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Terrorism: Assessing the Past to Forecast the Future Essay

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Updated: Mar 13th, 2022

The Likelihood of Terrorist Group Use of CBRN Weapons

The likelihood of terrorist groups to use Weapons of Mass Destruction is relatively high and actually needs the proper attention of the Intelligence Department. The terrorists are very much aware of the trends in technological growth, that is being experienced with regards to Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles, and that the nations they are targeting like the United States of America are adopting these technologies. The terrorists are also compost of scientists who usually monitor the development of high profile weapons, which can cause mass destruction. They know that their enemies are acquiring and improving their weapon technologies (Tenet, 2000).

To be able to effectively revenge or attack their enemies, the terrorists are likely to adopt the use of CBRN weapons. For instance, the enemies of the United States of American are much focused on developing these types of weapons. North Korea had tested its CBRN weapons and it is still feared that Iran may also follow suite and test similar weapons. Osama Bin Laden is known to have keen interested on developing chemical and nuclear weapons. The countries that are against the United States and its allies are likely to supply their sponsored terrorists with these types of weapons. The terrorists groups all over the world, having the knowledge of lethargic weapons held by their enemies, are engaged in the discoveries of how the rapidly growing technology may improve the lethargy of their current operations. It is important to realize also that the terrorists are aware that the high technology weapons owned by their enemies like the United States have surpassed their conventional ones. They must therefore acquire the CBRN weapons in order to operate favorably against their enemies (Tenet, 2000).

The Major Trends in Terrorism in Recent Years

In the recent past, terrorism has evidently taken an upward trend in terms of growth and is likely to move the same way into the future. The removal of Taliban from power in Afghanistan might have given a foundation to eliminate all acts and trends of terrorism, however, the United States of America and its allies had failed to finish the mission and instead went on to attack Iraq. The attack on Iraq and the subsequent ousting of Saddam Hussein from power has only served to fuel terrorist activities against the United States of America. The Al Qaeda network and its supporters have embarked on strengthening the network and recruiting new membership to spread terrorism against the United States and its allies. For instance, the terrorist group in Morocco bombed the Madrid railways and later mentioned that it was motivated by the U.S invasion of Iraq, again the 2005 bombing of the London subway was done by a semi-autonomous group that claimed to have been inspired by the Al Qaeda and also it has been reported by that many Western Muslim converts have been increasing at a worrying rate since the United States of America and its allies invaded Afghanistan (Chalk, 2005).

Recently, in December 25, 2009, a suspected terrorist of Nigerian origin was arrested with a very explosive weapon aboard a plane destined to the United States of America. Terrorists’ threats have recently changed to airplanes in which several airlines have fallen victims. The most exemplary scenario is the 9/11 attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center in which hijacked planes were used as bombs. This situation truly underscores the dynamism of terrorists. The fight against terrorism that started on high note with Afghanistan has not served to stem terrorism activities. It has, instead, fuelled the activities of terrorists (Chalk, 2005).

The Value of CBRN Weapons Terrorist Groups

Acquiring CBRN weapons will offer well established terrorists networks like the Al Qaeda some leverage. The terror groups, especially the Al Qaeda will be able to prevent countries like the United States of America and their Western allies from invading other Muslim nations. CBRN weapons in their possession will be a real threat to their enemies. Instead of fighting the terrorists by use of force and weapons, their enemies may consider to dialogue with them, given the potential destruction they are able to cause in any part of the world. Again, the fear of loosing more civilian lives may scare away the members of the public from supporting war against terrorism. Already many innocent civilians have lost their lives, property and some maimed, yet the war against terror is not bearing any fruits. The terrorists still do not have these weapons but have defeated the forces against them. This means that should they get the weapons they will be more dangerous and therefore able to establish their “legitimate” power in one of the countries where laws are weak. This will result in even in other governments failing to render their support to the fight against terror (Kantor, 2005).

