Global Terrorism POLS 386    
Fall 2007

Class Time:             MW, 3:30-4:45, DuSable 461
Instructor:               Theresa Eckard
Office address:        Zulauf 402
Phone:                      847-977-1809
Office hours:           Tuesday and Thursday, 12:00-2:00 PM and by appointment.
(Expect an e-mail response within 1 working day.)

Course description: Terrorism is at least as old as recorded history and likely much older. While the essential nature of terrorism and its basic objectives have not change for millennia, the effectiveness of terrorism and the frequency of its use have both increased dramatically. Part of the explanation for this is that terrorism is increasingly easy to carry out.  Put more bluntly, never before in history could so many victims be killed at the hand of so few as is seen today.  With the development of new and increasingly devastating weapons of mass destruction, terrorists have gained a greater ability for wide spread destruction. At the same time, the modern world is more vulnerable to attack due to its increased dependence on technology and common infrastructures. We obtain our energy, water, and food from common sources, all of which are vulnerable to attack.  In addition, we live, work, and travel in greater concentrations, which allows for a greater number of people to be attacked simultaneously.  Finally, the basic objective of terrorism is to spread fear and this is greatly enhanced by the modern media, which terrorists see as an effective political tool because it provides immediate, dramatic, wide-spread, and extensive coverage of their terrorist incidences.

Thus, while the United States, and much of the world, has declared a "War on Terrorism," terrorism will not likely be eliminated in the near future. At the same time, unless the United States and other civilized states adopt carefully constructed strategies to combat terrorism, the problem will undoubtedly worsen in the coming decades. Given this reality, the selection of prudent strategies for combating terrorism is one of the key tasks now facing the civilized world.

One objective of this course is to provide the information necessary for students to develop their own answers to some basic questions about terrorism. What is terrorism? Why is terrorism increasing? What causes terrorism? What can be done to diminish the incidences and destructiveness of terrorism? While there are no obvious or even consensual answers to these questions, varied answers to each of these questions will be presented and discussed.

Because both terrorism and the war on terrorism are evolving, students will be required to stay current with recent developments in global terrorism by reading stories linked to Yahoos News Category, “Terrorism & 9/11”. 

A second objective of this course is to help students develop their abilities to think and argue logically both orally and in writing. The course will thus provide students numerous opportunities to logically consider the issues surrounding terrorism and to present their views. Toward this end, the course employs highly participatory teaching methods including discussions of current events related to terrorism and case study discussions.


Readings                                                                                                                                                                  1. There are two required books:                                                                                                                          a. White, Jonathan, Terrorism and Homeland Security. (5th edn.) Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth, 2006.   b. Burton, Sabina L. Terrorism and Homeland Security. (2nd edn). Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth, 2007. (This book is bundled with the purchase of the new textbook at the bookstores.)

Copies of the texts are available for purchase at the University and Village Common bookstores.  In addition, both texts are available at the Reserve Desk of the Library.  Students are strongly encouraged to purchase the main text. Readings from the text are assigned in the Class Schedule (see below).  Please be aware that while some readings will be discussed in class, others will not.  Furthermore, test questions may be drawn from all assigned readings.

2. Case Studies: Students are required to read each of the assigned cases “prior to” the day that each case is scheduled to be discussed in the Class Schedule. Two copies of every case will be available at the Reserve Desk of the Library.  In addition, if possible, I will post the case study to Blackboard.

3. Weekly Terrorism News Discussions: Students are required to read a couple of news stories on terror each week from the Yahoo News category “Terrorism & 9/11”.  The address is: .  Discussions of current events relating to terrorism will be held during the first 15-30 minutes of class every Wednesday. Students are expected to have read some stories related to terrorism each week and should come to Wednesday’s class ready to summarize and comment on them. Questions from all news about terrorism discussed in class may appear on quizzes and examination.

Writing Assignments:                                                                                                                                                   1. Journal Submissions:  Each student is required to keep a journal of news stories related to terrorism.  To maintain the journal each student must write one entry each week which is due at the beginning of class every Wednesday.  Each journal should be in reference to a major article linked to the Yahoo News Pages “Terrorism & 9/11”.  Each journal should be one whole page in length (typed, double spaced with font #12).  The content of the journal should include a very brief summary of the issue(s) presented, but more importantly, the journal should also provide the student’s commentary on and analysis of the article’s main thesis.  You may write multiple journal entries on the same terrorist organization or issue to ease the difficulty of choosing and writing your case study paper (see below). However, please do not make entries on essentially the same story, printed in multiple papers.   

