Terrorism and Weapons of Mass Destruction
Publication Type:Book Chapter
Source:Combating Transnational Terrorism, Procon, Sofia, p.99-114 (2016)
When we think about terrorism and weapons of mass destruction (WMD), it is tempting to focus on the potential consequences. After all, almost any attack with WMD, whether in the hands of terrorists or any other perpetrator, would be very grave indeed. However, in order to truly understand the level of risk, it is necessary to conduct a more detailed and objective analysis. Do terrorist organizations have the means and the will to obtain WMD or to weaponize the necessary materials, and then also maintain, transport and successfully deploy such weapons? Do they present a credible threat? Our perception of this process is the key to understanding the problem and how best to deal with it.
The major focus of this chapter is on the different types of WMD, their particular characteristics and the difficulties associated with their weaponization by current terrorist groups. The final part of the chapter examines the potential for proliferation of harmful technologies that might allow terrorists to acquire WMD in the future and the efforts being made by the international community to minimize these dangers.