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Chemical and Biological Terrorism

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Chemical and Biological Terrorism. The risk of terrorism from chemical and biological weapons has become all too real since 11 September 2001. This paper describes the terrorist organizations associated with CB weapons, and analyses the processes of sub-state proliferation. The researchers also model the release of anthrax spores in a crowded Tokyo shopping mall and a chemical attack in Matsumoto (the scene of an attempted Sarin attack by the Aum Shinrikyo cult). The paper concludes: 'Governments face a multitude of CB terrorism threats, but the most catastrophic scenarios involving mass casualties, though possible, are not likely to occur.... Nevertheless, because of the potential consequences for the targeted society of a terrorist attack with CBW, governments must be prepared for such an attack. The key issue is thus to devise and execute balanced policies. Over-reaction can lead to country-wide anxiety and paranoia. In such an atmosphere, hoaxes may become as efficient-especially in terms of economic terrorism-as actual attacks with CBW.' "Risk assessment of terrorism with chemical and biological weapons", by Jean Pascal Zanders, Edvard Karlsson, Lena Melin, Erik Näslund and Lennart Thaning, is published by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute alongside papers on many different aspects of CBW: proliferation, benefits and threats of genetic engineering, export controls, and the arms control treaties.

 

By Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, Sweden.

Defense Policy Resource.