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How might terrorists acquire and use nuclear weapons?

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How readily can terrorists acquire nuclear weapons and what is the most likely type of nuclear/radiological device that terrorists might use

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Terrorists and Nuclear Weapons
First of all let's look at what terrorism and nuclear weapons are separately and then we will go through how terrorists can acquire them and what and how they might use them.

Who are terrorists? Terrorists are basically politically motivated or religiously prejudiced. "Any one, who deliberately, in his right state of mind, causes harm to another, life or lives (Human and or Animal) and property (s) without any legal & or Moral Justification, supported by the local (country, state) and or international law, is a terrorist and whatever, comes out, as a result, of his action, is Terrorism" (Perwazekhudi, 2009). Terrorists can consist of an individual or a group of individuals that causes undue physical and/or psychological destruction.
Terrorists can either be domestic or international. The former originate in the US, commit terrorist's acts in the US (the Oklahoma bombing) and are funded and supported by various organizations within the United States. International terrorists on the other hand, originate outside of the United states, are funded and supported by organizations outside the US, and attack US interests outside the mainland (the USS Cole bombing in the Yemeni Port) as well as within the country (9/11 bombings).

What are nuclear weapons? "A nuclear weapon is an explosive device that derives its destructive force from nuclear reactions, either fission or a combination of fission and fusion. Both reactions release vast quantities of energy from relatively small amounts of matter" (Wikipedia, 2010). A small nuclear device can devastate an entire city (Hiroshima in WWII) by the blast itself, the fire and radiation. These are considered Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs). Most of the initial damage produced by a nuclear explosion comes from the blast effects. In addition to radioactive fallout there are long term effects on the atmosphere and climate. There are several kinds of radiation emitted from a ...

Solution Summary

This solution provides insight into how easily terrorists might acquire nucelar and radiological weapons and in what way they might use them to harm innocent people. It starts with a definition of terrorists and then explains how nuclear and radiological weapons might be used. It concludes with the idea that radiological weapons would likely be the preferred choice when compared to nuclear weapons and explanis why that might be.

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What are the prospects for al Qaeda and/or other sub-state actors to acquire and use CBRN?

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What do you think are the prospects for al Qaeda and/or other sub-state actors to acquire and use CBRN?

I think that the prospects are favorable for sub-state actors to acquire and use CBRN. There are thousands of groups around the world with militant agendas and the willingness to use violence to meet those agendas. In thinking about this question I believe it is important to identify the factors that would limit the ability or willingness of sub-state actors to acquire and use CBRN as well as examine the reasons they may choose to use them.

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