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Approximately 4 hours to complete

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Audio recording + long-form content

Welcome To the Self-study Course on the Middle East

This course is designed to provide homeland security professionals and students of homeland security with a primer that provides context, both historically and in terms of contemporary issues, on the Middle East. This region has figured prominently in both the homeland security and national security realms as it was, and is, a central area of operations for terrorist threats represented by Al Qaeda, ISIS, and Hezbollah as well as an area of critical importance in terms of global energy supply. The course will explore the background and current status of the region, its conflicts, its ideologies, and its impact on the United States and its allies in the recent past and its likelihood to impact the U.S. and its allies in the future. 

The region will be explored via five lenses:

  • The religious lens: focusing on the manner in which Islam and other religions have influenced, and continue to influence, events in the region, including the use of extremist religious interpretations in fostering conflict. 
  • The nationalist lens: focusing on the impact of nationalist ideas and ideologies on the political development of the region and on conflicts in the region. 
  • The resource lens: focusing on the impact of energy resources on the development of the region and how those resources have been used in support of conflicts. 
  • The sociological/cultural lens: focusing on identity, group dynamics, and attitudes toward society, government, and minority groups, and how this has impacted the course of recent history. 
  • The global lens: focusing on the interaction between states in the region and states outside the region during the recent past and the contemporary period. This framework will address the role the U.S. and other outside powers have played, and continue to play, in the region as well as the role regional countries, terrorist organizations, and other regional entities have played outside the region. 
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Module 4: The Sociological & Cultural Lens

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About the Instructor


Dr. Nadav Morag serves on the faculty of the Center for Homeland Defense and Security, Naval Postgraduate School. He also serves as Professor of Security Studies and Chair of the Department of Security Studies at Sam Houston State University.

He previously served as a Senior Director at Israel’s National Security Council, where he was responsible for advising and developing policy recommendations for the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

He is the author of Comparative Homeland Security: Global Lessons, 2nd Edition (Wiley and Sons, 2018) and has authored articles and book chapters on terrorism and on the Middle East.

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