The Training of Terrorist Organizations


by Major David E. Smith USMC



Hiring or recruiting experts is an option for terrorist groups in

lieu of training their own members in difficult or technical subjects

that require years of rigorous study. This approach can be used by

organizations interested in obtaining skills in nuclear, biological, and

chemical weapons. Thousands of engineers graduate from Middle

Eastern universities every year and many join the ranks of the

unemployed. They are a great pool of potential disciples for the

numerous terrorist movements of the region.

Chemists and biologists possess requisite skills for developing

rudimentary chemical and biological weapons, both of which

constitute a great present danger to world security. Palestinian

groups have already threatened to employ chemical weapons.

Adnon Abu Jaber, who was arrested by the Israelis after the 2 May

l98O Hebron raid, admitted to having undergone training in Moscow,

and claimed this training had included chemical and biological

warfare courses.64 The PLF and PLFP-GC have menaced Cyprus by

stating that they might overfly the island and saturate it with aerosol

poisons. Those organizations are accumulating micro light and glider

aircraft that could provide them with that capability. "In l987

Colonel Ayu al Tayyib, the commander of force l7 of the PLO, stated

that his group had acquired chemical weapons and would use them

against Israel, if necessary. He claimed that some Palestinians have

been trained in the use of these weapons in other countries."65

Libya's chemical capabilities, as well as its support for terrorist

organizations, are well documented. They may well have provided

chemical training to surrogate organizations. It is less likely that the

Libyans would provide their proxies with actual chemical or

biological weapons.