A Comprehensive View of the Insurgent Groups
The attention paid to activities of insurgent groups like Abu Musab al Zarqawi's executions on the Internet have given the impression that all groups involved in the insurgency are lusting for blood. Invite students to examine some of the insurgent groups in Iraq. Using resources from this guide and other news media groups, have students document the different backgrounds, causes, and goals of the insurgent groups. Then have students hypothesize how well these groups might assimilate into a democratic Iraq and provide evidence to support their views. The following sites provide background:
How do U.S. and Islamic news sources report on the insurgency and the development of democracy in Iraq? Introduce students to basic strategies for analyzing media. Some helpful references for such strategies include 11 Strategies that Effectively Use Media Resources. Another source for media analysis can be found at FRONTLINE's "In Search of Al Qaeda" Web site, where students can explore the media's influence on their perceptions and analyze the techniques used by editorial cartoonists to influence public opinion. Students should then apply these strategies to analyzing news coverage of events in Iraq. News samples can be obtained from Middle East news sources like Aljazeera in English and Iraq Today. Students may use the U.S. news sources of their choice. Students might also want to extend their comparison of differences to European, Asian, and other American news reports. Students can put together a paper or informational poster that compares the news coverage of the insurgency and the development of democracy in Iraq from the different news sources.
Invite students to organize a public forum at a school- or community-based venue that focuses on withdrawing troops from Iraq. Several different organizations have created materials for conducting informed discussions/debates on the U.S. policy in Iraq and which actions might be taken relating to the conduct of the war. Students might want to invite, through their speakers' bureaus, spokespersons from various local organizations (World Affairs Councils, military recruiting, congressional offices, and Arab-American organizations) to discuss and/or debate whether or not troops should be withdrawn quickly from Iraq. Ideas for debate questions or statements can be found at The Program on International Policy Attitudes where information on U.S. policy in Iraq is presented.