Terrorism and the Growing Threat of Weapons of Mass Destruction

Terrorism and the Growing Threat of Weapons of Mass Destruction


eBook - 2014
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From 2006 to 2011, al-Shabaab has conducted over 300 attacks and has become Africa's most feared militant group. Because this organization is highly unpredictable, it is crucial to assess the likelihood of al-Shabaab deploying weapons of mass destruction (WMD) against the U.S. or U.S. interests worldwide. This qualitative case study explores the likelihood of al-Shabaab obtaining or creating weapons of mass destruction and theorizes on which type of WMD it would likely consider deploying. After analyzing the power of chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) materials; al-Shabaab's probability of attainability of these materials; and the complexity of building CBRN weapons, among other factors, it was assessed that al-Shabaab is likely to, and has the resources and support, to deploy chemical weapons of mass destruction.   Auszug aus dem Text Textsample: CHAPTER 3, METHODOLOGY: The purpose of this qualitative case study was to explore the probability of al-Shabaab obtaining weapons of mass destruction and to theorize which type of WMD it would likely consider deploying based on regional support, probability of attainability, and current organization capabilities. The issue is explored by understanding the characteristics and attainability of chemical agents and toxins, biological agents and toxins, radiological materials, and nuclear materials. Additionally imperative to the study was the understanding of regional support to al-Shabaab. Combined, this information was used to answer the research question. The previous two chapters presented the background of the problem, the purpose, the nature of the study, the importance of the study, and reviewed the related literature. This chapter provides an examination of the methodology used to conduct this research. The following is an overview of the research design, the appropriateness of
the design, the data collection procedures, and a description of how the data was analyzed. Research Design: This research used a combination of descriptive and exploratory studies to develop further questions and reach conclusions. The methodology employed was deductive, relying heavily on qualitative research. The goal of qualitative research is to 'gain insight and explore the depth, richness, and complexity inherent in the phenomenon" (University of Missouri 2012). Using this method, exploration of al-Shabaab, weapon materials, advantages and disadvantages of weapon use, and thorough analysis of realistic probabilities was achieved. This subjective approach was used to provide meaning to the literature available on this topic, determine gaps, and draw conclusions to fill those gaps. This research method was the appropriate choice because the researcher sought to explore the possibility of al-Shabaab obtaining and deploying weapons of mass destruction. Only through this exploration could the researcher achieve the goal of understanding what makes this a real-world possibility. Appropriateness of Design: Qualitative research is a 'primarily an inductive process of organizing data into categories and identifying patterns (relationships) among categories" (McMillan and Schumacher 1993, 479). Therefore, this type of research is appropriate when a research question cannot be answered by a simple yes or no. In this research, qualitative research method that relies 17 heavily upon document review was the appropriate choice because the topic of the study is complex. Interviews were not practical during this research for two reasons: the probability of obtaining truthful responses is very low and direct observation of the group was not logistically feasible-even if it had been feasible, the dangers outweigh the benefit for the researcher. Quantitative
methods are best used to 'test relationships, describe, examine cause and effect relations" (University of Missouri 2012). Quantitative methods or mixed-methods of research were not appropriate choices because all the data necessary to answer the research question is in narrative form. In order to explore the issue of al-Shabaab's potential for using asymmetric warfare, narrative based documents were used and a qualitative research case study method was deemed the most appropriate. Data Collection Procedures: When conducting qualitative research, Marshall and Rossman (2006) explain the four primary methods for gathering information: setting participation, direct observation, in-depth interviews, and content analysis of documents and materials. Setting participation entails 'firsthand involvement in the social world chosen for study…[allowing] the researcher to hear, to see, and to begin to experience reality as the participants do" (100). Direct observation entails 'systematic noting and recording of events, behaviors, and artifacts (objects) in the social setting chosen for study" (98). In-depth interviews uncover the participant's views all while respecting the manner in which the participant frames and structures his or her responses (Marshall and Rossman 2006). Content analysis of documents and materials 'is an unobtrusive method, rich in portraying the values and beliefs of participants in the setting" (107). Content analysis of documents of materials was the primary method for gathering information. Most of the literature relied upon was peer-reviewed scholarly published work; however, it was necessary to review non-scholarly work as well. A combination of primary and secondary data was used as available to the researcher. Primary data includes information provided by direct sources. Secondary data includes information provided by third
parties either by account of events or recollection of past experiences. Due to the sensitivity of the topic of discussion, there was more secondary data as opposed to the preferred primary data. Data was collected based on the general topics following the hierarchy table established by the researcher to ensure the desired focus areas were explored. 18 Data Analysis: Using various unclassified sources, the researcher reviewed and analyzed literature that explored the nature and the effects of biological, chemical, radiological, nuclear, and explosive weapons, which fall under the category of WMD as defined in US Code. In this review, consideration was given to the detectability and ease of acquisition of materials. The material, cost, type of facility, the level of knowledge or expertise, and the potential end result of each of these types of weapons was also analyzed in efforts to eliminate the types of WMD that are the least probable. Using deductive methods, the researcher explored why certain groups are more prone to use chemical and biological weapons, which may pose a larger threat particularly because most countries are ill-prepared to deal with this level of public health menace (Geiger 2001, Perri 2006). Deductions where then made from the analyzed data. Data was organized by categories and subcategories using hierarchy style charting for each class of WMD and ist components, as identified in Chapter 4. The same was applied to the organization al-Shabaab and the surrounding countries that could potentially offer immediate logistical support. As questions arose or as inconsistencies were discovered, floating blocks were marked by different color shadings. Once the determination was made as to which surrounding country could or is more likely to offer support to al-Shabaab, all others were discarded and the focus remained on the
probable/possible country of interest. Microsoft Word and notecards were the primary methods used to store research data. Patterns in the data were then analyzed and interpreted. These patterns were then compared to the existing research to ascertain if gaps in the existing research could be filled.   Biographische Informationen Maria Kelley is a well-rounded intelligence professional with experience in four distinct areas of analysis as both a service member and a civilian. While deployed she was devoted to understanding and dismantling terrorist networks and analyzing their ideology. She holds two Bachelor degrees in Law and was inducted into Golden Key International Honour Society for academic excellence. While earning her Master's in Intelligence with a concentration in Analysis she was again academically recognized and inducted into Pi Gamma Mu. She is currently working on expanding upon her research on WMDs and applying it to other terrorist organizations. Her hobbies include dancing, crafts, sewing, fitness but her favorite is spending time with her two sons and loving husband.
Publisher: Hamburg : Diplomica Verlag, 2014
Edition: 1st ed
Copyright Date: ©2014
ISBN: 9783954896592
Branch Call Number: Electronic book
Characteristics: 1 online resource (71 pages)
Additional Contributors: ProQuest (Firm)


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