chapter  10
Trading the Tools of Terror: Armed Groups and Light Weapons Proliferation in Southeast Asia
Pages 23

Since the terrorist attacks of September 2001, much of the international community's counterterrorism efforts have focused on weapons of mass destruction (WMD). The fear that terrorists might use a radiological, chemical, or biological weapon to attack a heavily populated target such as a major Western city has provoked a concerted international effort to control access to these technologies. 1 Indeed, the U.S. and U.K. invasion of Iraq in March 2003 was justified in large part as a means of preventing terrorists from gaining access to "the world's most dangerous weapons."2 But while efforts to control WMD have seized media attention, Anthony Cordesman notes that "one of the problems with asymmetric or terrorist warfare is you don't need highly sophisticated weapons to do a lot of damage."3 Rather, the weapons most commonly employed by terrorist groups around the globe continue to be small arms and light weapons-"weapons of individual destruction" as one writer has dubbed them.4 Controlling access to these arms, along with ammunition and explosives, is a challenging but critically important part of any effective counterterrorism strategy.5