Journals must be submitted every Wednesday during the semester.  The total number of articles that need to be summarized is 12.  Please be sure to indicate on your journal the title, author, date, source for each article, and the web link for the article.  Stapled to your journal should also be a print out of the article discussed for my reference.  More guidance on writing the journal and grading standards will be given the first week of class.

2. Case Study Paper:  On Wednesday, November 28th, each student will submit a case study paper.  The case study paper must be written from the perspective of a particular international actor concerned with terrorism and it must deal with a specific problem of terrorism.  A good case study paper will include the following elements: 1. a clear identification of the international actor                                                                                                         2. a brief summary of the specific problems presented posed by a specific terrorist organization or type of terrorism;                                                                                                                                                                             3. a ranking of the objectives of the international actor for dealing with that specific problem;                                      4. at least two alternative strategies for dealing with the problem;                                                                              5. some consideration should be given to the methods discussed in class;                                                                       6. a realistic assessment of the pros and cons of each strategy presented; and                                                                 7. your conclusion as to which strategy is most likely to achieve the objectives listed and why.


While there are hundreds of possible case study topics, illustrative examples include:

    1. US policy for controlling Al Qaeda;
    2. The United Kingdom and the Real IRA;
    3. Palestinian Authority policy and Hamas;
    4. President Putin and the Chechen resistance;
    5. US policy towards Pakistan in dealing with Al-Qaeda;
    6. the UN and airline safety;
    7. the IAEA and steps to prevent nuclear terror;
    8. the Peruvian government and Sendero Luminoso;
    9. a new US policy dealing with hi-jacked planes;
    10. US policy to stop IED attacks in Iraq;
    11. Using extreme force against Al Qaeda targets abroad;
    12. the use of extraordinary rendition; and
    13. defining torture in terror interrogations.


The paper will be 5-7 pages in length. No more, no less.  Citations must appear within the paper either as footnotes, endnotes, or in-text parenthetical citations.  In addition to the citations, a bibliography is required. Although primary consideration in evaluating the paper will be placed on content and the logic of the arguments, presentation (including spelling, grammar, and correct word use) will also be considered.

In order to help ensure the paper is completed on time, students will adhere to the time line below for submitting components of the paper. More guidance on the case study paper will be given in the coming weeks, but be aware that you can not pass this class if you do not submit a case study paper.


In addition to general office hours, there will be appointment sign-up sheets for those interested students who would like to personally discuss paper topics.

Monday, October 8, 2007- Submit Paper Topic

Monday, October 15, 2007- Submit Bibliography- At least 5 credible sources written in a proper format.

Monday, November 5, 2007- Submit Outline

Wednesday, November 28, 2007- Paper Due


Written assignments are due at the beginning of class on the assigned day.  Late assignments will be downgraded 1/3 letter grade for each day that they are late. (An assignment submitted after class will be considered one day late).  Thus, an "A" assignment becomes and "A-" after one day and a "B+" after two days. Exceptions to this rule will be considered only in the most extraordinary circumstances and all late papers will receive some deduction. Thus, students with sick relatives, paper eating canines, low-life typists, frequent auto accidents, or ill tempered computers--as well as those students who are routinely taken hostage aboard alien spaceships--are strongly encouraged to compensate for any potential mishaps by preparing their written assignments in advance of the submission deadlines.  Assignments may be e-mailed to establish a submission date.  However, a printed version, identical to the e-mailed version, must be received within a week.

Undergraduate Writing Awards: The Department of Political Science will recognize, on an annual basis, outstanding undergraduate papers written in conjunction with 300-400 level political science courses or directed studies. Authors do not have to be political science majors or have a particular class standing. Winners are expected to attend the Department's spring graduation ceremony where they will receive a certificate and $50. Papers, which can be submitted by students or faculty, must be supplied in triplicate to a department secretary by February 28. All copies should have two cover pages--one with the student's name and one without the student's name. Only papers written in the previous calendar year can be considered for the award. However, papers completed in the current spring semester are eligible for the following year's competition even if the student has graduated.


