MES 322K • The US, Islam, and Terrorism
9:30 AM-11:00 AM
What was the impact of the anti-communist and pro-Islamic policy of the US in South Asia and the Middle East during the cold war? Did it contribute to international terrorism? We will try to understand the reasons for specific policies, the outcomes that were expected i.e. sturdy allies in the cold war, and the unexpected consequences i.e. global terrorism. We will first examine US policies towards Pakistan, Afghanistan, Egypt, Iran and Israel/Palestine during the cold war. For instance, during the cold war, US policy makers used Pakistan as a front-line state to wage a proxy war against the Soviets, who had invaded Afghanistan in 1979. The US policy of using the Pakistani military intelligence to arm and train radical Islamist mujahedin had far reaching consequences. We will analyze the links between nationalist struggles, Islam and the use of terror tactics. We will then examine the consequences of these policies, namely global terrorism, its goals, tactics and outcomes. We will also examine the issues (including security and democracy) arising from anti-terrorist and counter-terrorist strategies employed by the state (Bush Doctrine and Israeli policies). The course will give students an understanding of the distinctions between Islam as a religion and political Islam, between believers and fundamentalists, the political psychology of terrorism, and the links between US foreign policies and consequences.
Class participation and attendance: 10% Critical review (2pages): 10% Mid-term: 20% 2 papers (8-10 pages each): 60% One paper due before mid term, and the other due during the last week of class. Essay topics must be discussed with the professor at the beginning of the semester.