SAGE Journal Articles

Journal Article 1: Karaim, R. (2013, December). Chemical and biological weapons. CQ Researcher, 23, 1053–1076.

PDF iconchemical_biological_weapons_Chernotsky3e_CH5.pdf

Abstract: This article discusses current events and issues surrounding the development and use of chemical and biological weapons. Some of the questions being discussed on this issue include if chemical weapons are worse than other weapons of war, if biological weapons pose a critical threat to the United States, and whether or not the world rid itself of chemical and biological weapons. This article provides a general historical background on the use of chemical and biological weapons in war, as well as goes into more depth about the destruction of chemical weapon stockpiles in Syria and in other countries and the policies and programs in place in the United States to mitigate biological weapons threats.

  1. According to Greg Thielmann, what is unique about chemical weapons? Why do scholars think they should not be treated differently than conventional weapons?
  2. Which would be more likely to produce biological weapons: terrorist organizations or states? Why?
  3. Which type of weapon do experts think will be more difficult to get rid of: chemical or biological? Why?

Learning Objectives: To understand the development and use of chemical and biological weapons over time and recently. To understand the current policy environment and scholarly opinions about mitigating the threat from chemical and biological weapons.

Journal Article 2: Mantel, B. (2014, June). Assessing the threat from al Qaeda. CQ Researcher, 24, 553–576.

PDF iconassessing_threat_al_qaeda_Chernotsky3e_CH5.pdf

Abstract: This article focuses on evaluating the threat to the West from al Qaeda and implications for policy and counterterrorism efforts. The main questions currently being debated among policy makers and scholars include the effect of the death of Osama bin Laden on al Qaeda’s strength, if al Qaeda remains a threat to the West, and whether or not the United States can do more to stem the spread of al Qaeda. This article outlines the growth of al Qaeda as a terror network as a result of war and conflict in the Middle East in the second half of the twentieth century, as well as the emergence of the concept of global jihad, US efforts to mitigate the threat in the 2000s, and the effects of the Arab Spring. Finally, this article discusses the role of foreign fighters joining the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the threat this group poses to the West, and how the conflict in Syria is spilling over into other countries in the Middle East.

  1. According to counterterrorism officials, which extremist group poses the greatest threat to Western interests? In which country is it located?
  2. What are the four main networks that analysts identify as al Qaeda affiliates? Do all experts agree on this categorization? Why or why not?
  3. Why do some analysts believe that al Qaeda as a network has grown in strength following bin Laden’s death?
  4. What are the main objectives of the four al Qaeda affiliates? Do they pose a significant threat to the West? Why or why not?
  5. Why are many foreigner fighters joining the ranks of ISIS?

Learning Objectives: To understand the logic behind assessing the threat from al Qaeda.