Another issue that will arise is to do with the cost of fighting terrorism. The possession of CBRN weapons by the terrorist networks will definitely complicate their operations. This will automatically drive up the cost of fighting terrorism. This may reduce the efforts of fighting the vice hence leading to increased terrorist activities. They are also likely to get support from anti-Western nations. Since they have a great potential threat to the whole world, the terrorist groups will definitely gain support from those who would want to use them against their enemies (Kantor, 2005).

Strengths and Weaknesses of the Intelligence System for Dealing with Terrorism

There have been series of terrorism incidences that have served as waking calls to the intelligence system. Some of these incidences include the 1998 attack on the United States of American embassy in both Kenya and Tanzania and the infamous 9/11 attacks on the United States of American soil by terrorists. There have been several activities in the United States intelligence system. These include the establishment of several security agencies like Homeland Security agency, the Northern Commander, National Intelligence, and also a surge in the international cooperation. The international cooperation has made it possible for the United States security agencies to get information on a global scale. The security agencies have also gotten additional funding allocations that have enabled them to recruit more security personnel (Tsang, 2007).

However, there exist some weaknesses with the system against terrorism. The almost successful suicide attack in an American plane was a clear indication of security lapse by the American Intelligence. It remains unclear how the Nigerian citizen arrested in December, 2009 got visa to the United States of America. Immediately after the 9/11 attacks, the United States Defense Department ordered plans to be put in place by security agencies in order to attack Iraq on the basis of Weapons of Mass Destructions, yet it was clear that Iraq had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks. This might have been clear to terrorists and therefore, was a public show of weakness in the intelligence system. It was a case interpreted outside the context. Citing the scenario of Iraq in which Saddam Hussein was accused by the United States of America to have been secretly manufacturing Weapons of Mass Destruction, it is clear that the intelligence system failed to establish the truth. After Hussein had been toppled and executed, the United States had nothing to show as proof that in deed, there were such weapons in Iraq (Tsang, 2007).

The Principal Terrorist Threats in Terms Of Groups or Specific Operations

There are many terrorists’ threats that can be considered to be very dangerous. There is continued formation of many terrorists’ cells that operate in the context of Al Qaeda network. These groups are believed to be Al Qaeda proxies in the nations where they operate. If not contained, these terrorists’ cells are likely to develop into bigger terror groups and network. Since the start of the fight against terror, nothing has happened to weaken the Al Qaeda network. It continues to regain strengths and is expanding into a global network. The terrorist groups are gaining control of lawless countries. For instance, the Alshabaab’s terrorist group in Somalia is fighting to gain control of Somali capital. The greatest threat is the possibility of stronger terrorist groups like Al Qaeda networks getting into possession of Weapons of Mass Destruction. This could spell more advanced terrorist activities in the world, and especially target the United States of America (Harrison, 2009).

With the possibility of these terrorist groups gaining access to CBRN weapons, there are high chances that the world economy may be affected negatively as the groups will have stronger bargaining power. They are likely to influence major contributors to the world economy like the oil producing nations to act in their favor. The countries may oblige due to fear of CBRN weapons attack. There will also be increased threats to airlines. Many people may fear using certain airlines, especially those owned by the United States of America and its allies. The result of this is likely to be reduced economic activities for the American products. In a nut shell, the terrorists are bound to grow their networks and cause real danger to the world’s economic, social, and political systems (Harrison, 2009).

Reference List

Chalk, P. (2005). Trends in terrorism: Threats to the United States and the future of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act. Rand Corporation.

Harrison, J. (2009). International Aviation and Terrorism. Evolving Threats, Evolving Security. New York: Taylor & Francis.

Kantor, B.P. Intelligence and security informatics. IEEE International Conference on Intelligence and Security Informatics, ISI 2005, Atlanta, GA, USA, May 19-20, 2005. New York: Springer.

Tenet, J. (2000). Central Intelligence agency: The Worldwide Threat. Web.

Tsang, Y.S. (2007). Intelligence and human rights in the era of global terrorism. Westport: Greenwood Publishing Group.

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