Chapters: Roskin Chapters on Persian Gulf and Asymmetrical Conflict (Chapters 9 and 14)

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Book Chapters: Roskin Chapters on Persian Gulf and Asymmetrical Conflict (Chapters 9 and 14)
Film: THREE KINGS (Director: David Russell) (note: View on your own).
Lectures: Beatty

Your task is a big one (and because of its enormity it is worth 15% of your grade):

To make sense of ISIS and the situation in Syria. To do so you’ll have to use many skills. You’ll have to read all the materials, then you’ll have to think, and sift, and think, and analyze, and think and sift some more. What fits where? What’s important to know? What is important that was not known? What arguments are being made? How valid are they? Every one of your sources is making some form of an argument.

What, exactly are the questions you’ll answer in your essay? The back of the Hall book gives us a great point of reference. It says the basic questions are, “Who are they? Where did they come from? How are they successful so quickly? How can they be stopped?

In your essay you’ll want to make an argument or more than one argument yourself from the very beginning, and then you’ll want to use all your sources to analyze and buttress that argument or arguments.
More than anything, you should go into depth when you’re discussing your arguments and the authors’ arguments. You will also want to tell me where the film “Three Kings” fits in with this assignment. What is Russell’s argument regarding how the US intervenes (and has intervened) in Iraq and how might that have led to the rise or success of ISIS?

You will need to explicitly cite your sources in a manner that indicates to me that you have read and comprehended the authors’ points and arguments as well as watched the film and understand the points coming out of them.

I would strongly recommend that Hall is quoted and used often in your essay, along with the Roskin book and the Three Kings film.

Also, don’t assume a level of knowledge from me. You will need to lay down the basic facts, so I do want dates and explanations of terms, doctrines, events, etc. Pretend I’m an idiot!

Have something to say and lots of evidence to back it up. And while you’re doing so demonstrate to me the facts of the ISIS’ rise and the key things to understand.

Many students ask me, what exactly is the essay question I’m supposed to answer? Well, coming up with the questions is part of this assignment! Here’s how this works: I’m giving you a specific set of sources. I expect you to read and view all of them, and then think about what the authors/directors are presenting, and then come up with what then, to you, are the key questions pertaining to ISIS. Then write your essay answering those questions with analytical depth and citing what your sources are saying, and doing so in a way that shows me the thought process you went through and that you read the material.

Note: In your essay don’t use the word “I” and don’t give the impression you are giving any sort of opinion. You are a scholar analyzing the situation, not some goofus offering up your opinion. Don’t need to go to university to do that! Also, never, ever, ever say “Only time will tell.” It’s one of the dumbest things any educated person can say. What will happen over time is dependent on variables and many factors, so explain what those factors are rather than taking an “out.”

You may bring an outline of your essay to the class. This outline can contain topic headings, names, dates, etc. to help you write faster. You may also bring the books and articles in case you’d like to use quotes from them and to cite page numbers. If you prefer writing on a computer you may do so, but obviously you cannot write up your essay beforehand and bring it in!

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