assignments are writing-to-think assignments which involve not just learning “what happened” but also UNDERSTANDING “why it happened?” and “who did it?” This means that the onus and focus should be put on the real actors rather than the actions itself or the reactions to the actions or the means used to achieve the actions. For example, in one of the assigned video clips about the Afghanistan war of the 1980s you should note that former Secretary of State Clinton tends to put the onus and focus on less known or mysterious government agencies or institutions such as “the CIA,” “Wahhabi Islam,” and “the ISI,” instead of simply putting the onus and focus straightforward on “the US government,” “the Saudi government,” and “the Pakistani government.” By the same token, the onus and focus should be put on governments that support governments that support ISIS instead of portraying ISIS or other similar organizations as real actors or real governments or some Frankenstein’s monsters (for example, read or watch how Vice President Biden blames US allies and then apologizes, slide 114).
Sources for homework assignments MUST be cited briefly (including the slide number) and ONLY between parentheses in the text so I can verify them quickly while grading and writing feedback. Each homework assignment in this course must be formatted as a Microsoft Word file and uploaded through the TurnItIn link (View/Complete) by the deadline. No other submission will be accepted