The “African Conflict” Research Assignment

English 10 - Mr. Dawursk



·         What: You will research on a recent or ongoing conflict in Africa. Then, you must argue a specific claim about the conflict in the form of a research paper. Some options for your claim are listed, but do not feel limited to just these questions:

o   Which side has the moral upper hand? (Maybe neither do) Why?

o   What are the main causes of this conflict? How did you determine this?

o   How would this conflict be best resolved? And if it is resolved, evaluate the resolution.

o   Analyze the motives of the groups and decide whose are more convincing.


·         How: You will accomplish this by first and foremost, having a concrete understanding of your conflict. Next, you will construct a thesis statement and support your arguments with evidence from the text. You should use the CER (claim, evidence, reasoning) model that we have discussed previously in class to organize your body paragraphs.


·         Steps to Success:


1.    First, read the two supplied articles about conflicts in Africa.  Text code and annotate each article.


2.    Next, you will search the library for at least one additional resource about current African conflicts.  Use the 10 topics ad links I this sheet.  Read this “third” article.


3.    Develop an opinion about conflicts in Africa.  Make a factual statement about your opinion which you will try to “prove” in your essay. This is your “claim” on your CER form or the “thesis” on your essay. 

4.    Develop this thesis into a formal research essay. Here are the due dates:



+ FINAL CER IS DUE Monday 12/14

+ FINAL ESSAY PAPER IS DUE Thursday 12/17*


*Early bird 10% extra credit is awarded for essays totally completed by Wednesday 12/16.


5.    For full credit, the research assignment must include ALL of the following:


A.   A complete CER form turned-in prior to the essay’s final draft.

B.   A 2-3 page original typed persuasive essay on the essay topic (final draft).

·         Paper must have a clear introduction with a specific “thesis” and at least three reasons to prove your thesis.  In the body of the essay, each paragraph reason must be supported by at least one piece of quoted evidence with proper citation (MLA format).  The citations must come from at least three different sources.

·         The conclusion paragraph will effectively restate the thesis and summarize the reasons while bringing the essay to an appropriate close.

C.   Paper must use at least THREE different sources put into a typed “Works Consulted Bibliography” list in MLA format at the end of the essay. The paper should utilize at least three different sources as evidence in support of your thesis. These will appear in your body paragraphs.


·         Format Guidelines:


6.    At least three pages (typed Times New Roman size 12, double spaced, 1-inch margins) plus a Works Consulted page.


7.    Use MLA formatting and citation. Citations must be done correctly, or the paper will be returned without a grade until you correct these errors. (Similarly, if there are more than 10 grammatical errors, the paper will be returned without a grade. Carefully proofread BEFORE submitting your essays.)


8.    The essay will be graded based upon the rubric chart in this packet.


Workdays:     Wednesday, 12/9 – Library Research

                        Monday, 12/14 – Type essay (CER must be completed)

                        Tuesday, 12/5 – Type Bibliography sheet










W. 2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine complex concepts.

Essay is skillfully structured with an engaging introduction containing an insightful thesis, well-developed body paragraphs, and a powerful conclusion.

Essay is structured with an introduction containing a clear thesis, developed body paragraphs, and a thoughtful conclusion.

Essay’s structure is confusing; essay may be missing one or more of the following: a hook, a thesis, three body paragraphs, an adequate conclusion.

Essay’s has no discernable structure; essay may be missing two or more of the following: a hook, a thesis, three body paragraphs, an adequate conclusion.

W. 8: Gather info; assess sources; avoid plagiarism, use citations

Includes 3 or more pieces of evidence (facts, statistics, and examples) that support the position statement. Evidence is correctly cited in the text and on the Works Cited page.

Includes 3 or more pieces of evidence (facts, statistics, and examples) that support the position statement. One piece of evidence is not correctly cited in the text or on the Works Cited page.

Includes 2 pieces of evidence (facts, statistics, and examples) that support the position statement. Two pieces of evidence are not correctly cited in the text or on the Works Cited page.

Includes 1 or fewer pieces of evidence (facts, statistics, and examples). Three or more pieces of evidence are not correctly cited in the text or on the Works Cited page.

W. 7: Conduct research to answer a question; synthesize multiple sources.

Explanations are given that show how each piece of evidence supports the author's position. The writer anticipates the reader's concerns, biases or arguments and has provided at least 1 counter-argument.

Explanations are given that show how each piece of evidence supports the author's position.

Explanation that shows how that piece of evidence supports the author's position.

