Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Degree Level



Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences Dean's Office


Paradise, Thomas

Committee Member/Reader

Purvis, Hoyt

Committee Member/Second Reader

Hare, Laurence

Committee Member/Third Reader

Stauss, Kim


Terrorism has become a hot button topic since the rise of the radicalized Islamist organization Al Qaeda, in the late 1990’s. However, the infamous attacks on September 11th, 2001 are what truly brought this organization and its ideals to the forefront of the world’s attention. This paper provides a comprehensive and in depth analysis of the creation of Al Qaeda and traces the path of its connections to the Islamic State, which is currently the dominant radicalized Islamist organization. The Islamic State grew out of the Al Qaeda branch in Iraq and in addition to covering how that growth occurred, this paper will also look at how and why Iraq and also Syria were valuable incubators to both organizations. From the analysis of these countries’ situations, this paper will formulate an implication for a solution to the problems that have plagued them, as well as many other countries in the Middle East. This implication is to partition the land designated as the current countries of Iraq and Syria into multiple, smaller countries that specifically identify with one of the major ethnic/religious groups in Iraq and Syria. Through the partitioning of this land, the hope is to create a more peaceful and stable environment in the region. This new environment will then help extinguish the possibility of the creation of a power vacuum that could assist in the rise of another nefarious organization similar to or worse than either Al Qaeda or the Islamic State.


terrorism, extremism, Al Qaeda, Islamic State, international relations