Technologically adept espionage thrillers, significantly these that target false threats from Al Qaeda, can generally seize you and by no means allow you to go. The nervousness they generate is existential and visceral. They carry again unhealthy recollections of 9/11. And so they reinforce our concern that unhealthy issues generally actually do occur in our flawed world. Most terrifying of all are novels that blend these two issues that we hope will by no means come collectively in actual life: Al Qaeda terrorists and atomic bombs.
The fundamental premise of a latest, well timed novel is a straightforward one: to avenge the dying of Osama Bin Laden in Could 2011, Ayman al-Zawahiri, the designated successor Most Chief of AQ, orders his minions to seek for, discover, and buy a "suitcase nuke" within the big and amorphous black armaments markets of the previous USSR. Armed with this bomb, Al-Zawahiri will then extrapolate exponentially AQ's energy to do unhealthy issues everywhere in the world.
There are a selection of credible eventualities that could possibly be put ahead for the bomb's acquisition, however these which might be most compelling of all can be actual information wherever doable. The Russians made an "RA" sequence of moveable tactical nuclear arms developed to be used in opposition to NATO in locations just like the Fulda Hole. Anybody who does a "wiki" search of RA moveable nuclear units will rapidly see that these bombs exist in actuality and weren’t a part of the imaginings of any novelist.
There are such bombs on the earth, and a few of them haven’t been mothballed.
Absolutely one of the vital worrisome points associated to Al Qaeda immediately, greater than a decade after the 9/11 tragedy in New York, is that the fear consortium will attempt for a spectacular encore, and that the unhealthy guys will accomplish that by going to nice lengths to accumulate a nuclear weapon. How would they do this? The place would they go? How a lot wouldn’t it price? These are the important thing questions any espionage novel coping with this matter must reply.
There was a time the place the previous Soviet Union and the USA, specifically, maintained arsenals of nuclear weapons that have been orders of magnitude larger than they’re immediately. As lately because the Gorbachev / FirstBush period, the us promised to repatriate to Moscow some 30,000 nuclear weapons unfold by way of the us consumer states, nations that quickly grew to become unbiased after the autumn of the Berlin Wall.
Thirty thousand bombs is a variety of bombs. If just one per cent of these nukes went "lacking" because the previous Soviet Union was changing into unglued and high-ranking army males – generals and even lowly colonels – have been stockpiling Kalashnikovs, SAMs, and different options to their evaporating pensions and 401 (ok) plans, that one per cent would quantity to some 300 nuclear weapons probably now available on the market on the market to the best bidder. Some could already be within the incorrect fingers.
Does anybody actually consider that absolutely 99 per cent of these 30,000 bombs have been safely dismantled? Absolutely the quantity that have been "misplaced" is way larger than one per cent. That means that there could also be way over 500 "free nukes" floating concerning the arms bazaars of central Asia. What would such a prize price? 5 million ? Ten million? Twenty million? What if it have been thirty million? Does anybody doubt a worldwide Al Qaeda group may increase thirty million ? A lot of Al Qaeda's funding has dried up, however how a lot cash the group may nonetheless increase is a query value pondering.
Though critics immediately frequently dismiss discuss of "suitcase nukes" as fodder for thriller writers like Salerno, no much less an skilled than former CIA Director George Tenet said unequivocally in his autobiography that "of all Al Qaeda's efforts to acquire different types of WMD, the primary Risk is the nuclear one. I’m satisfied that that is the place [AQ] wished to go. They perceive that bombs by automobiles, vans, trains and planes will get them some headlines, to make sure. But when they handle to set off a mushroom cloud, they may make historical past. "
The opposite space of specialised data that good fiction about shifting atomic bombs round must have a look at is the porosity of the world's intermodal container delivery trade. We’ve got all seen container ships loaded with these near-identical forty-foot metal bins. How many people notice that fewer than two per cent of them are inspected, even in the USA? What share is inspected in ports like Karachi?
We’re superb at inspecting and regulating our business plane. However we do a horrible job inspecting and regulating sea and land freight. That's most likely how a bomb would have delivered to the West. All of the specialists are warning of this, however till there may be an "occasion" of some type, whether or not a hit or a programmed failure, funds will seemingly not be made accessible to make the system safer.