No explanation for the evidence is present.

W.6: Use technology to produce/publish taking advantage of technology’s capacity


Author makes no errors in grammar or spelling that distract the reader from the content.

Author makes 1-3 errors in grammar or spelling that distract the reader from the content.

Author makes 4-5 errors in grammar or spelling that distract the reader from the content.

Author makes more than 6 errors in grammar or spelling that distracts the reader from the content.

L. 3: Understand how language functions in different contexts

Paper is formatted according to MLA standards: Heading, title, font type and size, and spacing are all done correctly.

Paper is not formatted according to MLA standards, 1-3 errors were made in the following areas: Heading, title, font type and size, or spacing

Paper is not formatted according to MLA standards, 4-5 errors were made in the following areas: Heading, title, font type and size, or spacing

Paper is not formatted according to MLA standards, more than 6 errors were made in the following areas: Heading, title, font type and size, or spacing



Research Paper Rubric




1. War in Darfur (2013-present) President Omar al-Bashir vs. Two rebel groups (SLM and JEM)


2. Islamic insurgency in Nigeria (2009-present) Boko Haram vs. Government of Nigeria


3. Lord’s Resistance Army (1987-present) Rebel Christian cult (LRA) vs. Congo, Uganda and Sudan


4. Rwandan civil war/genocide (1994) President Juvénal Habyarimana vs the rebel Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF)


5. Islamic insurgency in the Maghreb (2002-present) Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat vs. Algeria, Mauritania and Morocco


6. Egyptian Revolution (2011) Protesters vs. President Hosni Mubarak


7. Libyan Civil War/Revolution (2011) Protesters/rebel groups vs. Muammar Ghaddafi


8. Tunisian Revolution (2010-2011) Protesters vs. President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and his government


9. War in Somalia (2009-present) Federal Government of Somalia vs. militant Islamist groups


10. Conflict in the Niger Delta (2004-present) Oil companies vs. local minority ethnic groups



Claim/Evidence/Reasoning (CER) Form

Mr. Dawursk – English



Prompt (What to do?):


Read all of the books, articles, or websites about your topic: African Conflict
After you have properly text coded and annotated the sources, decide what your “claim” will be. 


Give at least three different reasons to support your claim.  Use at least three different documents to support your reasons (3 different citations from 3 different sources) and be sure to “cite” your textual evidence using “quotes” when directly copied.


Claim (Statement that you are going prove from the text):





General Reasons
That support my claim:

Examples and Evidence:

(Copied quote or specific example
with page or article #)

(How this evidence supports
my claim/answer):

“This evidence shows . . . “

“This suggests . . .”

“This supports the claim because . . .”

Reason #1

Evidence #1 for Reason #1





Evidence #2 for Reason #1





Reason #2

Evidence #1 for Reason #2





Evidence #2 for Reason #2





Reason #3

Evidence #1 for Reason #3





Evidence #2 for Reason #3







Summary – Rough Draft / Outline
(Restate the claim, combine your evidence and reasoning, end with a concluding sentence):
Use proper paragraph form with a topic sentence (your claim) and at least one sentence for each “reason”
(including the evidence proving your reasons), and a concluding sentence.


Introduction Paragraph with Attention Getter, Thesis (claim) and Three Reasons:







Body #1 (Explain reason #1):








Body #2 (Explain reason #2):








Body #3 (Explain reason #3):








Conclusion (repeat thesis, restate reasons, closing):









Bibliography / Citation Information: (Quotes from sources in MLA format):











Use for help with citations and bibliography layout.





Profile: Al-Qaeda in North Africa


Taken from “BBC News” online-edition on December 17, 2015; originally uploaded on January 17, 2013.

URL: -- Author: Not Stated


Al-Qaeda in the Land of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), to give its full name in English, has its roots in the bitter Algerian civil war of the early 1990s, but has since evolved to take on a more international Islamist agenda.


Its reach has also expanded across the Sahel region south of the Sahara Desert, attracting members from Mauritania, Morocco, Niger and Senegal as well as from within Mali where, in alliance with other Islamists, it is fighting French troops on the ground.


During the Mali crisis, its fighters have dramatically increased their profile, allowing them to further their aim of spreading Islamic law and jihad across West Africa.


AQIM's influence over other nascent Islamist cells comes from its wealth: it is one of the region's best-armed groups thanks to the money it makes from kidnapping Westerners and drug and cigarette trafficking across the Sahara.


