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Non-State actors’ pursuit of CBRN weapons: From motivation to potential humanitarian consequences

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Author: Meulenbelt, S.E. · Nieuwenhuizen, M.S.
Source:International Review of the Red Cross, 899, 97
Identifier: 533271
doi: DOI:10.1017/S1816383116000011
Keywords: CBRN · Non-state actors · Weaponization · Humanitarian consequences · Observation, Weapon & Protection Systems · CBRN - CBRN Protection · TS - Technical Sciences


This paper discusses non-State actors’ motivation and capacity to develop and use chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear (CBRN) improvised weapons in attacks, as well as the possible consequences of such use. Six types of groups have been identified as potential CBRN weapons users that may increasingly be able to acquire relevant CBRN weapons-related knowledge, skills and possibly materials. As technical barriers still form a gap between the theoretical possibility and the operational reality, any potential future CBRN attacks would most likely be crude,