ISIL, Syria, and Iraq Resources [Combating Terrorism Center at West Point]
A gateway to declassified primary source documents (many translated into English) related to ISIL, the Islamic State in Iraq, also referred to as the IslamicState of Iraq and al Sham (ISIS), the Islamic State (IS) or Da`ish, and its predecessors (al-Tawhid wa-al-Jihad, al-Qa`ida in Mesopotamia (AQI), Majlis Shura al-Mujahidin, Hilf al-Muttayibin and the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI)). Additional CTC research and analysis resources contextualize the development of ISIL and discuss factors leading to the current conflicts in Iraq and Syria.
Produced by the Office of the Historian at the U.S. Department of State, the Foreign Relations of the United States presents the official documentary historical record of major U.S. foreign policy decisions and significant diplomatic activity. FRUS volumes contain documents from Presidential libraries, Departments of State and Defense, National Security Council, Central Intelligence Agency, the Agency for International Development, other foreign affairs agencies and the private papers of important individuals involved in formulating U.S. foreign policy. In general, the editors choose documentation that illuminates policy formulation and major aspects and repercussions of its execution.
Congressional documents -- legislation, hearings, House and Senate committe reports (for example) -- can sometimes be important primary source materials for foreign policy research.
Although the Executive Office initiates and sets the course for international relations, Congress has important, if less obvious, roles to play in the process. It provides oversight and can authorize investigations into administration policies and activities (as it did with Iran Contra in 1987). It can choose to ratify international treaties (or not). Moreover, because it approves funding and foreign aid requests from the White House, Congress always exercises a subtler influence on international policies.
Founded in 1985 by journalists and scholars to check rising government secrecy, the National Security Archive curates the word's largest and most comprehensive non-governmental collection of declassified U.S. documents. In 50+ subject collections (including materials on Afghanistan, Iraqgate, Iran-Contra, and the Iranian Revolution), the DNSA covers U.S. foreign policy, intelligence and security issues during the pivotal period of twentieth-century history. Subject collections are always prefaced by an introductory essay that provides historical context, explains the methodology behind the document selections, and identifies their potential research value.
This comprehensive document archive sheds light on the U.S. intelligence community’s spying and analytic efforts in the Arab world, including the Middle East, the Near East, and North Africa. It covers the time period from the end of World War II up through 2009. The database includes materials on such events as the the 2002-2003 Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) assessments, the Global War on Terror, the Iraq War, and Iran’s developing nuclear program.
Archives Direct (U.K.)
A suite of collections sourced from The National Archives, Kew, the official government repository of the United Kingdom. Containing diplomatic correspondence, letters, reports, surveys, material from newspapers, statistical analyses, published pamphlets, ephemera, military papers, profiles of prominent individuals, maps and more, it consists of the history of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries from the British state’s point of view. Collections of possible interest for SW 54 include the Confidential Print Files on the Middle East (1839-1969), the Foreign Office Files on India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan (1947-1980), the Confidential Print Files on Africa (1834-1966), documents from The Nixon Years (1969-1974), and The Macmillan Cabinet Papers (1957-1963).
The Yearbook of the United Nations—published by the Department of Public Information—stands as the authoritative reference work on the activities and concerns of the Organization. Based on official UN documents, the Yearbook provides comprehensive coverage of political and security matters, human rights issues, economic and social questions, legal issues, and institutional, administrative and budgetary matters. Discussions and synthesis are based on the primary U.N. sources that are described and identified.
Multi-lingual resource that brings together historical and contemporary documents, provides English translations of every constitution, and links to scholarly commentary.
From this site, users can read constitutions from around the world, in English. They can also select and then systematically compare two or more countries, passages, and topics.
The Tehran Propaganda Murals (Harvard Library digital collection)
A part of daily life in contemporary Iran, propaganda murals appear throughout Tehran on both public and private buildings and contain powerful iconographic imagery.
In the summer of 2006, photographer Cristina Fonti walked the streets of the Iranian capital to capture and document these images. The Harvard College Library's collection contains 141 digitized propaganda murals. Item descriptions include English translations of captions (when included).
