Special Topic: From Al Qaeda to the Islamic State: Assessing Terror Threats - 2017

Unit summary


  • Level of Study: Undergraduate Level 2
  • Study load: 0.125 EFTSL
  • Delivery method: Fully Online
  • Prerequisites: No
  • Duration: 13 weeks
  • Government loans available: FEE-HELP, HECS-HELP
  • Availability for 2017: SP4
  • Availability for 2018: SP1
  • Assessment: Essay 1 - 1500 words written essay (30%) , Essay 2 - 1500 words written essay (30%) - Learn more

Unit provided by

2017 Fees
Domestic 793.00
HECS 793.00
International 1,043.00

This unit provides a comprehensive analysis into the origin and dynamics of and threats posed by the AQ and IS in the Indo-Pacific region. Focusing on their recruitment pattern and financing and propaganda techniques, the unit attempts to unravel the effectiveness and longevity of global terrorist formations. 'If the AQ could be weakened, could the IS be defeated?' is a familiar question. Will that scenario end terrorism, however, is a more important question that this unit attempts to discuss.

This unit aims to achieve the following specific learning outcomes:

  1. Knowledge: Students will have a good grasp of key ideas, debates and theories in relation to the threats posed by the AQ and IS in the Indo-Pacific region.
  2. Comprehension: Students will understand the complexities of terrorism in the Indo-Pacific region in terms of its evolution, recruitment, financing, network and impact.
  3. Analysis: Students will be able to evaluate the major policy challenges affecting regional states and non-state actors and institutions regarding the spread of AQ and IS in the Indo-Pacific region.
  4. Argument: Students will be able to construct arguments that evaluate differing theoretical perspectives on terrorist threats and working of terrorist groups in the Indo-Pacific region.

This unit also aims to achieve the following generic learning outcomes:

  1. Prioritising material: Students will learn how to manage a large amount of empirical material and order it in a comprehensible manner.
  2. Synthesis: Students will be able to draw on the materials presented in lectures, tutorials and readings to make connections and draw conclusions.
  3. Critical thinking: Students will learn how to look at contested interpretations of terrorism and the nature and scope of terrorist threats and to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of these different interpretations.
  4. Communication: Through tutorials and assessments, students will learn how to present their ideas and thoughts, both verbally and in writing, in a structured and logical way.
  • Essay 1 — 1500 words written essay (30%)
  • Essay 2 — 1500 words written essay (30%)
  • Invigilated Exam — Written final exam (40%)
For more information on invigilated exams see Exams and results

There are no prerequisites for this unit.

Note: Level 2 units normally assume an introductory level of prior knowledge in this area, e.g. from studying related Level 1 units or other relevant experience.

  • Audio/Visual equipment

This unit addresses the following topics.

1The Origin of the al Qaeda: Unveiling of New Terrorism
2The Pull factor: Foreign fighter network of the al Qaeda
3The Push Factor: AQ cells of Asia Pacific
4How terrorist groups end: Weakening of the al Qaeda central
5Rise of the Islamic state: A new ideology of terror
6Terrorist Financing: Comparative analysis of the AQ and the IS
7Terrorist propaganda: How different and effective is IS from AQ?
8The gender factor: Women fighters in AQ and the Islamic State
9Islamic State in South Asia: Case studies from Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Bangladesh
10Islamic State in the Asia Pacific: Case studies from Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, and Australia
11Countering the Al Qaeda and the Islamic State: State approaches
12Can the Islamic State be defeated? Will that end terrorism?

This unit is delivered using the following methods and materials:

Instructional Methods

  • Discussion Forum/Discussion Board

Print based materials

  • Study Guide

Online materials

  • Resources and Links

This unit is an approved elective in the following courses:

This unit may be eligible for credit towards other courses:

  1. Many undergraduate courses on offer through OUA include 'open elective' where any OUA unit can be credited to the course. You need to check the Award Requirements on the course page for the number of allowed open electives and any level limitations.
  2. In other cases, the content of this unit might be relevant to a course on offer through OUA or elsewhere. In order to receive credit for this unit in the course you will need to supply the provider institution with a copy of the Unit Profile in the approved format, which you can download here. Note that the Unit Profile is set at the start of the year, and if textbooks change this may not match the Co-Op textbook list.

Textbook information for this unit is currently being updated and will be available soon. Please check back regularly for updates. Alternatively, visit the The Co-op website and enter the unit details to search for available textbooks.

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