Al J. Venter has written an interesting book Allah’s Bomb: The Islamic Quest for Nuclear Weapons outlying the various ways in which Islamic countries and terrorists have sought to acquire nuclear weapons. These links include Iran acquiring nuclear power, poorly guarded nuclear material throughout the former Soviet Union, the AQ Khan nuclear smuggling operation that had dealings with North Korea and others, and South Africa’s completion of a uranium enrichment program meant for Kaddafi’s Libya. I don’t dispute the reality that some terrorist elements would have the desire for a nuclear weapon, but is the threat of an Islamic nuclear bomb real?
Iran despite toxic rhetoric knows a nuclear attack against the West would be met in kind and probably wouldn’t act as a sovereign state in the endeavor. So lets say we scratch individual states from the list because of the threat of mutual assured destruction. Do our Islamic enemies have the manpower or knowledge to carry out a nuclear weapons attack? While they may have knowledge, these Islamic groups want the war to end times…we are talking decades or centuries. Therefore, by detonating a nuclear bomb they would end the world in a chain reaction of events within moments, it just doesn’t seem their style.
They’d prefer to bleed the U.S. and our partners slowly as they’ve done in Iraq and Afghanistan while perpetrating smaller scale attacks throughout the globe against selected soft targets. There is something so final about a nuclear bomb and I don’t believe a modern state or terrorist group is willing to press for the endgame.