3:10 PM ‚Äď 4:50 PM

9/14, 9/28, 10/5, 10/12, 10/19, 10/26, 11/2, 11/9

Jihad is an Arabic term meaning ‚Äústruggle.‚ÄĚ For a Muslim, that struggle is of an internal nature; an effort by which the individual attempts to rid oneself of those impediments which compromise their becoming one with their religion.¬† Waging that struggle justifies the essence of Islam, which means surrender to God, upon which a Muslim embarks on that lifelong struggle as a member of the faithful.¬† However, the popular notion of Jihad held by many non-believers is that of Holy War and that is the essence of this course: to peel away the confusion, misconceptions and propagandistic perversions hampering a proper conception of not only what is construed as the Jihadi movement but, hopefully, fostering at the same time a better understanding of one of the globe‚Äôs most fascinating yet misunderstood religions.

This course is offered on two different days. Participants may register for only one section: 

Section 1: 8 sessions starting Thursday, Sept. 14 at 3:10 PM 
Section 2: 8 sessions starting Saturday, Sept. 16 at 9:10 AM

Flag of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, photo credit: Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=585902


Syllabus: Jihad! 
Mark Albertson, 

Week 1:  Sunni-Shia Split:

In 570 was born a man who would forever alter the face of the globe . . . Muhammad ibn Abdallah, AKA the one true Prophet, Muhammad.  This session will explore his organization of a movement that has come to be known as Islam.  In so doing, he charted the course for the expansion of a vast empire, one that would see to the massive conversion of peoples until finally, today, Islam boasts more than a billion adherents.  With his death, though, in 632, the seeds were planted for a discord among the Faithful which afflicts their beloved religion to the present day, the Sunni-Shia split.  

Week 2:  The Theorists:

Ahmad ibn Taymiyyah, Muhammad ibn Ab al-Wahhab, Haj Amin al-Husseini (the infamous Grand mufti of Jerusalem); Sayyid Qutb, theoretician of consequence; Hassan al-Banna, co-founder of the Muslim Brotherhood . . . this session will spotlight those practitioners of a conservative approach to the religion which will help set the stage for the likes of Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama bin-Laden, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. . .   

 Week 3:  Arab Nationalism, Arab Socialism:

In 1798, a French Revolutionary Army invaded Egypt and the Levant.¬† Brought forth were the ideas unleashed by the French Revolution‚ÄĒLiberalism, Democracy, Republicanism, Secularism, Socialism, Nationalism, Parliamentarianism . . . as the Ottoman Empire continued its precipitous decline, these ideas from a tumultuous Europe would generate a following, competing against those who prefer to purge Islam of its Ottoman image and create an Arab world based on the teachings of Muhammad.¬† Session will include briefs on Republicanism, Socialism, Marxism, Fascism, Syndicalism, as well as a breakdown of the Ba‚Äôath Party.

 Week 4:  1979, Year of Consequence:

For Sunni Muslims, threats both sectarian and secular marked the year 1979.  In Afghanistan, Moscow continued its efforts to establish a satrap of Socialist Orientation in Kabul; while in Iran, the Shah Muhammad Reza Pahlavi fell from power in the Iranian Revolution.  Taking power in Tehran was the Shia regime of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.  Both posed threats of the first order to Sunni primacy in the Islamic world.  Pan-Arabism, that secular movement which owed its origins to the French Revolution was giving way to the emerging Pan-Islamic Movement.  The seeds for the post-Soviet conflict in Central Asia, Middle East and Africa were sown here.

 Week 5:  The Bear Went Over the Mountain:

December 1979, the Soviet Army steamrolls into Afghanistan:¬† The Mujahidin (Soldiers of God); essence of resistance‚ÄĒtribal, clannish, ethnic and religious disparities; influx of Muslim fighters from around the Islamic world; U.S. assistance and support for Jihadis.¬† Defeat of the Soviets, helped to spur the Pan-Islamic movement.¬† Analysis of the Jihadi movement and the collapse of the Soviet monolith.

Week 6:  Armies of the Uprooted and Disinherited:

The Taliban; al-Queda; Chechen Jihadis . . . such groups will be examined in a world changed by the demise of the Soviet Union; a world confronting the remaining superpower, the United States, as it attempts to continue to forge Pax Americana.  Reference will be made to Roger Trinquier, a French soldier who saw combat in North Vietnam and Algeria, and his 1962 study at the Army Command and General Staff College, that modern war for the foreseeable future will see developed nations taking on guerrillas and terrorists; who in the post-1945 world, are the new and modern soldiers.

Week 7:  Islamic State:

From its founding in 2006, an examination of this organization from a so-called terrorist group to a governing entity.  Analysis will be forthcoming comparing the Islamic State to the Damascus Protocol of 1914, a blueprint for an Arab State based off the carcass of the Ottoman Empire.

Week 8:  Jihad!

The evolving Pan-Islamic Movement takes the fight to Western interests in the Near East, spurred on by the American invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq; Western actions against Libya; civil war in Syria.  Sunni opposition to Iran (Persia) and growing Shia political power.  The staying power of al-Queda.  Jubhat al-Nusra.  Islamic State.  And . . . the threat posed to the Western induced border settlement from World War I and the quest to dominate the region’s massive energy potential.

Facilitator: Mark Albertson

Mark Albertson is the research editor at Army Aviation magazine. He is an avid speaker who travels Connecticut lecturing on a variety of historical topics and current events. He has authored several books, one of which is They’ll Have to Follow You! The Triumph of the Great White Fleet