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Political Manipulation and Weapons of Mass Destruction: Terrorism, Influence and Persuasion

Cole, Ben

978 1 78453 885 9
List price(s):
120.00 USD
75.00 GBP

Publication date:
30 November 2017

Short description: 

Essential analysis of al Qaeda's CBRN weapon strategy

Full description: 

Concerns about CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radioactive, Nuclear) weapons have featured prominently in both political debates and media reporting about the ongoing threat from al Qaeda since 9/11. This book provides a chronological account of al Qaeda's efforts to acquire a CBRN weapon capability, and the evolution of the al Qaeda leadership's approach to actually using CBRN weapons, set against the context of the politicisation of the threat of CBRN terrorism in US security debates. Ben Cole explores how the inherently political nature of terrorist CBRN threats has helped to shape al Qaeda's approach to CBRN weapons, and shows how the heightened political sensitivities surrounding the threat have enabled some governments to manipulate it in order to generate domestic and international support for controversial policies, particularly the 2003 invasion of Iraq. He assesses the relative success of the al Qaeda leadership's political approach to CBRN weapons, together with the relative success of efforts by the US, UK and Russian governments to exploit the al Qaeda CBRN threat for their wider political purposes. Shedding new light on al Qaeda's tactics and strategy, this book will be essential reading for scholars of terrorism and extremism studies.

Table of contents: 

AbbreviationsIntroduction1 Opportunism, 1994-62 The US and the Politics of CBRN Terrorism, 1995-93 Antecedents: Afghanistan, 1996-84 Project al Zabadi and the Pursuit of Nuclear Weapons5 Al Qaeda's Strategy begins to Emerge, 1998-20016 Opting for Deterrence 1998-20017 The End of Project al Zabadi8 Re-establishing a CBRN Weapon Capability, 2002-39 Al Qaeda Announces its Strategy 2002-310 Constraining the Threat, 2002-311 The Politics of CBRN Terrorism and the Invasion of Iraq12 Western Uncertainty about the Threat, 2004-713 Losing Control of the Threat, 2004-714 Breakdown in Control, 2007-915 Influencing the New President, 2009-1016 A New Threat Emerges, 2010-15ConclusionBibliographyIndex


Ben Cole is Honorary Research Fellow in the Department of Psychological Sciences, University of Liverpool. He specialises in the process by which individuals become radicalised into violent extremism; terrorist decision making with regard to CBRN terrorism; and real-time monitoring and analysis of conflicts and terrorist movements using online media. He worked on the development of the PVE tool and guidance, and lectures regularly on CBRN terrorism. He is the author of The Changing Face of Terrorism (I.B.Tauris), co-author of Martyrdom: Radicalisation and Terrorist Violence Among British Muslims and editor of Conflict, Terrorism and the Media in Asia.



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