The Threat of Nuclear Attack

By Sean Osborne, Associate Director, Military Affairs

19 March 2008: Given the nature of how international leaders and their official spokespersons will habitually speak with calm reassurance on the subject of the threat posed by rogue states proliferating or obtaining nuclear weapons technology or of the oft repeated threat issued by Al Qaeda concerning nuclear weapons attacks being the solution to destroying western nations or civilization, it was nevertheless quite incredible to see in just the past 24 hours multiple reports referencing the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, and Germany’s Chancellor, Angela Merkel, speaking so directly to this very real threat. What is the impetus for such commentary being made while officially neither offered any hint of actual intelligence data confirming the threat. We in the United States should recall the “gut feeling” talked about by Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff last July, to say nothing about similarly toned statements issued by the Vice President or former DIRCIA Tenet. Without any real specifics being referenced, do we now have the leaders of the UK and Germany confirming that they have also experienced similar gut feelings? Or is there something more, some real-world impetus for these comments? And I wonder, why now?

The common thread in all of these statements resolves to the nuclear activities of the Islamic Republic of Iran and by extension to their terrorist proxies, primarily Al Qaeda and Hezbollah. We saw reports within the past week referencing 50kg (110 lbs) of uranium valued at $2.5 million dollars in the hands of FARC communist rebels along the periphery of Colombia’s borders and of Hugo Chavez bankrolling these rebels to the tune of $300 million. Don’t think for a minute that FARC plans to dirty bomb Bogota or any other Colombian city they hope to govern one day. That uranium has another purpose and destiny located elsewhere. At the time of these OSINT revelations I noted privately that the close proximity of the FARC, Chavez and Hezbollah in Venezuela probably does not bode well at all because Hezbollah was imported to Venezuela directly from Iran and Lebanon. Again, Iran and its nuclear weapons program appear to be the nexus of the current threat and the proliferation of this threat if not its executor are the terrorist proxies.

I also note that the most recent references to the Iranian nuclear threat were made virtually on the eve of the end of the 40-day mourning period following the killing in Damascus of master-terrorist and Hezbollah military commander Imad Fayez Mughniyeh, as well as the severe case of jitters still present in Washington, D.C. when it is over flown by a wayward small private aircraft. None of this is by accident nor is it unrelated in my opinion. Western leaders seem to know something is coming and generally where it is coming from, but offer no clue with respect to timing. If there was ever a time for increased and incessant vigilance on the part of the public there is no time like the present.

By the way, has any body seen Adnan el-Shukrijumah?