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Fall Semester Homework Assignment Resources

The homework of the fall mission requires in part that you use some of the resources below. When you see and "assessment" hyperlink button, this tells you that you need to go the Mission Assignments page and click the corresponding hyperlink to take the assessment. You should create two tabs in your web browser or open two browser windows side by side so that you can have the Star Quiz assessment open next to the articles and videos as you provide your answers. Watch the videos and re-read the articles more than once if necessary.  You may also read the assessment question and then search for the answers here on this page.  Doing thus, you should make a good grade.


The homework schedule is thus:

Day 1: Logic Problems, Code Avengers

Day 2: Code Avengers, Refugees 

Day 3: Refugees, Syrian Conflict, Who is ISIS

Project: Strategy and Melee Procedures (10% of mission grade)- due Thursday before coming to mission)

Who is ISIS?


Video 18 is optional extra learning video that is not required. It is however, an excellent

comprehensive video that will help you fully understang the situation in Syria.

Video 18 is optional extra learning video that is not required. It is however, an excellent

comprehensive video that will help you fully understang the situation in Syria.


Inside the White House Situation Room


Inside the White House Situation Room:

A Presidential Advisory Meeting about confronting the 

Islamic State of Iraq & Syria (ISIS)


Looking at its history, current practices, what can be done to stop it, and how to assist its victims.

Article 9

Text of the National Security Video that you just watched:


Mr. President, As your National Security advisors, it is our responsibility to provide you with up-to-date information about situations in the world that present a risk to the safety of the United States, as well as to the human rights of people around the world. 


Since 2014, a group called ISIS- or the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria—has grown to become the largest terrorist network in the Middle East.


Starting as a splinter group of Al Qaeda during the Iraq War, ISIS is a well-armed, violent, extremist organization who considers itself at war with all nations who do not adhere to its apocalyptic view of the world.


Practicing a strict form of Islam called Sharia Law, it has become a totalitarian, theocratic state that has professed a hatred of democracy and individual liberty. 


Its signature has been the persecution of religious minorities throughout the region, including Christians, Yazidis, Kurds, and Shiite Muslims. 


Beheadings, crucifixions, and other mass killings of innocent civilians have been widespread, with over twenty thousand murdered since 2014—many of whom are Muslim who don’t follow its extreme beliefs.


There is also evidence of widespread human rights abuses, including the oppression of gay men, the destruction of ancient archaeological treasures, and the use of poison gas. 


What is perhaps the most disturbing is ISIS’s treatment of women. Stonings have become common, with at least 3,500 young girls forced into sexual slavery or marriage.  


Exploiting the chaos in the region, ISIS has spread rapidly throughout eastern Syria and Iraq, controlling an area of close to 13,000 square miles, which is roughly the size of Indiana. 


Hoping to create a Caliphate or religious kingdom, it defends a warped view of Islam, hoping to usher in the final days and the end of the world.


Led by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the organization has conquered Mosul and other major Iraqi cities, grabbing two billion dollars in cash from looted bank accounts, as well as income from oil and gas fields that amounts to roughly a million dollars a day. 


According to the Huffington Post, it has formed a terrorist army with an estimated 30,000 - 50,000 fighters from over 90 countries and is now armed with tanks and weapons stolen from the Iraqi army. 


Likewise, because of its sophisticated use of social media and propaganda, ISIS has had over 2,000 Westerners join their cause, including over 200 Americans with passports.  


The good news is that American and coalition airstrikes have now contained the group to its original territory and killed thousands of ISIS fighters, recapturing over 40% of the land it controls, including the major Iraqi city of Ramadi. 


Despite those gains, the challenging news is that ISIS still poses a significant risk of conducting further mass killings.


Likewise, any attempt to stop it is unfortunately complicated, involving many moving parts that must be first be understood to be correctly solved.


Mr. President, at this point, we kindly ask that you and the other members of the security team answer the questions on the worksheet that follows. Once everyone is finished, you can open up the floor for discussion and debate.


Your task will be to decide upon two policy options that the United States should follow that will help destroy ISIS and limit its potential for mass murder.


Likewise, you are also encouraged to use this website to learn more about how ISIS operates, how to reach out to assist its victims, and how to take informed action that will help prevent genocide and human rights abuses in our time. 


At this point, please open up the student packet and follow the directions that will help you organize the discussion. Remember that what you do matters—and our time, is now.




A nation’s foreign policy is a government’s strategy dealing with other nations. Reviewing the options below, select three foreign policy options that you feel the President should take in response to ISIS. Take note of your list of 3 options that you think are wisest and use them in your assessment response. Be sure you can articulate your reason(s) for choosing each option on your list



Option A: Use American air power to bomb ISIS training camps, resources, and leaders. 

  • This would include its oil operations and tankers that go to Turkey and other countries. 

