While some Muslims are outraged for being the targets of disdain for the spread of the coronavirus in India, evidence around the world may justify a reasonable cause for a heightened sense alarm. The Saudi website, Elaph.com, has reported that Iranian militias infected with COVID-19 have been sent to the front lines of Syria to wage biological warfare against Syrian rebels and the international anti-ISIS coalition.
Biological weapons offer terrorist groups and rogue state collaborators of offensive biological warfare research like China, Iran, North Korea, Russia, and Syria a cost-effective means to threaten the military prowess of India, the United States, Israel, and others around the world.
The threat of a terrorist using this type of non-conventional weapon could easily create paralyzing amounts of fear and anxiety across the border of any nation state. The spread of COVID-19 shook many to the core as the world watched the virus quickly rise to the level a global pandemic.
In 1997, CNN obtained U.S. intelligence documents which revealed Osama bin Laden’s desire to obtain chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) weapons. The planning of attacks around the world was also included in the multi-volume Encyclopedia of Afghan Resistance. Entitled Manual on How to Make Chemical and Biological Weapons, the last book was distributed with the others on an unknown number of CD-ROMs. Over two decades later, can intelligence agencies assume the terrorists’ eagerness to use biological weapons has ceased?
After all, a substantial number of guidebooks and videos have been published in Arabic and English by terrorists to not only show how to acquire biological agents and how to use them, but to also provide religious justification for their weaponization.
The fear created by the Amerithrax letters that were mailed in 2001 to specific targets around the United States would pale in comparison to the fear associated with a large-scale biological attack from any terrorist group or rogue state with the motivation and operational capability to deliver a bioweapon.
While global jihadists scramble to keep the coronavirus from spreading into their organizations, any signs of weakness among their enemies will provide increased incentive to exploit their vulnerabilities.
Terrorist groups are particularly dangerous as there may come a day when these groups not only have the capability, but are also willing to roll the dice and risk a global pandemic for the greater good of the Muslim Ummah. If the security of nations like India, the United States, Israel, and other adversaries of Sharia could be severely compromised, the benefits would outweigh the costs in the minds of the jihadists.
Defence against biological warfare is extremely challenging. And the difficulty has been exposed in the world’s response to containing the coronavirus. It’s also quite alarming to consider the potentially covert capabilities of a biological weapons attack could spare terrorist groups and rogue states from government reprisal or military countermeasures should the source of a contagion remain undetected
Author: Terry Bishop
The Author specializes in a variety of topics related to the strategic influence of terrorism and subversion, counter-terrorism and national security. His many fields of interest and research include armed conflict and violence in South Asia with a specific focus on al-Qaeda in the [Indian] Subcontinent (AQS), the Taliban, and other Deobandi-linked terror groups