Participation: Participation is an important part of this course, and as such is required of all students. The participation grade will comprise 20% of the final grade and is designed to assess both the quantity and quality of each student's participation in this collective learning experience. Participation grades will include: 5%- Attendance- Attendance will be taken every class session. Students may have 4 absences from class with no penalty. You may use these absences in anyway you wish, but use them wisely in case some minor emergency/sickness/appointment arises that forces you to miss class.  For example, if you miss four classes and then miss an additional two due to illness, you have six absences.  I do not differentiate between excused or unexcused absences except in extraordinary circumstances.  This is why I stress that you use your absences wisely.  You do not need to notify me in advance of your absence unless you will be missing a test or final, or you will be absent for a considerable period of time due to an emergency.  If you are an NIU athlete and you will be missing more than four class sessions, you must submit your sport schedule to me in advance.  Furthermore, you will be expected to attend all other class sessions during the semester.                                  5%- Class participation- This includes active participation in the Wednesday news discussions and general participation during the class session.                                                                                                                                                       5%- Case Study Days- Students who miss more than two cases-for whatever reason-will have a deduction taken from their participation grade.  In addition, in order to receive the full 5% for this component, students must actively participate in the group work on the case study day.                                                                              5%- Blackboard Postings- A message group will be formed on our Blackboard course ( which is intended to promote or continue discussions outside the classroom.  The instructor will present some topics and questions and students are encouraged to respond and even promote their own discussions throughout the semester. In order to receive the full 5% for this component, students must post “at least” five substantive messages to the class discussion group.

Students with Disabilities: NIU abides by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 regarding provision of reasonable accommodations for students with documented disabilities. Moreover, your academic success is of importance to me. If you have a disability that may have a negative impact on your performance in this course and you may require some type of instructional and/or examination accommodation, please contact me early in the semester so that I can provide or facilitate in providing accommodations you may need.  If you have not already done so, you will need to register with the Center for Access-Ability Resources (CAAR), the designated office on campus to provide services and administer exams with accommodations for students with disabilities. CAAR is located on the 4th floor of the University Health Services building (753-1303). I look forward to talking with you to learn how I may be helpful in enhancing your academic success in this course.

Plagiarism Statement: According to the NIU Undergraduate Catalog “Students are guilty of plagiarism, intentional or not, if they copy material from books, magazines, or other sources without identifying and acknowledging them. Students guilty of, or assisting others in, either cheating or plagiarism on an assignment, quiz, or examination may receive a grade of F for the course involved and may be suspended or dismissed from the university.” In short, all ideas that are not your own or well known must be cited. A general rule is that if the information cannot be found in three or more commonly available sources it should be cited. All direct quotes must be placed in quotation marks with a citation. These guidelines will be enforced. If you are unsure as to what should be cited either play it safe and place an in-text footnote, endnote, or parenthetical citation, or ask for assistance.

Examinations: There will be two examinations, a mid-term and a final. Each examination will be worth 15% of the semester grade. The mid-term examination will be held on Wednesday, October 10 and will include all course materials and readings covered to that date. The final examination will be held on Monday, December 10 from 4-5:50.  Each examination will contain 50 multiple choice questions (each is worth 2 points). 




Quiz Grade:  During the semester at least eight quizzes will be administered.  Quizzes will not be announced ahead of time.  Quizzes will cover material in the assigned readings or material presented in the previous class sessions.  There are no “make-up” quizzes.  The only way to make-up any quiz points missed is to take advantage of extra credit opportunities (see below). Please be aware that extra credit points will only be applied to the quiz grade and not to any other component of the class grade.  Also, no more than 100% can be earned on the quiz grade.  If the student has earned more than the maximum allowable quiz points by doing extra credit, those extra points will not be applied to any other part of the class grade, the excess extra credit points are simply not counted.


Extra Credit:  Extra credit points will be available for selected films, movie nights and talks on campus.  Extra credit opportunities are worth 3 points each.  Usually, the way in which to earn extra credit points is to attend movie nights, watch selected films at home or in-class and write a one page reaction paper, or attend a selected talk or event on campus that deals with a terrorism issue.  If you know of a relevant activity, please notify me at least one week in advance for consideration. 


Grading: The final grade will be derived from:

  1. 15% Mid-term examination
  2. 15% Final examination
  3. 10% Quiz Grade
  4. 10% Journal submissions
  5. 30% Case study
  6. 20% Participation (see the Participation section above for grade break down).                                                 


Final but Important Notes and Expectations

            1. Respect in the classroom- The topic of terrorism is by nature controversial in that it deals with controversial topics such as, politics, religion, and money.  If we are to understand terrorism in all its complexities, we must create a learning space that is conducive for exploring these controversial topics.  The purpose for exploring all sides of an issue is to understand the opposing arguments in order for the student to make a fully informed opinion or decision about the issue at hand.  In order to facilitate this safe, open classroom environment, we must maintain a respectful atmosphere at all times.  Therefore, there is absolutely no name calling, cursing, personal attacks, or demeaning speech against another student allowed at any time, including in the Blackboard postings.  We must ensure that everyone in the class room communicates and debates with one another respectfully at all times.  Lastly, controversial conversations that occur during class time should not be carried over into the hallway after class in order to provoke or continue an unhealthy debate.


