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Sunday, 22 February 2015

The Islamic State Has Reportedly Acquired A Cache Of Deadly Chemical Weapons In Libya — Which Pose A Significant Threat To European Security

The Islamic State Has Reportedly Acquired A Cache Of Deadly Chemical Weapons In Libya — Which Pose A Significant Threat To European Security According to a report in this morning’s DailyMailOnline, a former British Army officer is warning that the militant Islamic group, the Islamic State, “has acquired a cache of deadly chemical weapons — sarin and mustard gas — after recently defeating government forces in southern and central Libya.” Former British Army officer Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, told the DailyMailOnline that “the weapons remain dangerous, even though they are likely to be ten years old and in a degenerated state. Mr. de Bretton-Gordon based his warning on Syrian President Assad’s use of one tonne of sarin in Ghouta, Syria, in August 2013, which killed as many as 1,000 people.”

“Speaking from the Gulf, where he advises the Iraqi government on chemical weapons, Mr. de Bretton-Gordon said: “We saw what a single tonne of not very good quality sarin did in Ghouta. While we don’t know how much the Islamic State acquired; and, though the Libyan sarin dates back to the Qaddafi era, it would still have a toxicity; and, pose a danger. Libya is virtually Europe; and so, the fear factor from a European perspective is huge. I should think the security forces will be watching this situation very closely.”

“The Islamic State has used chlorine cylinders to attack Iraqi solders in Iraq at least twice,” in the past two years, according to a senior Iraqi brigadier general in Baghdad, according to NBC News. Mr. de Bretton-Gordon warned the Islamic State “has acquired significant expertise in chemical warfare, from those who previously developed chemical weapons for Saddam Hussein.”

While we certainly need to be concerned about this report; and, it would be wise to assume that the Islamic State probably has acquired some of the Libyan chemical weapons — and has actually extracted some of the sarin and mustard gas from these shells. However, doing so isn’t such an easy task. Typically, nerve-agent warheads were designed for large-scale military use; and, are usually binary — and stored as two separate ingredients which must be combined before lethal use. Without special training and equipment, it is painstaking and delicate work, to successfully extract such chemicals/gas from these — and, utilize them in a terrorist attack. Indeed, the chances are that anyone attempting to extract these deadly chemicals/gas from these shells — without expertise in how to do so — is more likely to die in the process — than to successfully extract this material. Having said that, we also have to assume that not all of this material was contained in warheads; and, even binary chemical warheads — detonated with crude explosives — rather than delivered by missiles, or planes for which they were designed — could still have a lethal effect; and, a major, negative psychological impact. We also have to assume the worst, and take for granted that somewhere along the line in Iraq Syria, and/or Libya, that the Islamic State has recruited a former Iraqi, Syrian, or Libyan chemical weapons expert — who would have the knowledge and expertise required to successfully extract this material from any such seized warheads. 

All the more reason that the Obama administration get much more aggressive in prosecuting this war against the Islamic State — before these militant Islamist’s carry out such an attack — using a crude chemical weapon — on American soil. In these circumstances, ‘strategic patience, — is not a virtue. V/R, RCP 

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