Terrorism has been in existence for a very long time. Acts of terror have been used for all kinds of reasons in the political, social and religious environments. Terror acts have changed in flexibility and adaptability by actors who seek to reorder or disrupt the status quo, as they come up with new and innovative ways to achieve their objectives. Not only has the tactics of terrorism changed, but also the magnitude, causes as well as the social contexts. This change in terrorist acts has led to unconventional terrorism, which is the worst kind of all tactics terrorists use. This has been the case for the last decade as terrorists look for more threatening ways to carry out their activities. This paper will look at the most difficult type of non-conventional terrorism to plan and execute as well as the most likely to be used and against whom.
Non-convectional terrorism comes in various forms. There is nuclear, chemical and biological terrorism. In nuclear terrorism, terrorists use nuclear devices to bring about devastation and mass murder. In this type of terrorism fear and intimidation is also used. This is because people are made to live in fear of an impeding attack. Radioactive materials are used in the attacks. These materials are capable of causing irreversible damage to the environment. Terrorists only need to use a conventional weapon against a nuclear reactor. The nuclear reactor is destroyed realizing radioactive material. The material is capable of putting the life of a large population in danger. This type of nuclear weapon has some advantages to terrorists because it can inflict many people at the same time.
The other non-conventional weapon is the chemical terrorism. Chemical terrorism comes in two categories. The first one is chemical terrorism for mass destruction. Terrorists may release toxins in water, populated areas or in poorly ventilated areas to cause damage to as many people as possible. The other type of chemical terrorism is used for economic damage. For instance, a toxin may be introduced to products. Chemical terrorism is easier to implement than nuclear terrorism. This is because of the ease with which chemicals are available; they can be bought off the shelf. Anyone with chemical knowledge can manufacture chemical weapons. The manufactured harmful chemical substances can be introduced into pesticides, which, are then used on crops for human consumption.
The final category is biological terrorism. It involves the “use and dissemination by various means of biological weapons (various kinds of microbes) in population centers, in order to undermine morale and cause numerous causalities” (Ganor 1). The biological weapons lead to mass destruction and therefore not used in pinpoint attacks. It is important to note that the effects of biological weapons are not immediate and are felt later after the attack. This could be several hours or days later. These kinds of non-conventional weapons are not common because they are not readily available or accessible unlike the previous two. Terrorists often buy the biological weapons from states that manufactures them or they home manufacture them.
The most difficult type of non-conventional terrorism to plan and execute is biological terrorism. It requires very intricate biological laboratories and many other resources. Such resources are not readily available to terrorists groups due to the high cost involved. However, they can be obtained from the black market or from terrorist friendly nations.
The most likely form of non-conventional terrorism is biological terrorism. It can be used effectively to kill many people at once, thus can have a very big impact, which is always the aim of terrorists. They like to cause mass destruction to get the full attention of the medial and the world at large. They can also be disguised as a natural event. This might make it difficult to distinguish and thus divert suspicion and in the very least make it difficult to trace. The most likely cause of this is their failure to act immediately and when the effects start to show the causalities may have already left the attack site. This makes it difficult to detect the site of attack, the target and the perpetrators of the act. Therefore, retaliation chances are few and this kind of terrorism goes undeterred. Transportation of biological weapons is easy because they are not easy to detect. The weapons can be concealed until when ready for use in the site of attack. Small masses of biological weapons can cause massive destruction for instance, “10 grams of anthrax pores can produce 50% fatalities over a one-square-mile while “a metric ton of a chemical agent” would produce the same effect over the same area (Shoham 4).
This form of terrorism is most likely to be used on the western countries by some countries in the Middle East. This is because weapons of mass destruction have been put in use in the region. This shows the erosion of taboos concerning non-conventional terrorism. This taboo has stopped other nations from using these weapons in times of war or peace due to their consequences. The Middle East has shown its intent of political terrorism towards the west as well as Europe, which is a close ally of the West. Homegrown terrorist groups in countries that are terrorism friendly are likely to commit acts of non-conventional terrorism against innocent citizens of countries considered enemies.
The threat of non-conventional terrorism is more real today than ever. Terrorists groups pass their threatening threats of using non-conventional terrorism openly in broadcasts. These organizations have managed to kill large numbers of people in the past and doing the same in the future even on a larger scale is possible. Therefore, anti-terrorism policies should be strengthened to deter non-conventional terrorism. The policies should have international cooperation and new norms of coping with the threats of non-conventional terrorism created.
Ganor, Boaz. Non-Conventional Terrorism: Chemical, Nuclear, Biological. 1998. Web.
Shoham, Dany. Chemical and Biological Terrorism: Profile of an Intensifying Non-conventional Threat. 1998. Web.