It emerged in early 2007, after a feared militant group, the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC), aligned itself with Osama Bin Laden's international network.


Back in the 1990s, against a background of Islamist political groups testing their strength across North Africa, the military-backed authorities in Algeria at first permitted the Islamists to play a full part in the nation's political life.


But then, when the Islamic Salvation Front was poised to sweep the board in a 1992 general election, they annulled the whole process and took power back.


The political ferment immediately moved into violence.


Armed Islamists mounted attacks across Algeria, the security forces fought back; and sometimes it was hard to tell which group had carried out which atrocity.


Other states in the region - Tunisia and Morocco, Mauritania to the west and Libya to the east - also battled against Islamists.


Most feared

But the conflict in Algeria was particularly brutal, killing perhaps 150,000 people. It peaked in the 1990s, until an amnesty offer to Islamists in 1999 led to gradual improvements. Violence fell and the country's economy recovered during the early years of the 21st Century.


However, the most feared of the militant organizations, the Armed Islamic Group or GIA, rejected the promised amnesty and continued a violent campaign to establish an Islamic state.


By then it had split, with the most extreme faction calling itself the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat - a name which echoed an Islamist group in Morocco. The Arabic word "Salafist" means fundamentalist, in the sense of going back to the original texts of Islam.


In September 2006 the GSPC said it had joined forces with al-Qaeda, and in January 2007 it announced that it had changed its name to Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb to reflect its new allegiance.


At the time there had been much debate in intelligence circles about the significance of the move. Some officials dismissed it as an act of desperation by a group on its last legs, seeking to attract new recruits by aligning itself with Osama Bin Laden.


Others, who saw it as far more worrying development, proved correct, as al-Qaeda has succeeded in persuading North Africa's Islamist extremists to take a more global view. In fact, the head of the US Africa Command said he believed that in 2012 AQIM, Nigeria's Boko Haram and the Somali Islamist group al-Shabab were coordinating their efforts.


The merger announcement delighted al-Qaeda's then deputy leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, who described it at the time as "a source of chagrin, frustration and sadness" for Algeria's authorities.


Wave of attacks

Shortly afterwards, seven bombs exploded in Algeria's eastern Kabylia region, killing six people, and in April 2007 at least 30 people were killed in bomb attacks on official buildings in Algiers. AQIM said it had planted the bombs.

More attacks followed: on buses carrying foreign oil workers; on American diplomats; on soldiers; and in September 2007, a suicide bomb attack in Batna, aimed at the motorcade of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika. The president was not injured, but 20 people were killed.


Two days later, a car bomb killed more than 30 people at a coastguard barracks in the town of Dellys. In December, twin car bombs claimed by AQIM killed at least 37 people in Algiers, including 17 UN staff.


The death toll continued to mount in 2008.


Back-to-back attacks on 19 and 20 August killed dozens of people. The first was a suicide car bombing at a police college in Issers, east of Algiers, killing 48 people. A day later, two more car bombings struck in quick succession in Bouira, south-east of Algiers. The second explosion in Bouira killed 12 Algerian employees of the Canadian engineering firm SNC-Lavalin.


The attacks continued into 2009, when suspected al-Qaeda militants in February killed nine security guards who were working for the state-owned gas and electricity distributor Sonelgaz at a camp near Jijel, east of Algiers.


Algerian Islamists represent the largest national grouping in al-Qaeda, according to Jill Carroll's 2007 briefing paper How Did Al-Qaeda Emerge in North Africa?

'Years of hardship'


Abdelaziz Belkhadem, Algeria's prime minister in 2007, warned that the bombers wanted to take the North African country back to "the years of hardship". But other incidents across the Maghreb pointed to the group's regional ambitions.


In January that year, 12 people were shot dead by the security forces in Tunisia near the small town of Solimane, south of the capital, Tunis.


The authorities initially described their adversaries as criminals but later admitted that the men were Islamist militants with connections to the GSPC.


Meanwhile, Morocco's security forces clamped down on several militant cells - arresting, trying and jailing their leaders - after four incidents blamed on al-Qaeda-inspired groups in 2007.


The security forces were said to be on the lookout for militants who were believed to be crossing into Morocco from Algeria.


And of course the Madrid train bombs, which killed almost 200 people in 2004, were the work of a Moroccan gang.


In December 2008, AQIM militants abducted the United Nations special envoy, Robert Fowler, and his assistant, Louis Guay, near Niger's capital, Niamey. They were released in April 2009.


