Terrorism and Weapons of Mass Destruction Term Paper

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Weapons of Mass Destruction

Nuclear terrorism or weapons of mass destruction (WMD) were labeled as the single most serious threat to the national security of the United States of America by President George W. Bush. When President Barack Obama came into office, he had the same sentiments about the growing terrorism in the Middle East. Our leaders and security experts see terrorist having access to WMD as nightmares when they sleep. The Japanese group Aum Shrinrikyo, Al Qaeda, Egyptian Islamic Jihad, Lashkar al Tayyib and Jemmah Islamiya are few of the terrorist groups who have been known to gain access to chemical, biological or nuclear weapons. (Mowatt-Larssen, 2010, 5) Terrorist groups are present to spread terrorism all over the world as the name suggests. However, many would argue that these viscous people are only going to scare the world and not use any of them. However, seeing their statements and actions, it is very likely that the terrorist groups cold go onto use weapons of mass destruction. If not weapons that already known of, groups like al Qaeda could use some other forms of weapons which will cause the same scale casualties wherever used.

In 1998, al Qaeda leader, Osama bin Laden vowed that it was a religious duty for him to attain nuclear weapons in order to finish the wishes of the terrorist group. Bin Laden also went to state that even if he cannot fulfill the task, those recruited by him would take this as the most crucial priority. The most interesting thing of all is that Bin Laden has found a rationale and a reason for attain WMD and thus fulfilling the objectives of the group. In a 2007 video release, he specially stated that he wants to increase the level of fighting and increase the amount of American killings that occur due to Al Qaeda. (Mowatt-Larssen, 2010, 5)

The terrorist group is not aiming for the weapons like poisons, chemical bombs, and dirty bombs. Even though these weapons are the ones readily available, Osama Bin Laden's threat's specifically highlighted the mention of Weapons of Mass Destruction. Even though in Islamic law, the use of weapons for such massive killing would be prohibited, the group thinks it is the only way possible to combat the U.S. structural system. Whatever Al Qaeda is planning, it is doing so on a law scale. They could go out and carry out the killings on a far more critical level, but that is not what they are choosing to do. (Mowatt-Larssen, 2010, 5)

It has been to use here that the Al-Qaeda wishes to use WMD in the future and want to have access to them. The question is why t do they want to cause destruction at a massive level and what factors point to their determination to using WMD. The organizational structure of the group speaks for its goals and objectives. If Al Qaeda's major goal was to kill Americans at a large scale, it should have stopped after the World Trade Center bombings, but it didn't. (Long, 2008, 15) The reason why this didn't happen was they wanted to have a certain level of consistency and wanted their threat to be present throughout the years.

An analyst who writes for a counterterrorism think-tank stated the Al Qaeda's use of WMD in the future is 'inevitable' (Long, 2008, 14) He argued with the aforementioned notion of mass casualties not being the main incentive of Al Qaeda. The analyst argued that the use of WMD by the terrorist group would serve all the conventional purposes of terrorism. They would be successful in establishing a long-lasting psychological impact even if they were successful or not. The propaganda and merely the fact that the group has access to WMD would be symbolizing and fearful nonetheless. He believed that the main motive was to cause damage and cause mass causalities. (Long, 2008, 15)

The Al Qaeda is likely to get a hold of WMD because of the level of organization the group is very widespread and is growing. Al Qaeda is basically is a vertically-based organization that is controlled in top down structure. It is just not one organization placed in alone certain location. Al Qaeda is growing like cancer and metastasizing throughout the world. (Long, 2008, 16)The original al Qaeda that was present in 1990s is not there anymore and the name of the organization is merely spread like an idea all over the world. (Long, 2008, 16) If Al Qaeda is looked at in the view of a violent non-state actor look, then it should be noted that they want to attain the weapons which provide the maximum possible use. On the other hand, when the occurrence of suicide bombings is noted, it can be seen that the actor doesn't do much to maximize the utility. There is no hunt or struggle for WMD or any careful planning involved in suicide bombing. However, if looked at suicide bombing in cultural context, the level of sacrifice that the suicide bombing takes can be taken as a means of seeing how much determination the group would have for attaining the weapons as well. (Long, 2008, 18)

A major reason why the terrorist groups like al Qaeda are likely to use WMD is that their war isn't for a certain period of time. The main purpose of the Islamic extremist in waging war against the west is to save Islam and its supremacy. (Long, 27, 2008) The war that the militants want to wage is a long one and it will require patience from those who are active in it. (Long, 26, 2008) The terrorist might not have had access to it since September 11th. However, it should be noted that prior to 9/11, there were increased attempts by the extremists to gain control of the weapons. Regardless, just because they haven't been able to get the weapons now, there is not saying that they won't ever get them and use them in the world.

In 2003, one of Al-Qaeda's leader stated that seeing the level of military and economical growth America has attained, it can only be destroyed by natural disasters. (Long, 2008, 27) This idea basically shows that the terrorist groups know what they are dealing with and thus they are likely to use weapons of mass destruction to destroy the country and thus attain their objectives.

The terrorist groups like Al Qaeda are generally considered to be violent non-state actor or (VNSA) In order to see whether a certain group requires and are likely to use weapons of mass destruction, certain factors are noted. These include utility, capacity, legitimacy, optimal use and employment code. (Smith, 2008, p 8) Some if not all of these factors are seen in the code of the terrorist organization Al-Qaeda and thus it is possible that they will go on to use the weapons of mass destruction. To see whether a group is capable doing some activities, it depends on the doctrine they have regarding the weapons in this instance. An interesting feature to note is that when it comes to the doctrine Al Qaeda had regarding WMD, there is no such doctrine present for that. (Long, 2008, 21) The most outstanding feature that depicts that the group is capable of launching a WMD attack is statements made from the leaders regarding the use of biological weapons. Al Qaeda spokesman, Suleiman Abu Gheith, stated in 2002 that it is their right to fight the U.S. with chemical and biological weapons seeing how much damage the Americans have inflicted on Muslims.

The ease of attaining WMD has been exaggerated in many places. Even though chemical and nuclear might be somewhat desire to obtain, nuclear weapons still are difficult task. Even on internet, one can find the directions…

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