Unconventional Weapons and International Terrorism

Challenges and New Approaches

Edited by Magnus Ranstorp, Magnus Normark

© 2009 – Routledge

212 pages

Purchasing Options:
Paperback: 9780415622332
pub: 2012-03-29
US Dollars$54.95
Hardback: 9780415484398
pub: 2009-01-13
US Dollars$155.00

About the Book

In recent years, senior policy officials have highlighted increased signs of convergence between terrorism and unconventional (CBRN) weapons. Terrorism now involves technologies available to anyone, anywhere, anytime, deployed through innovative solutions. This indicates a new and more complex global security environment with increasing risks of terrorists trying to acquire and deploy a CBRN (Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear) attack.

This book addresses the critical importance of understanding innovation and decision-making between terrorist groups and unconventional weapons, and the difficulty in pinpointing what factors may drive violence escalation. It also underscores the necessity to understand the complex interaction between terrorist group dynamics and decision-making behaviour in relation to old and new technologies.

Unconventional Weapons and International Terrorism seeks to identify a set of early warnings and critical indicators for possible future terrorist efforts to acquire and utilize unconventional CBRN weapons as a means to pursue their goals. It also discusses the challenge for intelligence analysis in handling threat convergence in the context of globalisation. The book will be of great interest to students of terrorism studies, counter-terrorism, nuclear proliferation, security studies and IR in general.


"The volume’s editors have assembled an important collection of papers originally presented at a 2007 workshop on these issues, held at the Swedish National Defence College… the volume’s essays attempt to develop a new methodological framework that encompasses both the technical factors contributing to a terrorist organization’s ability to use such weapons and the motivational factors that might drive it to plan and conduct such attacks." - Joshua Sinai, ‘Terrorism Bookshelf: Top 150 Books on Terrorism and Counterterrorism’, Perspectives on Terrorism, Vol. 6, No. 2 (2012)

Table of Contents

Introduction – Magnus Ranstorp and Magnus Normark. Part I. The Status of CBRN Terrorism Research. Chapter 1: Defining Knowledge Gaps Within CBRN Terrorism Research - Gary Ackerman. Part II. AQ Motivations/Incentives for CBRN-Terrorism? Chapter 2: WMD and the Four Dimensions of Al-Qa’ida - Brian Fishman and James J.F. Forest. Chapter 3: Al-Qaeda’s thinking on CBRN: A case study – Anne Stenersen. Part III. CBRN, Capacity Building and Proliferation. Chapter 4: Indicators of Chemical Terrorism – Amy E. Smithson. Chapter 5: Capacity-building and Proliferation Biological Terrorism – Gabriele Kraatz-Wadsack. Chapter 6: Terrorism and Potential Biological Warfare Agents – Walter Biederbick. Chapter 7: Influence Diagram Analysis of Nuclear and Radiological Terrorism – Charles D. Ferguson. Part IV. CRBN and Terrorism: Dilemmas of Prediction? Chapter 8: Approaching Threat Convergence from an Intelligence Perspective – Gregory F. Treverton. Chapter 9: Terrifying Landscapes: Understanding Motivations of Non-State Actors to Acquire and/or Use Weapons of Mass Destruction – Nancy K Hayden. Chapter 10: Conclusions – Magnus Ranstorp and Magnus Normark

About the Editors

Magnus Ranstorp is Research Director at the Center for Asymmetric Threat Studies the Swedish National Defence College. Magnus Normark is a Research Analyst at the Division of CBRN Defence and Security at the Swedish Defence Research Agency.

About the Series

Political Violence

This book series contains sober, thoughtful and authoritative academic accounts of terrorism and political violence. Its aim is to produce a useful taxonomy of terror and violence through comparative and historical analysis in both national and international spheres. Each book discusses origins, organisational dynamics and outcomes of particular forms and expressions of political violence.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Military / General
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Freedom & Security / International Security
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Freedom & Security / Terrorism