The recent sound up of nearly 200 al
Qaeda terrorists in Saudi Arabia, revealed that the terrorists were quite
enthusiastic about making, and using, "fertilizer bombs." This pattern has been
noted with al Qaeda cells in Britain and the United States (where the FBI
raided one cell in the 1990s, while they were mixing the fertilizer and fuel
oil, to create the explosive mixture) as well. Many computers, and much email,
was captured along with all these terrorists, and the subject of fertilizer
bombs came up again and again.
So Saudi Arabia has decided to make it much more
difficult to obtain fertilizer (which tends to contain a lot of the nitrates
that make things go "boom" ) and other chemical concoctions that can be easily
turned into explosives. Only four firms will be allowed to import these
chemicals, and buyers must be licensed as well. This will not make it
impossible for terrorists to get these materials, but by infusing the chemicals
with inert chemical markers (sort of a chemical fingerprint) and creating a
prominent paper trail, it will make it much easier to track down those
responsible. Knowing this, fewer people will be willing to risk getting involved.
Taking a bribe is one thing, getting your head cut off because of terrorist
activities is quite another.