            2. Multi-media teaching style-  Our class has access to Smart equipment in which we can access the internet, use the projector, watch DVDs, VHS, etc.  Therefore, the format of this course is designed to utilize most, if not all, of the technology available to us in the classroom.  Not only does this expand the instructor’s resources for presenting material, it accommodates the various learning styles of the students in the class.  Often times, the purpose for showing documentary films or news clips on terrorism topics is to provide the visual reality of the complexity of an issue that can not be achieved by class lecture or discussion alone. I ask that you remain open-minded when these films are shown.  Some are informative, some are dramatic and emotional, but all are very educational. Please be advised that these films deal with terrorism which by nature includes violence.  Therefore some of the films contain brief footage that is graphic and you may find it disturbing.  In these instances you will be notified in advance of class as well as before the film begins.  For this reason, you will not be required to watch any film that may make you uncomfortable.  If this is the case, come see me privately and we will try to find another way for you to earn extra credit points that would also be fair and available to the rest of the students. 


      3.  10- Minute Rule- If on the very rare occasion the instructor is late, please see if a class cancellation notice has been posted.  If not, wait 10 minutes for the instructor’s arrival.  If it is longer than 10 minutes, you are free to leave and class will be considered cancelled. 

      4. Cell phones- Please have them silenced during class.  In the rare case you are expecting an important call, please sit near the exit in order to excuse yourself with minimum disruption to the class session.  If you must text message for an important reason, please be quick and discreet.  Your cooperation in not abusing this policy is vital to the maintenance of a non-disruptive learning environment.

      5.  Email- If you are absent, you may email me your assignment to establish a submission date, but do so at your own risk.  I can not be responsible for emails that do not reach my in-box.  In addition, if you want the assignment graded you must submit a hard copy to me within one week.

      6.  Submit work that is properly proofread and organized. Nthing is mre frustating then reciving worke tht is not property prof red & havin too tri and decifer hwat u r tryin to sayy.  It not only wastes my time grading the assignment but should not occur in a 300-level class.   If you are crunched for time on an assignment that is due, submit the work after class when you have more time to look it over.  It is much better to accept a slight deduction for lateness, than to receive a low grade for poor writing (which you will receive).  Furthermore, with poor writing your arguments are severely weakened.  If you genuinely need help with writing, please come see me and I can refer you to the NIU Writing Center ( other helpful resources.

      7. Do not miss class because you have not completed an assignment that is due or you have failed to complete the assigned readings.  Do not be too embarrassed to come to class, you can still participate in class and learn, plus receive credit for attending as well as earn potential quiz points.  I prefer you come to class and only take a slight deduction for a late assignment rather than not attend at all.  Of course, do not make a habit of being unprepared for class.

      8.  In general, assignments will be graded on how well the student meets or exceeds the basic minimum requirements. More specific guidance on the grading of particular assignments will be explained later.  However, in general, these are my benchmarks for grading:

F-work: Failing to turn in an assignment at all, submitting work that is plagiarized, or submitting work that can not be understood or has nothing to do with the assignment.

D-work is when the student simply does not meet the very basic minimum requirements of the assignment by failing to consider the objectives of the assignment as identified by the instructor. In addition, a student may receive a D if there are significant proofreading errors in the paper which makes it very difficult to read and understand.

C-work is when the student simply meets the very basic minimum requirements of the assignment.  In addition, a student may receive a C if there are major proofreading errors which weaken the credibility of the arguments presented.

B-work is when the student achieves the minimum requirements but also offers more well-rounded arguments and presents some cited facts or ideas to support those arguments. The work may include some proofreading errors, but the errors do not significantly interfere with the arguments presented.

      A-work is when the student goes above and beyond the minimum requirements and offers a clear, well-rounded, thoughtful, organized paper, journal, or blackboard posting.  The arguments presented are highly developed and supported effectively by cited facts.  In addition, there are minimal proofreading errors which allows the instructor to read the assignment with clarity and ease.


9. Finally, don’t be the “weasel”.  This is the student that purposely undermines or finds every loophole to exploit class policies so that s/he can avoid taking responsibility or accountability for his or her poor class work, attendance, and efforts.  If all you want is a C in this class to graduate, that is fine, but do so at your own risk.  Do not do D or F work and expect a mercy grade of a C.  Most will find this class extremely rewarding, engaging, and enlightening.  With this positive mentality, the work will be enjoyable and appropriate.  However, in the end, grades must be earned.



*The instructor will personally grade all examinations, essays, quizzes, journal submissions, blackboard discussions.  All appeals of these grades should go directly to the instructor.

