MODERN HUMAN BOMBS
The Biological weapon is not a new category of security challenges; it is a fact which follows the history of warfare since the early ages of mankind. The world’s evidence is a full of reports about theoretical misuse of microbes in diplomatic pressure or practical abuse of biological agents against the enemy. The Biological weapon arsenal has been always reserved for the states and their political and security interests but with the current asymmetric conflicts, non-state subjects are also able to threaten or even to use the microorganisms in their own limited operations.
Nowadays, Islamic violent madness turned into terrorism activities without borders under the name of ISIS-DAESH has caused that the whole west is in a panic mood from the next step of militants. The online propaganda and strong jihad marketing made ISIS being some kind of dark celebrity. It is a new phase of a terrorism, which feeds itself through the social media barking and journalism cover in tabloid manners. I would like to think of it like about some provincial actors who learnt that even the bad advertizing is an advertizing. You are in media and you exist. You are not in media, you are forgotten. That is the spirit of high-tech 21st century. That is exactly what ISIS masterminds know and what they practice to not be blotted out.
In 2014, almost all media and so called media came out with the “military experts” analyzes that ISIS is planning to attack the West with the deadly virus. First of all, they haven’t been satisfied to write that Islamic terrorists have some deadly microbe, ready to be sent to the evil western world, they were sure that ISIS has Ebola virus. We should keep in mind that in 2014 the globe got the Ebola phobia, which was a typical response of the international community on the Ebola epidemic almost pandemic success.
The terrorism managers of the ISIS have also known that popularity of Ebola virus and that possible connection with them could bring an absolute top range in media all over the world. It was easy to make a propaganda video and to inform people that they will infect themselves with Ebola virus and will come to some happy western country. They will spread the queen of deadly viruses and they will die among some innocent people.
Capt. Al Shimkus, Ret., a Professor of National Security Affairs in the U.S. Navy War College believes that such a kind of threat is real because an ordinary Islamic fanatic could easily go to the Ebola hot zone, catches a virus, get sick and then like a human carrier finds a way to some target country. Some other experts also agree about this potential risk of Ebola being misused as a biological weapon.
We all know that suicide terrorism is an important element of Islamic terrorism agenda. ISIS is recruiting young brainwashed Muslims and skills them to become a suicide bombers and to die for Allah. Dying for Allah is praise, the core of ISIS vocabulary and indoctrination machine. But, dying in a specific way, by being infected with the horrible disease, even if that means that infidels will also be infected, is a science fiction for islamists, for now. Why? First of all, they used on old-fashioned methods of dealing with enemies. They have experiences in that field and they improve it in technical way but they still haven’t adopted non-conventional ideas in their terrorism’s handbook. They are aware of biological weapons possibility but they are not qualified to “play on that ground”. They are still afraid. That doesn’t mean they will not overcome that fear and make some nightmare scenario with microbes but that also doesn’t mean they will hurry up to find Ebola virus vector and to jump on the airplane for London, Berlin or NYC, having so many social interactions in the meantime. Even if that is case, it is not a primal goal of terrorists to go now to the West Africa, to infect themselves so they could be able to infect the Western world on their trip back. Many technical circumstances should have been in order so this project could have been realized. Epidemical procedures in the West Africa, set by WHO, don’t make this potential activity easier but harder. Ebola is not a cold; it is also not a souvenir you can smuggle. They could bring the bottle of liquid infected with the virus, but any air plane screening process would complicate it and terrorists would need more background and logistic support than usually.
Ebola is a very dangerous disease and jihadists who are hungry for popularity aren’t so interested in science jihad but more in daily battles and war strategies they are already familiar with.
However, the thought about the new dimension of Islamic terrorism, shaped in suicide biological terrorism, should be taken into the serious consideration and should have been analyzed and activities in that domain should be monitored and stopped as a threat. The U.S. has already started the glorious $5.6billion Project BioShield. On July 21, 2004, President George W. Bush signed the Project BioShield Act of 2004 into law as a part of greater strategy against weapons of mass destruction threats. The main purpose is to research and to develop the effective counter biological terrorism measures. This project shows the security responsibility of the American government and also the high level of bio security alerts in American system and society as well. That is a thin difference between being in panic and being ready.
ISIS ability to misuse some dramatically dangerous virus or bacteria against the western population is a real possibility but also not the only one. This possibility requires many technical advantages which don’t work for those Islamic terrorists, especially not now when the whole world is aware of them.
Sandra Maksimovic-Sara, has an MA in Biological Counter Terrorism Studies, with special interests of researching and writing about Biological Weapons, Biosecurity and Biodefense. Sandra hails from Serbia.
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