In the last six months, two different incidents of the smuggling of nuclear material have been intercepted in Georgia. In the most recent, a group of three Georgians and three Armenians attempted to sell a small amount of uranium, estimated at $27 a pound for the fanciful price of two million dollars. At the Daily Beast, Anna Nemtsova explains how poor Georgians and Armenians are.
According to the World Bank, up to 27 percent of the Georgian population and up to 37 percent of Armenians live below the poverty line. The Caucasus are full of men desperate to make money, even if that involves the risk of imprisonment.
More to the point, Ms. Nemtsova writes:
Chief among the concerns of nuclear watchdog agencies is the idea that terrorist groups such as ISIS could be trying to obtain radioactive material via the Georgian black market.
Obviously, the odds are prohibitively stacked against the Islamic State building a nuclear weapon. But they could build a radiological, or “dirty,” bomb, which, if detonated, would cause panic and chaos if not mass fatalities. All the more reason to stop dithering about what to do with the Islamic State and make winding it down — not bombing it to smithereens — an absolute priority for the West, as well as for the Middle East.