The group also seized four European tourists who disappeared in January 2009 along the Mali-Niger border. Two were freed in April.


The group threatened to kill one of the remaining pair - a Briton - unless a radical Islamic cleric convicted of terrorism in Jordan, Abu Qatada, was released from jail in the UK.


And in June 2009 the British government said it believed AQIM's claims on an Islamist website that the death threat had been carried out against the British captive, Edwin Dyer.


In July 2010 AQIM said it had killed French hostage Michel Germaneau - kidnapped in northern Niger three months earlier and transferred to Mali - in revenge for the killing of seven comrades in a failed rescue raid.


In November 2011 a German was killed and three other foreigners kidnapped by AQIM in the ancient tourist city of Timbuktu in northern Mali.



The group is thought to have between 600 and 800 fighters spread throughout Algeria and Europe - and according to the independent think-tank the Council on Foreign Relations, most of its major commanders trained in Afghanistan.


Since 2004, the leader of the militants is thought to be Abou Mossab Abdelwadoud, a former university science student and infamous bomb-maker.


In 2005, deputy GSPC leader Amari Saifi was sentenced to life in prison by an Algiers court for kidnapping 32 European tourists in 2003.


The former paratrooper was captured by Chadian rebels in mysterious circumstances and passed on to Libya before standing trial in Algeria.


Another leading member was Mokhtar Belmokhtar, known as "The One-Eyed", a former soldier and infamous cigarette smuggler at the centre of the 2013 hostage drama in Algeria. He left AQIM in late 2012 after falling out with some leaders and has been involved in operations in Mali.


He organized the importation of arms for the underground network from Niger and Mali. He is wanted in Algeria on terrorism charges.



What’s going on in Egypt?


By Cara Parks

Posted: 01/28/2011 11:52 pm EST on the website  
the “World Post” section.”
Updated: 05/25/2011 6:30 pm EDT -- Looked at on 12/7/2015.



After days of protest, Egypt's civil unrest came to a head today, with protestors defying curfews as the nation's military entered the streets. If you're new to the story, here's what's going on.


Protests started on Tuesday, January 25, when -- inspired by the successful revolution in Tunisia -- thousands of people began taking to the streets to protest poverty, rampant unemployment, government corruption and autocratic governance of President Hosni Mubarak, who has ruled the country for thirty years. These were the first protests on such a large scale to be seen in Egypt since the 1970s. The government responded by blocking Twitter, which was being used by organizers to coordinate protests.


Blocking Twitter not only enraged Egyptian citizens; it also brought increased national attention to the uprising. Over the course of the next two days, Egypt proceeded to block Facebook while the much-hated riot police took to the streets, arresting and injuring hundreds with batons, tear gas water cannons. Protests occurred not only in Cairo, the capital, but also in Alexandria and Suez, two other major cities.


On Thursday as the protests continued to rage throughout the country, Nobel Laureate and former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency Mohamed ElBaradei (ehl-BEHR'-uh-day), returned to Egypt from Vienna, declaring that he was ready to lead the protests. Often thought of as a potential Egyptian leader should Mubarak lose power, ElBaradei is a strong opposition force.


Additionally, the Muslim Brotherhood, long a fierce opponent of the Mubarak regime and officially banned in Egypt, threw their weight behind the protestors, many of whom are young, tech-savvy Egyptians, reports the New York Times. Two-thirds of Egypt's population has never known a leader other than Mubarak.


The largest protests were planned for Friday, at which point the government took the unprecedented step of blocking all Internet services in the country. With Twitter and Facebook already down, email other social networking outlets fell as well. Text messaging was also blocked. Protestors and journalists began finding alternate means of getting online and pushing out information.


During the day, the military was called in to take over security, a move that was welcomed by the protestors. Most Egyptians are reported to hold the armed services in higher regard than the police. The U.S announced that due to the ongoing protests, the Obama administration would be reviewing the substantial aid, both military and non-military, provided to Egypt. (Egypt is the second-largest recipient of U.S. aid -- most of it military -- right behind Israel.)


After a long silence, President Hosni Mubarak appeared on state television to announce that while he would be dismissing the government, he would not resign. Protestors continued to chant "Down, down with Mubarak" after his announcement. Shortly afterwards President Obama made a televised appearance to say that he had spoken with the Egyptian president on the phone, and had urged him to take "concrete steps" towards reform.


As of Friday night, the streets were reported to be more quiet as Egypt waited for Saturday's announcement of a new government.