Using the materials provided for you in this course, write an analytical essay 6 to 8 pages in length that answers the question below.  The regular norms of essay writing apply.  You are not required to do outside research for this assignment, but can if you think it will augment your work.  Use only academic resources or those with reasonable credibility (e.g., a known think tank, gov’t site, etc.)


The Question

What is the past, current state, and likely future of the global war on terrorism?  That is, what were the origins of this conflict, where do we stand now, and under what conditions, when, how, and why is it likely to end?

Citation Style

For footnotes and bibliography, use the Chicago Style. A general rule of thumb is an average of 2-3 footnotes per page.  The number of sources for your bibliography will be determined by how narrowly or broadly you construct your argument, but you should use at least five primary sources and five secondary sources.


This assignment is worth 30 points.  You will be evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Quality of your writing (including clarity, organization, citation style and presentation)
  • Quality of the thesis and central argument
  • Clarity of your historical understanding of the GWOT
  • Efficacy of your analytical arguments
  • Efficacy of your source use
  • Originality and creativity of your approach

Texts to Choose From

MW = Messages to the World: The Statements of Osama Bin Laden

LT = The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11

CR = The 9/11 Commission Report with Related Documents

BW = Bush at War

JB = Jawbreaker: The Attack on Bin Laden and Al Qaeda

DE = Deadly Embrace: Pakistan, America, and the Future of the Global Jihad

ST = Seeds of Terror: Al-Qaeda’s Newest Center of Operations in Southeast Asia

LR = The Last Refuge: Yemen, Al-Qaeda, and America’s War in Arabia

AQE = Al Qaeda in Europe: The New Battleground of International Jihad

RFAQ = The Rise and Fall of Al-Qaeda

IS = Islamic State: A Brief Introduction

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