Since the World War II, weapons have persistently acquired complexity in form, and their destruction intensities has continued to escalate (Combs, 2015). International leaders have played a role in the proliferation of these weapons, and most importantly with reference to the Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). Nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons have consistently posed threats to human life, to the environment and to the global economy. The effect of these weapons is terrible concerning human suffering, and induces long-term consequences that are irreversible.
According to the United States law, Weapons of Mass Destruction describes any explosives such as, bombs, grenades, explosive rockets, inflammables, poison gases, bombs and missiles, mines, and other devices that may function as the aforementioned devices. In addition, the list comprises of any weapons that causes damage or death by release of toxic or poisonous chemicals, disease-causing weapons, and weapons designed to release radioactive material with lethal effects on human life (Kort, 2010). Therefore, WMD describes all explosives, nuclear warheads (tank missiles and explosive rockets), biological, and radiological weapons. These weapons have large-scale impact on human life, infrastructure, and property.
Factoring the adverse effects impacted by these weapons, it is the role of international governments to control the proliferation of these weapons and hence protecting life and property. Understanding how these weapons are made, acquired, and distributed to execute terrorism attacks is imperative towards stemming the effects of violence on human life and international trade (Forest, 2015). This report will focus on the strategies adopted by terror groups in acquiring the above weapons, and shed light on the sources of terrorism funding. The author will focus on Al-Shabaab, a terror group under the umbrella of the Al-Qaeda.
Financing terrorism operations:
As Kelley (2014) espouses, the Al-Shabaab was established in 2006 as a jihadist movement that concentrated its violence operations in Somalia, with an attempt to subdue the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia. In 2008, its leader Ahmed Abdi Abdi Aw-Mohammed pledged allegiance to Al Qaeda and the prime objective of the global jihad, that is, violence to all pro-American states. With time, the group became transnational. According to the author, this evolution was marked by execution of terror attacks in Kampala Uganda, Ethiopia, Tanzania, and other multiple attacks in Kenya. As the expansion of terror activities continued, the need for a higher budget kept escalating with the need to fund violence on a higher notch.
The terror group has also relied on funding from disgruntled businesspersons and sympathizers both in Somalia and across the diaspora, who considers the current Somalia government as illegitimate. Moreover, other terror groups such as the Al Qaeda, sponsors and donors, individuals and charity groups have continued to fund the group’s activities. The funds are transferred through the Hawala Money Systems, an informal traditional remittance system that has always been used by the Islamic communities in transferring funds through the regular banks and couriers. The funds are disseminated into acquiring weapons and ammunitions, training, and recruiting new members, towards sustaining the Somalia insurgency and executing jihad against non-believers (Kelley, 2014).
Acquisition of weapons strategies:
According to a 2013 United Nations report, it is clear that Al-Shabaab receives massive weapons supplies from terror groups based in Yemen and Iran (Mohanty, 2012). Factoring that the group has direct links with other terror groups such as the Al Qaeda and Islamic State Militants (ISIS/ISILS) based in Iraq and Iran, the group places its purchases with these distribution networks and continuously receives weapons made in both Iran and North Korea. As Combs (2015) emphasizes, most of the weapons are grenades, rocket-propelled explosives, and assault rifles. The Somalia government has also been implicated with diverting most of these weapons to the Al-Shabaab warlords under suspicious circumstances.
With the established control and influence of over the Port of Kismayo, most of the weapons procurement transactions are conducted here. Shipping vessels deliver these weapons from Gulf countries, especially from Iran and Yemen into the Al-Shabaab custody. However, this does not imply that these countries deliver their home-manufactured weapons, which then complicates documenting the source of these weapons (Kelley, 2014). By destabilizing the functions and control of the Transitional Federal Government, particularly in the Northern region of Somalia Puntland, it becomes easier for terror groups to smuggle any kind of weapons along the smalls ports within the Somalia coastland into the country. This strategy has contributed to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction across Somalia, and consequently posing pronounced security risks across Eastern African countries.
The management of weapons and ammunition stockpiles is very critical towards safeguarding security and human life. Systematic abuses in weapons and ammunition management and distribution have and will continue to pose major setbacks in the fight against global terrorism and insecurity (Curley, 2012). As long as the international community continues to watch as countries abuse weapons management protocols, for example, by disseminating weapons of mass destruction to terror groups, the aspect of world security will forever remain elusive.
It is hence imperative to consider international trade embargos on weapons and ammunitions, and upholding strict measures in the access and management of weapons/ammunition stockpiles. In this regard, individual countries should frequently provide inventories and account for weapons shipments and stockpiles towards countering illicit manufacture and distribution of weapons of mass destruction (Kort, 2010).
Combs, C. C. (2015). Terrorism in the Twenty-First Century. Taylor and Francis.
Curley, R. (2012). Weapons of mass destruction. New York, NY: Rosen Pub.
Forest, J. J. F. (2015). The terrorism lectures: A comprehensive collection for students of terrorism, counterterrorism, and national security. Santa Ana, CA: Nortia Current.
Kelley, M. (2014). Terrorism and the growing threat of weapons of mass destruction: Al-Shabaab. Hamburg, Germany: Anchor Academic Publishing.
Kort, M. (2010). Weapons of mass destruction. New York: Facts on File.
Mohanty, N. (2012). Radicalism in Islam: Resurgence and ramifications. Lanham, Md: University Press of America.