(Slate) Daniel Benjamin - The downing of two helicopters in Iraq should send a shudder through anyone who flies, even if they never board anything but commercial wide-body airliners. Removing the locks from Iraq's enormous stores of armaments has virtually ensured that some of these arms will wind up in the hands of terrorists who will want to use them outside the current war zone. Though rocket-propelled grenades pose a real threat, especially at unsecured airports, shoulder-fired missiles are far more dangerous because of their greater range - some can strike aircraft 5,000 meters away - and the accuracy of their heat-seeking sensors. The Chinook that was shot down is believed to have been felled by an SA-7. In Afghanistan in the 1980s, U.S.-armed mujahideen using shoulder-fired missiles - mostly the more effective American-made Stinger, but also some captured SA-7s - destroyed at least 270 Soviet aircraft. At least two dozen terrorists groups, including al-Qaeda and Hizballah, are believed to possess shoulder-fired missiles. In January 2002, Israeli commandos boarded a freighter in the Red Sea that was carrying 40 tons of weapons, including four SA-7s, to Palestinians from Iran.

2003-11-12 00:00:00

Full Article


Visit the Daily Alert Archive