The murals are potentially fertile sites for students interested in material culture, recent Iranian history, or the intersection of art, political Islam, and public space.
Above: Six-storey high mural depicting Khalid al-lslambuli, the Egyptian army officer who assassinated President Anwar al-Sadat in 1981. The mural is located on Ghaem Magham Farahani Street, Behjat-Abad, Tehran. The text, in Arabic, reads "I have killed the Pharaoh of Egypt."
Widener Library's Middle Eastern Division has a poster and ephemera collection which numbers around 7,000 items. It offers a unique interdisciplinary research opportunity into current and historical events in the Middle East.
The collection is wide and varied in its scope and depth. It includes about 20 categories, including political/election posters, Arab spring posters (especially the January 25 revolution in Egypt), Iraq war posters, film posters, lobby cards, art posters, sports posters, celebrity posters, advertising posters, even humorous posters from various periods and countries.
This special collection is currently being processed (i.e., described and cataloged in our HOLLIS Images Database. Students who are interested in using it for an Gen Ed 1123 project should contact its curator, Ali Boutaqmanti.
Above: Poster of the Iraqi Islamic political leader Muqtadá al-Ṣadr, one of the influential Shiite leaders in Iraq.The caption in Arabic script reads: "May God protect the lion cub of the Ḥawzah al-nāṭiqah [the speaking Ḥawzah], al-Sayyid Muqtadá al-Ṣadr," a reference to his weekly newspaper “al-Ḥawzah : al-nāṭiqah al-sharīfah,” shut down in 2004.
The Militant Imagery Project, Combating Terrorism Center, West Point
Jihadist organizations and individuals inspired by their message are prolific producers and distributors of visual propaganda, and their efforts have expanded exponentially online.
Since 2006, The CTC has been collecting, decoding, and contextualizing the most prominent of these images and themes. Particular attention is given to groups who use images to further financial, material, and ideological support for violence. Each item is accompanied by a full English translation when texts are part of the image, and a detailed analysis of its specific visual motifs.
[For a detailed analysis of the image above, click here.]
A clearinghouse for jihadi primary sources, translations, and original analysis, maintained by Aaron Y. Zellin.
Zellin also produces and hosts JihadPod, which feature interviews with experts in the field of jihadi studies and analysis of jihadi primary source material. Currently, there are 31 episodes, (2011-2016).
Inspire is an English language magazine, first published in 2010 and produced by AQAP (al Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula). It aims at British and American readers.
Al Qaeda's English language magazine, launched in 2014. It contains articles on variety of jihadist topics, but focuses most heavily on the Indian subcontinent.
Launched in 2005, Ikhwan Web is the Muslim Brotherhood"s only official English web site. The main office is located in London, although Ikhwan Web has correspondents in most countries. Ikhwan Web is not a news website, although it reports news that matters to the Muslim Brotherhood's cause. By presenting the Muslim Brotherhood's vision directly, the site hopes to rebut misconceptions in Western society about Islam.
Official Website of Muqtada al-Sadr [English language version]
According to the website, Hizb ut-Tahrir "aims to resume the Islamic way of life and to convey the Islamic da'wah to the world. This objective means bringing the Muslims back to living an Islamic way of life in Dar al-Islam and in an Islamic society such that all of life's affairs in society are administered according to the Shari'ah rules, and the viewpoint in it is the halal and the haram under the shade of the Islamic State, which is the Khilafah State." Provides links to leaflets, books, speeches, and national organizations ("welaya" ) and their publications.
Official website of the leader of Morocco's al-ʻAdl wa-al-Iḥsān (Justice and Spirituality Party). Site links to primary sources, including writings, letters and correspondence.
From its website: "Ennahda (Renaissance) Party is a Tunisian political party with an Islamic frame of reference. It was established in 1981 and joined the generations of Tunisians who struggled against dictatorship and for freedom and justice, experiencing repression and persecution under the former regime. The party received official legal status on 1 March 2011 following the Tunisian Revolution, under the Decree of September 24, 2011. Its aim is to contribute to building a modern Tunisia, a thriving democratic republic based on the rule of law and values of citizenship, freedom, rights and responsibilities, and whose citizens can enjoy dignity, equality and social justice."