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Literature & Language
Research Paper
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ISIS And Its Role In Terrorism: Origins (Research Paper Sample)


The research paper must be five to eight pages in length of quality written work. Students will use the MLA style documentation to cite their sources. Encyclopedias and Wikipedia are not permitted as sources. One of the sources must be a primary source (see handouts for definition). Students must consult a minimum of six to eight sources and cite from a minimum of six sources. Fifty percent of the sources may be online sources; a wide variety of sources will help to ensure the strength of the students' research, and the conclusions they draw based upon that research. For each online source used, students must complete an “Online Source Validity Checklist.”
Within the paper itself, students must paraphrase, summarize, and directly quote sources (see definition). Time will be given in class to review MLA citation methods. For questions regarding “to cite, or not to cite,” refer to the handouts. Careful attention to citation methods on the part of students will ensure the integrity of each paper.
Academic integrity will be studied further through the use of “” and this web site allows for students to submit papers and receive an Originality Report.” The report will provide students with a side-by-side comparison of their paper with the original sources. This will enable the students to evaluate the accuracy of their citations and avoid any unintentional plagiarism. The originality is a requirement of the project.


ISIS and its Role in Terrorism
Over the years, ISIS has operated under several names. These include the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham and the Islamic State (IS). It is arguably the most savage and brutal terrorist groups in control of vast regions in the Middle East. The group is responsible for numerous murders, including live beheadings, and terrorist actions all over the world. They have also destroyed numerous buildings, notably temples and monuments.
ISIS Origins
The origins of ISIS can be traced back to the year 2004. It was formed as a splinter group of another infamous terrorist group, al Qaeda (CNN, p.1). It was founded by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a former member of the Osama bin Laden's controlled group. Consequently, it is commonly believed that ISIS was formed at the same time as al Qaeda. Following the death of Musab al-Zarqawi in an airstrike, Abu Ayyub al-Masri took over as the new head of the group in 2006. Masri died three years later and was succeeded by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, its current leader.
Baghdadi, who was previously detained by the United States in Camp Bucca and released in 2004 (CNN, p. 1), rebuilt ISIS to its current form through mergers with other terrorist groups and rebel military forces. Of significant note is the merger of ISIS's military forces in Syria with those in Iraq resulting in the inception of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant in 2013. The merger was rejected by the leadership of al-Qaeda and al-Nusra leading to a split. However, the split worked in favor of ISIS and the group continued its terrorist attacks in the Middle East.
ISIS Agenda
One of the most common questions asked with regards to ISIS is ‘what does ISIS want?' In 2015, the Special Operations commander of the United States in the Middle East, Major General Michael Nagata, admitted to The New York Times that they had failed to understand and defeat the idea behind the intentions and operations of ISIS. According to Wood (p.1), ISIS “follows a distinctive variety of Islam whose beliefs about the path to the Day of Judgment matter to its strategy, and can help the West know its enemy and predict its behavior.” On the other hand, BBC News argued that ISIS “adheres to a doctrine of total war without limits and constraints - no such thing, for instance, like arbitration or compromise when it comes to settling disputes,” ("Islamic State: Can Its Savagery Be Explained?"). It differs with al-Qaeda in that it does not raise religion as a defense of its actions. But even these statements are not enough to really explain the real intentions of the terrorist group.
After almost ten years of existence, ISIS burst into the world's attention in 2014 with its declaration of the establishment of a caliphate. A caliphate is “a state governed in accordance with Islamic law, or Sharia, by God's deputy on Earth, or caliph,” ("Syria Iraq: The Islamic State Militant Group"). The declaration was succeeded by a demand that all Muslims swear allegiance to al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS. They also demanded that all Muslims worldwide should move to the regions controlled by the group. Similarly, other jihadist groups such as al-Qaeda and its branches were required to recognize ISIS as the supreme authority in the region.
Over the years, ISIS has not shied away from confronting its enemies such as the United States-led coalition that seeks to eradicate it. In fact, the group views the confrontation as “ a harbinger of an end-of-times showdown between Muslims and their enemies described in Islamic apocalyptic prophecies,” ("What Is 'Islamic ...

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