ICCT’s Key Publications: Commemorating the UN Disarmament Week 2022: Preventing the Proliferation of Weapons Among Terrorist Organisations

Monday 24 October 2022 marks the beginning of the United Nations (UN) disarmament week. Disarmament involves decreasing the numbers of all types of arms, from weapons of mass destruction down to small arms and light weapons (SALWs), to prevent future violent conflicts and the procurement of arms and explosives used by terrorists and violent extremists. In 2017, UN Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2370 , which called on all States to eliminate the supply of weapons to those involved in terrorist acts. In this resolution, the Council strongly condemns the continued flow of weapons — including SALWs, military equipment, and improvised explosive device (IED) components — to and between terrorists, their affiliates, associated groups, illegal armed groups and criminals. Learn more about the proliferation of weapons among terrorist groups and countermeasures to prevent it through ICCT’s key publications on the topic:  

1️⃣ Terrorist groups across the world have built the capcity and accsess to a range of dangerous arms and weapons. More concerning is the expression of increased interest, by a few of them, in procuring biological agensts, radioactive devices, and chemical and nuclear weapons. Therefore, a crucial point of research and policy becomes understanding and preventing the procurement of explosives by terrorists. This Chapter of the ICCT Handbook defines key terms and factors leading to favourable environments, and analyses how to best prevent procurement with a focus on Jihadist and Maoist groups.  

2️⃣ Identifying the nexus between small arms, light weapons, and terrorist financing plays a crucial role in understanding the depth of the situation. An estimated one billion SALW are in circulation worldwide, however, only 16 percent of it are recognised to be with security and defence forces. This poses a serious concern to local, regional, and global stability. So, what are the characteristics of SALW possession and acquisition by terrorist organisations? How is it used to finance terrorist activities? Ultimately, what can be done to combat this phenomenon? This Report answers these key questions by investigating the nexus between SALW and terrorist financing.  

3️⃣ The United States withdrew its troops from Afghanistan on 30th of August 2021. This resulted in the Taliban gaining a quick seize of control over both the country and large quantities of small arms and light weapons (SALW) left behind. This Policy Brief explores the purposes for which the Taliban use these newly acquired ‘spoils of war’  

4️⃣ The role Post-Qadhafi Libya has played in the proliferation of small arms and light weapons (SALW) not only in the Middle East and North Africa but also in other regions, as far as West Africa and the Horn of Africa is pivotal. How did the fall of the Qadhafi regime in 2011 result in its diverse military arsenal being spread across actors inside and outside the country? This Reportexplores the use of SALW by these non-state actors and the consequences this has had. 

5️⃣ Due to their immense capacity of impacting the target societies, the threat posed by Chemical, Biological, and Nuclear (CBRN) materials is ranked very high on the list of near future threats. In fact, the occurrence of two incidents, in July 2017 and 2018 respectively, saw plots involving a chemical improvised device and a highly dangerous biological toxin which alarmed several authorities. Hence, prevention the procurement of CBRN materials is integral to countering any future attacks by non-state actors that might involve the use of hazardous materials. This Chapter presents methods of prevention and facilitates solutions by uncovering gaps in academia.