Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam, Aum Shinrikyo, Al Qaeda, and the Syrian crisis: nonstate actors acquiring WMD
Maurus, Jonathon R.
Ortiz, Jeccel O.
Haytasingh, Michael R.
Tucker, David C.
Freeman, Michael E.
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This thesis analyzes the attempts of three groups (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam, Aum Shinrikyo, and al Qaeda) to acquire, use, and deploy chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear weapons. Terrorist groups seeking a weapon of mass destruction (WMD) capability face numerous constraints such as intent to acquire/manufacture and/or use a WMD, recruiting the essential personnel with expertise in WMDs, obtaining the necessary materials, having access to the necessary facilities, and being able to make the technological leap in creating a delivery system. These constraints have severely limited most terrorist groups from pursuing a WMD capability; however, there are a few groups that made some effort to overcome these constraints, groups like the LTTE, Aum Shinrikyo, and al Qaeda. Each sought to realize this goal of achieving a WMD capability. The current situation in Syria may present an opportunity for terrorist groups to circumvent particular aspects of the constraints already mentioned, making it easier for them to develop a WMD capability.
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