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ARLINGTON, Va. — The rocket attacks Friday on two U.S. Navy ships in Jordan are typical of terrorist attacks to come, an associate professor at the Naval War College said Monday.

“What this demonstrates is that terrorists are always willing to try something different, and whenever they get access to technology they are willing to exploit it,” said Marc Genest, who teaches strategy and policy of war at the Newport, R.I., college.

Since terrorists attacked the USS Cole in October 2000, the Middle East has seen an influx of weapons, such as the rockets fired Friday at the USS Ashland and USS Kearsarge, Genest said.

“The region is itself is a theater war, and in a theater of war you have a proliferation of weapons,” he said.

The weapons likely came from rogue nations and black markets, which may have become more plentiful as the United States sent forces to the Middle East, Genest said.

Also since 2000, terrorists who had been based in Afghanistan in the 1990s have fanned out across the region and set up their own cells, Genest said. He said camps in Afghanistan were designed to train terrorists how to establish their own terrorist franchises.

With the onset of globalization, terrorist groups such as al-Qaida and rogue nations such as Iran can coordinate arms sales over the Internet as well as trade notes on what weapons and tactics work best, he said.

Friday’s attacks marked an escalation in the technology terrorists use, and the trend will not stop, Genest said.

“In their view this is total war, so there aren’t any weapons that they will preclude from their arsenal. They will use everything at their disposal,” he said.

To stop terrorists from getting their hands on newer and better weapons, the U.S. needs to cut off terrorist funding and pick apart al-Qaida’s hierarchy, Genest said.

The United States also has to acknowledge that Friday’s terrorist attacks mark a new era for U.S. troops in the battlefield and U.S. citizens at home, he said.

“We have to get used to the idea that this is going to be the norm, not the exception,” he said.


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