Mark Albertson

37 Russell Street,

Norwalk Ct. 06855


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Course Description:  Jihad! . . . an Arabic term meaning struggle.  For the Muslim that struggle is of an internal nature; an effort by which the individual attempts to rid him or herself of those impediments which could prevent their becoming one with their God and religion.  Waging that struggle justifies the essence of the religion.  Islam, which is 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, seems to be that of Holy War.  And that is the essence of this series; a progression of sessions which will seek to peel away the confusion, misinterpretations and propagandistic perversions which hamper a proper conception of what is not only construed to be the Jihadi movement, but hopefully foster—at the same time—a better understanding of one of the globe’s most fascinating yet misunderstood religions.


Week 1:  Sunni-Shia Split

In 570 AD 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 become 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 of some 1.2 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 Radical Theorists

Ahmad ibn Taymiyyah, Muhammad ibn Abdal 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—Liberalism, Democracy, Republicanism, Secularism, Socialism, Nationalism, Parliamentarianism. . .   As the Ottoman Empire continued its precipitous decline, the aforementioned ideas from a tumultuous Europe would generate a following, competing against those who would 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’ath 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 fashion 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 Fundamentalist 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 seeds 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 sowed here.

Week 5:  The Bear Went Over the Mountain

December 1979, the Soviet Army streamrolled into Afghanistan:  The Mujahidin (Soldiers of God); essence of resistance—tribal, clannish, ethnic and religious disparities; influx of Muslim fighters from the Islamic World; U.S. assistance and support for Jihadis.  Defeat of the Soviets, spurs the Pan-Islamic movement and the collapse of the Soviet monolith.

Week 6:  Management of Savagery

The Taliban, al-Qaeda, Chechen Jihadis, Islamic State . . . such groups will be explored in a world changed by the collapse of the Soviet Union; a world with 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 World War II, North Vietnam and finally, Algeria, who penned a study which appeared at the Army Command and General Staff College in 1962.  His contention?  That modern war for the foreseeable future will see developed nations taking on guerrillas and terrorists, who in the post-1945 world, have become the new, modern soldier.

Week 7:  Follow the Money

Title says it all . . . genuine coin of the realm . . . money is what is required to grease the wheels of the Jihadi movements.  This session will highlight the sources of finance, much of which is funded with the American Dollar.  Among those spotlighted will be the wallets in the Middle East.

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 and the growing Shia political leverage.  The staying power of al-Qaeda.  Jubhat al-Nusra.  Islamic State.  And . . . the threat posed to the Western induced border settlement from 1916 and quest to dominate the region’s massive energy potential - Lifetime Learners