*The instructor also reserves the right to make any changes to the syllabus as she deems appropriate for the course.  Timely notification will be given to the students.

Course Outline and Due Dates:




M Aug 27


W Aug 29


I.  Introduction & Distribution of Syllabus


a. Defining Terrorism  (White 2-7; Burton #1)

b. A Brief History of Terrorism (White 17-29)


M Sept 3


W Sept 5

No Class


c. Modern Terrorism, tactics and behavior, structure (White 9-16, 30-47; Burton #3)




M Sept 10


W Sept 12




II. The Causes of Terrorism


CASE #1: The Achille Lauro Hijacking: Part A (KSG C16-88-863.0)


a. Psychological (Burton #2)
b. Religious (White 48-64; Burton #4)

c. Environmental (social, economic & political)
d. Rational

M Sept 17


W Sept 19


c. Ideological (White Ch. 12) In class, FrontLine movie "The Insurgency"


CASE #2: Seeking the Extradition of Mohammed Rashid (KSG C16-90-982.0)


M Sept 24






W Sept 26


III. Tools of the New Terrorism

a. Conventional Attacks  
  (bombings, assassinations & transported bombs)
b. Hijacking & Hostage taking

c. Cyberterrorism (White 82-86)

d. Suicide Terrorism (White 86-90, Burton #9))


In class movie “Suicide Killers”

M Oct 1



W Oct 3


d. Nuclear Terrorism

e. Chemical & Biological Weapons (White 90-96)


f. Fundraising (White Ch. 5; Burton #6)

g. State Sponsorship & Organized Crime

h. The media (White Ch. 18)

M Oct 8


W Oct 10

Review for Mid-Term Examination


Mid-term Examination




M Oct 15


W Oct 17


IV. Terrorism around the World


The USA, Canada, Puerto Rico and Cuba (White Ch. 13, 14; Burton #12, #13, #14)


Great Britain and Northern Ireland (White Ch. 11)

Western Europe (White 182-184; Burton #10)


M Oct 22


W Oct 24


Russia and Chechnya(White 126-128)


Al-Qaeda (White Ch 7, Burton #7)

M Oct 29


W Oct 31


Hezbollah (White 128-141)


PLO and Hamas (White Ch. 9, 10)


M Nov 5


W Nov 7


Jemaah Islamiyah (White 189-193, 121-126; Burton #11)


Sendero Luminoso (The Shining Path)



M Nov 12




W Nov 14


V. Responses to Terrorism and the War on Terror


1.  Fighting Back: Conventional War on Terrorism

Case #3: American Military Retaliation for Terrorism: Judging the Merits of the 1998 Cruise Missile Strike in Afghanistan and Sudan (ISD 238)


2. Homeland Defense (White Ch. 15, 17; Burton #15)

M Nov 19



W Nov 21


Case #4: White Powders in Georgia: Responding to Cases of Suspected Anthrax After 9/11 (KSG 1715)


No Class


M Nov 26



W Nov 28

3. Changes to Domestic Law & Protecting Civil Liberties (White Ch. 16; Burton 16, 17)


Case #5: Tiltulim: Interrogation by Shaking in Israel  (ISD 245)


M Dec 3



W Dec 5



4. International Cooperation

Case #6: American Extraordinary Rendition: The Case of Abu Omar


5. Negotiating & Addressing Causes  (Burton #8)

Case #7: Negotiating with Terrorists: TWA Flight 847 (ISD 333)



M Dec 10



Final Exam DuSable 461 from 4-5:50pm





* All Cases must be read prior to their discussion in class.  Cases are underlined in the outline.

            ** Some adjusting of the schedule will no doubt be necessary.  However, dates for the examinations, journal submissions, and case study will not be changed.



LINKS to Relevant Sites:

Web Site: Undergraduates are strongly encouraged to consult the Department of Political Science web site on a regular basis. This up-to-date, central source of information will assist students in contacting faculty and staff, reviewing course requirements and syllabi, exploring graduate study, researching career options, tracking department event, and accessing important details related to undergraduate programs and activities. To reach the site, go to  The syllabus for this course, and all recommended links, can also be found on the department web site.


General News Sources:
BBC World News
Christian Science Monitor
CNN Breaking News
The Times  (London)
New York Times
Washington Post

Terrorism News Sources:
Terrorism Research Center
General Links on Terrorism
US State Department's Office of Counterterrorism
US Department of Defense on Countering Terrorism
EERI Counterterrorism Home Page & Links

Others Links:
The Kennedy School of Government Case Program
Electronic Citation Style Manuals
Evaluating Internet Sources
Bartlett's Quotations