Nuclear Terrorism is One Step Away

Western Civilization’s worst fear is nuclear terrorism in the form of bombs, dirty and otherwise, detonated in populated European, Russian, American or Israeli cities by Jihadi terrorists.

The idea that Middle Eastern Arab terrorists like those of Al Qaeda and/or ISIS or rebel Chechens stealing or buying black-market radioactive material -- Uranium or Plutonium – with which to build bombs frightens the political leadership of the entire West, Russia and Israel. Books and movies about such scenarios fill our bookshelves and television programming and they are not pure fition.

The Reuters News Agency on April 18 reported that the nation of Georgia has “detained six Georgian and Armenian citizens who were trying to sell $200 million worth of uranium-238.” That information alone is not enough.

Since the second largest nuclear power, the Soviet Union, broke up in 1991, the West has been concerned about the Soviet nuclear arsenal and how it was secured.

"The members of the group were planning to sell the nuclear material, uranium-238, for $200 million when they were detained," Reuters reported.

New information has surfaced, it is that the three Armenians were employees of the "Metsamor" Nuclear Power Plant, the Soviet Era Armenian nuclear energy plant that is almost 50 years old.  We can only assume the material came from Metsamor. Was it stolen or was it given over to the three by the Armenian nuclear agency for a share of the $200 million the material was expected to bring on the black-market?

Armenia and its government are so insolvent observers note that only Russian cash in the form of rent paid on the Russian Army’s sprawling base in Armenia and the facts that Russia pays for Armenia’s border guards and national air defenses keep the Armenian government in business.

As of this report, Georgia State Security has not detected who the prospective buyer or buyers were but a process of deduction and the prospective sale price of $200 million eliminates Israel, the Arab Sunni states, Turkey, Cypress or even Shia Iran. That leaves what is left of Al-Qaeda and the “Caliphate” of ISIS or ISEL. What we do know is that the April 18 report of the arrests did not mention that the nuclear smugglers were arrested in a “sting”operation in which Georgian Security officers presented themselves as buyers from Middle Eastern terrorist organizations. That report originated in Armenia  and appeared in the “The WorldPost” (the Huffington Post” in an article written by Armine Sahakyan who is a human rights activist and correspondent for the Post based in Armenia.

Sahakyan reports that this arrest is not a new experience involving Armenians. Attempts by Armenians to smuggle black-market-bound nuclear material occurred in 2003, 2010 and 2014. This episode is the latest. This time the three smugglers were employees of the national Armenian nuclear plant, Metsamor. In 2014 one of the smugglers apprehended was a scientist at the Yerevan Institute of Physics. Yerevan is the capital of Armenia.

For the moment, potential target cities and populations in Israel, Europe and the United States can relax and be thankful that the $50 million dollars the United States granted the nation of Georgia to buy and use sophisticated nuclear/radiation detection equipment has worked well. Armenian attempts to smuggle nuclear material through Georgia are necessary because Armenia is land-locked and Georgia has ports on the Black Sea that enable smugglers to move contraband to the world.

If the Georgian Security people pulled off their “sting” by posing as Middle Eastern Arab terrorist buyers, isn’t that an indication that there are real Arab terrorist buyers in the market to buy contraband nuclear material, the material needed to build bombs, dirty and otherwise? Where there are sellers, there are buyers.

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