Nuclear Weapons Proliferation and Terrorism: Law, Politics and Theory




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This dissertation is about nuclear weapons proliferation by states and threat of nuclear terrorism arising from non-state actors. It comprises three distinct papers. Paper 1 (Chapter 1) discusses applicability of international law of non-proliferation of nuclear weapons to non-state actors. Specifically, it focusses on the ability of international law to constrain non-state actors’ activities that can potentially lead to nuclear terrorism and to punish non-state actors if they commit nuclear terrorism. Paper 2 (Chapter 2) is about causes of nuclear weapons proliferation by states. Using the methodology of case studies, it focuses on Iran, North Korea, and South Korea to comprehend whether Scott Sagan’s security model, domestic politics model, and normative model apply in these states’ attempts to acquire nuclear weapons. Paper 3 (Chapter 3) studies theories that shed light on terrorists’ motivation to acquire nuclear weapons for perpetrating nuclear terrorism. The specific focus in this paper is on three case studies of Aum Shinrikyo, Al Qaeda, and ISIS, examined in light of Dumas’ taxonomy of terrorist groups’ characteristics. Together, these three papers view the issue of nuclear weapons proliferation from three different angles.



Nuclear weapons (International law), Nuclear nonproliferation, Terrorism (International law), Nuclear terrorism, Non-state actors (International relations)


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