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Are We Ready to Smoke bin Laden Out with Thermobaric Bombs?

YOWUSA.COM, 03-October-01
Marshall Masters


Marine Corps Gazette, August 2000
Fuel-Air Explosives and Grozny 2000

Following a deliberate advance across the northern Chechen plains in October through December 1999, the Russian Army closed on the Chechen capital city of Grozny and the foothills of the imposing Caucasus mountains.  There, the advance stopped. The Russians began the new century with a renewed assault on Grozny. The Russians continued their deliberate urban advance and, after forty days of fighting, the smoking ruins of Grozny were theirs. Unlike the first battle for Grozny (in late 1994-early 1995) or the recapture of the city by the Chechens (in 1996), the Russians now used quantities of fuel-air weapons, along with iron bombs, surface-to-surface missiles with high-explosive warheads, massed artillery and tank fire. These flattened large sections of the city and crushed the opposing force. 

The Russian use of tactical, ground-launched thermobaric weapons has taken the wraps off of an effective weapons type that is currently being purchased or developed by a variety of countries. Thermobaric weapons will be present on future battlefields. They will present particular problems for defending units or units bunched up on complex terrain such as forest, jungle or cities. Medical units will face problems treating mass burn and crushing injuries. Technology offers no quick counters, so unit survival may depend on tactics and drills, improved counter-battery procedures and use of camouflage and deception measures.

The Russians openly state they would never sell such weapons to terrorists, but would that prevent bin Laden from obtaining FAE weapons as well from someone like the Chinese?

Rediff, February 12, 1999
Taliban-China deal puzzles diplomats

The diplomatic community in South Asia is puzzled by a military co-operation agreement signed between the Taliban militia in Afghanistan and the People's Republic of China. 

Diplomatic sources said the agreement was signed on December 10 and that the agreement was not signed between the two governments but between the Taliban military commanders and representatives of China's People's Liberation Army.  

According to the agreement, the PLA has agreed to:

i) Repair and maintain equipment captured by the Taliban militia from adversaries.

ii) The PLA would assist in raising and training the Taliban armed forces. Initial, 25,000 troops are to be trained.

iii) The PLA would provide training facilities for the Taliban's air force pilots.

iv) The PLA would provide from its own funds about 10 million US dollars to improve infrastructure for the Taliban armed forces.

v) Initial training and maintenance of equipment are to done at Taxila in Pakistan.

In return, the Taliban has given an undertaking that it will not provide any training  to Chinese Muslims in China's Xinjiang province and that it will assist the  Chinese authorities maintain places of worship and madrasas as in China.

If not through the Chinese, bin Laden could also possibly obtain FAE technology or weapons through:

  • Iraq, which is rumored to have FAE weapons
  • China, which definitely has FAE, weapons
  • The Russian mafia, who many reliable defense experts suspect of already selling a handful of Russian-made suitcase nukes to Iraq
  • The Chechen fighters who may have captured FAE weapons used against capital city of Grozny the Russian Red Army

We're Entering Dangerous Waters

Until recently, America always looked to the Pacific and Atlantic oceans as safety buffers.  On September 11, 2001, that notion of safety went the way of the dinosaurs, buggy whips, real Coca-Cola and Christmas savings accounts. 

The longer we equivocate and try to fight as clean a war as possible, the more likely we will be to see these weapons being used on our own country.  The recent blockbuster film Traffic, showed us how easy it is for drug smugglers to bring huge shipments of narcotics into the country.  We are up against a terrible enemy and we must be equally terrible. 

If America and its allies use thermobaric weapons to smoke out bin Laden, we will be sure to enjoy a short-term success.  However, if we do not follow that up with an extremely strong and continued action it will only be a matter of weeks or months before the same kind of weapons are visited upon innocent Americans. 

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