  • Doing so would deprive ISIS of roughly one million dollars a day. 

  • Note: Since August of 2014, the U.S. military has said there have been over 9,000 airstrikes that have dropped about 32,000 bombs on ISIS in Iraq and Syria. 

  • Many have credited these strikes for limiting ISIS’s growth and forcing them to hide.


Downsides to this Option: 

  • ISIS is known for hiding its military and command centers near civilian populations, such as hospitals and schools. It is against international law to knowingly target civilians.

  • Any bombs must be used with utmost precision; as any unnecessary civilian deaths will be used by ISIS to make the United States look bad. 

  • To quote a senior military official in a December 20th New York Times article, ‘We want to kill terrorists, but not in a way that will help create new generations of them.”  


Option B: Send in American ground troops to fight ISIS directly  

  • Military officials have estimated that this would require 10,000-25,000 troops. 

  • Note: There are currently @5,000 U.S. troops in Iraq already fighting ISIS.


Downsides to this Option:  

  • Seeing that this fight could take a generation, America should be careful about committing itself too extensively. 

  • An invasion would be an expensive, costing several billion dollars, as well as the lives of roughly 100 American soldiers a month with 500 wounded—which is near the death count of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. (David Ignatius, Washington Post). 

  • Some have also argued that this option is exactly what ISIS wants, using it as a recruitment tool to attract new members. 

  • The Doomsday Dam Factor: Several commentators have warned that seeing that ISIS controls several dams in the region, if cornered, they may blow them up as a final act of defiance, triggering massive floods and electrical shortages that would set the region back for a generation.  (Wall Street Journal, January 20th, 2016)



Option C: Arm rebels and troops in the area who hate ISIS 

  • This would mean spending money to send ammunition, machine guns, and other equipment to rebel groups in the region, including 25,000 Kurdish forces and 5,000 tribal fighters. 

  • Note: Seeing that these Kurds are fighting for their lives and land, they have been very effective, taking back more than 500 towns.

  • This would include training the Iraqi army to better fight ISIS in their country.


Downsides to this option: 

  • While the Kurds are doing great things, they ultimately want to create their own country, which would share a border with Turkey, who sees them as a threat to its territory. Because the United States uses and needs Turkish air bases, it is dependent on its good will and may not want to anger its government by helping the Kurds too much.



Option D: Use more American Special Operations Forces

  • Currently, the U.S. has over 250 of these commandos who train local rebels in secret, keeping America out of an official “war”.


Downside to this Option: While these Special Ops troops may be successful, they may not be enough to take over the larger cities that ISIS controls. More ground troops will be needed. 



Option E: Establish an alliance of European and Middle Eastern nations to fight ISIS

  • This would include Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf States to create a military coalition that the United States would play a supporting role in. 


Downside to this Option:  Getting everyone together is very difficult--action is needed now.



Option F: Provide Humanitarian Assistance to the victims of ISIS

  • Air drop humanitarian assistance such as food, blankets, medicine, to the groups that are being threatened, like the Yezidi. 


Downsides to this Option: Very few, but force will be necessary to take back its territory.



Option G: Take economic action against the money ISIS controls

  • Freeze its access to international banks, which would limit its access to money and weapons. 

  • Every effort should be made to block it from selling its oil to Syria, Turkey, and other partners. 

  • Countries who buy oil from ISIS should be exposed and penalized by the world community.


Downsides to this option: Very few—but while important, these actions would not kill ISIS fighters—or, take back the land it controls. Military force will eventually be necessary.


Option H: Declare cyber war against ISIS 

  • This would include having our military hack into their websites that deal with recruitment, criminal activity for profit, as well as their command and control. 

  • Encourage Apple, Google, Twitter, and other social media companies to shut down terrorist accounts so that they are not used to plan, provoke or celebrate violence. 


Downsides to this Option: There are a number of encryption Apps that can be downloaded by ISIS to “get around” any cyber actions.



Option I: Setting up a No-Fly Zone in northern Syria 

  • This would have American planes prevent attacks on civilians, creating a safe space to allow humanitarian assistance and greater security. 

  • Doing so would also cut the supply routes of illegal oil, arms, and supplies going to and from Turkey to ISIS,


Downsides to this Option: Doing so will be complicated and expensive to run, would further involve us in the conflict and cost roughly $1 billion a month. American planes could strike those of Russia’s, creating an international incident. 



Option J: Monitor, watch, and do as little as possible

  • Seeing that the situation presents too many risks and complications, it may be best to be very careful with any options.

  • Downside to this Option:  Doing nothing allows ISIS to grow and hurts the reputation of the U.S. as a world leader, allowing Russia to have more of an influence, as well as other countries in the region.  History often shows that if aggressive parties aren’t fought, they often spread overseas, such as the case of 9-11.


Using the above information and your list of 3 options, answer this assessment


Assessment: Inside the White House Situation Room


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