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Since the end of the Second World War (1939-1945), the Middle East region has probably been in the news more than any other world region because it has been engulfed by major conflicts and wars in which millions of people were killed or displaced. For example, according to The World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report 2016, the top five highest concerns (mass involuntary migration, state collapse, interstate conflict, unemployment or underemployment, and governance failure) in the next 18 months, as nominated by 750 experts, are essentially blamed on current events in the Middle East region (see "What are the biggest threats in 2016?" The World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report 2016, https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/01/what-are-the-biggest-threats-in-2016/). Estimates of Iraqi casualties just since 2003 range from hundreds of thousands to well over a million (See "Iraq study estimates war-related deaths at 461,000," BBC, 10/16/2016, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-24547256; See also "Poll: Civilian death toll in Iraq may top 1 million," Los Angeles Times, 9/14/2007, http://rempost.blogspot.com/2007/09/poll-civilian-death-toll-in-iraq-may.html). The United Nations estimates that in 2014 there were more than 13 million people displaced by wars in Iraq and Syria alone (See "U.N. says 13.6 million displaced by wars in Iraq and Syria," Reuters, 11/12/2014, http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/11/12/us-syria-crisis-refugees-idUSKCN0IV16320141112). In 2015, more than one million migrants and refugees fleeing war and starvation arrived in Europe unleashing a European migration crisis which contributed to the British vote to quit the European Union on June 23, 2016 (See "Migrant crisis: One million enter Europe in 2015," BBC, 12/22/2015, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-35158769) and seems to have impacted presidential campaign rhetoric and discourse in the United States. On top of all of this more than 5 million Palestinian refugees continue to live in 58 UN registered Palestinian refugee camps in Palestine-Israel, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon for over 6 decades because they are denied the right to return to their homes in Palestine (See the Palestine refugees and refugee camps as mapped by the United Nations Relief and Work Agency, UNRWA: http://www.unrwa.org/userfiles/2011011352710.pdf).
The list of conflicts and wars includes but is not limited to: (1) the Palestine-Israel wars since 1948, (2) the wars in Afghanistan since 1979, (3) the Iran-Iraq war of 1980-1988, (4) the wars in Iraq since 1990, (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 caused a serious drain on public resources and caused lasting structural damages to the state, society, and infrastructure. They often create weak states, failing states, or even failed states which are unable to govern their entire space, unable to contain their internal conflicts, and unable to control their external borders in a region marked by a high level of cultural integration. Chaos, anarchy, and ungoverned spaces opened the door for non-state actors including armed groups and terrorists to take the law into their own hands and seek support from regional and international powers which are sometimes eager to escalate wars and spillover conflicts along the lines of their geopolitical alliances.
This is how 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) against 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 following 29 slides: (1) the "Four Major Middle East Events of 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 (slide 99), US President Ronald Reagan (slide 103), Iranian Leader Ayatollah Khomeini (slide 96), US Secretary of State George Shultz (slide 103), Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin (slide 101), former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (slide 100), Soviet Jewish leader Anatoly Sharansky(slide 104), AlQaeda leader Osama bin Laden (slide 104), Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu (slides 107, 127), Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon (slide 127), US Evangelical Pastor John Hagee (slide 107), former Israeli Mossad head Dagan (slide 112), Google (slide 112), Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mufti Abdul Aziz al-Asheikh(slide 112), Israeli RabbiOvadia Yosef (slide 112), Qatar-based Egyptian cleric Sheikh Youssef al-Qaradawi(slide 112), former US Congressman Paul Findley (slide 107), Saudi PrinceSalman--who became king of Saudi Arabia in January 2015--(slide 101), US Congressman Jim Moran and FormerUS Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney (slide 108), Professors John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt (slides 86, 101, 107, 110, 124), Chairman of US Defense Policy Board Richard Perle(slide 110) , US Secretary of State Colin Powell (slide 111), Declassified DIA document (slides 113-117, 119), Lawrence of Arabia (slide 121), US Senator Rand Paul (slide 114), President Barack Obama (slides 87, 114, 116, 117, 125), US Vice President Joseph Biden (slides 87, 115), Russian President Vladimir Putin (slide 122), Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump (slides 140-144), and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton (slides 140-144). You can do quick search for names or words in the slides in their 'normal' view.
Based EXCUSIVELY on your critical thinking and your learning from the theoretical and historical background and from the assigned PowerPoint slides, 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 because US-backed Israel had defeated the TWO main Arab Soviet allies in 1967: Egypt and Syria) and (2) you draw a clear comparison between the main actors, motives, 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 critical thinking 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 US Vice President Biden blames US allies for the rise of ISIS, and then apologizes, slide 114).
Sources for homework assignments MUST be cited briefly (including the author and slide number, for example: Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, slide 100) and ONLY between parentheses in the text so I can verify them quickly while grading and writing feedback. Write your name (NOT the name of the instructor) on the homework assignment. 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. Homework 1 is worth 10 points (10 percent of your final grade)