Transnational terrorism: unlimited means?



Publication Details

A. Dolnik, ''Transnational terrorism: unlimited means?'' in J. Saikia & E. Stepanova(ed), Terrorism: Patterns of Internationalization (2009) 210-230.


Since the mid-1990s, the possibility of the use of chemical, biological radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) weapons by non-state actors ha~ beco~e a t?pic of an extensive academic and public debate. Originally, the dISCUSSIO~ ~~ncentrated primarily on capabilities, where the alleged ease of acqUIsItIOn of CBRN materials following the break-up of the Sovietynion as well as the arguably more widespread availability of expertIse needed for the production and weaponization of such agents were the main sources of concern. Later, the debate was brought to a more realistic level through the acknowledgement of technical hurdles associated with the successful delivery of CBRN agents, as well as the possible motivational constraints involved in the decision of terrorist groups to use such weapons. Another shift in the debate was represented by the claim that the rise of a phenomenon known as the 'new terrorism' had eroded these constraints. In other words, the 'new terrorists'-typically defined primarily by the religious nature of their ideology-were believed to be unconstrained by the political considerations that had traditionally led secular terrorist organizations to place limits on their violent activities (Hoffman 1998).

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