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Posted: 12/8/2003 10:38:14 AM EDT
MSNBC

Arms made in Caucasus feared sold to terrorists

TIRASPOL, Moldova, Dec. 7 — In the ethnic conflicts that surrounded the collapse of the Soviet Union, fighters in several countries seized upon an unlikely new weapon: a small, thin rocket known as the Alazan. Originally built for weather experiments, the Alazan was transformed into a terror weapon, packed with explosives and lobbed into cities. Military records show that at least 38 Alazan warheads were modified to carry radioactive material, effectively creating the world’s first surface-to-surface dirty bomb. The warheads are not known to have been used. But now, according to experts and officials, they have disappeared.
THE LAST known repository was here, in a tiny separatist enclave known as Transdniester, which broke away from Moldova 12 years ago. The Transdniester Moldovan Republic is a sliver of land no bigger than Rhode Island located along Moldova’s eastern border with Ukraine. Its government is recognized by no other nation. But its weapons stocks — new, used and modified — have attracted the attention of black-market arms dealers worldwide. And they’re for sale, according to U.S. and Moldovan officials and weapons experts.
When the Soviet army withdrew from this corner of Eastern Europe, the weapons were deposited into an arsenal of stupefying proportions. In fortified bunkers are stored 50,000 tons of aging artillery shells, mines and rockets, enough to fill 2,500 boxcars.
Conventional arms originating in Transdniester have been turning up for years in conflict zones from the Caucasus to Central Africa, evidence of what U.S. officials describe as an invisible pipeline for smuggled goods that runs through Tiraspol to the Black Sea and beyond. Now, governments and terrorism experts fear the same pipeline is carrying nonconventional weapons such as the radioactive Alazan, and that terrorists are starting to tap in.
“For terrorists, this is the best market you could imagine: cheap, efficient and forgotten by the whole world,” said Vladimir Orlov, founding director of the Center for Policy Studies in Moscow, a group that studies proliferation issues.
Why the Alazan warheads were made is unknown. The urgent question — where are they now? — is a matter of grave concern to terrorism and nonproliferation experts who know the damage such devices could do. A dirty bomb is not a nuclear device but a weapon that uses conventional explosives to disperse radioactive materials, which could cause widespread disruption and expose people to dangerous radiation. Unlike other kinds of dirty bombs, this one would come with its own delivery system, and a 8-mile range. A number of terrorist groups, including al Qaeda, have sought to build or buy one.
While it has no nuclear bombs of its own, Transdniester is regarded by experts as a prime shopping ground for outlaw groups looking for weapons of every type. It is the embodiment of the gray zone, where failed states, porous borders and weak law enforcement allow the buying and selling of instruments of terror.

More at link.
Link Posted: 12/8/2003 10:39:51 AM EDT
I think Dredd308 has something to do with this.
Link Posted: 12/8/2003 10:50:14 AM EDT
They have lots of HK USP pistols in Transdniester Moldovan Republic that they can't even give away. [rofl2]
Link Posted: 12/8/2003 11:24:33 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/8/2003 11:24:50 AM EDT by Dredd308]
Originally Posted By MountainMan8: I think Dredd308 has something to do with this.
View Quote
Well, if a bunch of dirty dildos were missing, .gov would be knocking on your door looking for answers. [wave]
Link Posted: 12/8/2003 11:26:08 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/8/2003 11:28:42 AM EDT by Dredd308]
Originally Posted By innocent_bystander: They have lots of HK USP pistols in Transdniester Moldovan Republic that they can't even give away. [rofl2]
View Quote
Its a shame the werent glock missles, they would just KB on the launch pad. [;D]
Link Posted: 12/8/2003 11:31:47 AM EDT
There's nothing to fear from a weapon like this. It can only carry enough Nuclear material to be a nuisance. It's not intercontinental. It's as scary as a grenade with a glowing watch dial taped to it.
Link Posted: 12/8/2003 12:00:00 PM EDT
I think that they are blowing this way out of proportion. What's so great about being able to lob a small dirty warhead from 8 miles away on a ballistic trajectory ? I'd be much more concerned about a larger suitcase weapon carefully placed in the subway, football stadium, unsecure area of airport, etc. I mean after all a suitcase draws much less attention than those fins and rocketmotor sticking out of your trunk.
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