View Full Version : Terrorists, Insurgents & WMD? Intent & Capability

Bill Moore
10-11-2014, 01:33 PM
Moderator's Note

Bill Moore suggested a new thread on how terrorists/militias/insurgents use and intend to use WMD. Oddly SWC has not debated this (see 1st post for historical links). He suspects we're at the start of a trend that will increase exponentially as tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) are further refined.(Ends)

The new information at the bottom is from the 11 OCT round up on the SWJ homepage.

Alsumaria News / Baghdad
confirmed the number of MPs from the province of Diwaniyah , on Monday, killing 300 soldiers using chlorine gas for the first time by the militants..National Defense Magazine article 'ISIL Determined to Acquire Biological Weapons':http://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/blog/Lists/Posts/Post.aspx?ID=1632

Syria declares new chemical weapons facilities:http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-29534926

The UN Security Council has been told that Syria has revealed for the first time the existence of four more chemical weapons facilities.Of course this sentence shouldn't surprise anyone, hope it was added for comic effect and that the author wasn't actually surprised by this.

Correspondents say the announcement heightens concerns that the Syrian government has not been fully open about its chemical weapons programme. Chlorine gas by itself is minimally effective as a weapon, which is why I remain suspect of the Iraqi news report that ISIS used it to kill 300 Iraqi soldiers. On the other hand what the use of chlorine gas as a weapon indicates is that they will use more dangerous chemical weapons if they acquire them or make them, and as they demonstrated they're a learning organization so it is possible they'll develop their own form of chemical weapons. Highly improbable that states will be able to deter them from using these weapons. The discussion on bio weapons is premature for now, but I suspect it won't be too long until we see an attempt by IS and other extremist groups to use them. I doubt they'll be restricted by the same logic states used about the concern of containing the impact of bioweapons to a specific geographical region.

In sum, the rules have already changed and we should anticipate improvements in their TTPs. The implications are we may to go back to the future, and place a greater emphasis on protective gear for our soldiers, and dust off the homeland response plans for chemical attacks. For the current state of the art (which won't last, it will progress) the effects will be more psychological than physical, but as we have seen from our reaction to the Boston Marathon Bombing psychological effects can have strategic effect in the media age where we have 24hour news coverage.

10-11-2014, 02:57 PM

There are only three threads where the subject line includes WMD. There is one thread, which you started, from February 2007 'Possible Chemical Attack in Iraq' which maybe useful today, it covers many points:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=2252

I will later today create a new thread, as suggested. Slightly surprised there isn't one, although over two hundred threads have WMD in; although the US definition of WMD is rather wide.;)

10-11-2014, 05:12 PM
Bill Moore suggested a new thread on how terrorists/militias/insurgents use and intend to use WMD. Oddly SWC has not debated this (see 1st post for historical links).

He suspects we're at the start of a trend that will increase exponentially as tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) are further refined.

This post opens the thread, but two other posts will be moved from the 'out Of Mosul' thread, where Bill & I posted on this theme, so it will become the third post.

10-12-2014, 11:50 AM
A short article from an Israeli insititute, which relies on Kurdish information, alleges ISIS has used CW. It starts with:
Prior to the current campaign, the most serious (but unsuccessful) attempt to conquer Kobani came in July 2014, shortly following the dramatic IS advance into Iraq. It was during this assault on Kobani that evidence emerged which appeared to point to the use by the Islamic State on at least one occasion of some kind of chemical agent against the Kurdish fighters of the YPG (Peoples’ Protection Units).
The July offensive commenced on July 2nd. According to Kurdish activists, the use of the chemical agent took place on July 12th, in the village of Avdiko, in the eastern part of the Kobani enclave (now in IS hands.)Link:http://www.gloria-center.org/2014/10/meria-special-report-did-isis-use-chemical-weapons-against-the-kurds-in-kobani-warning-graphic-content/

I note the suggestion that the CW may have come from a sealed Iraqi state bunker complex. Which was the subject of a thread:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=20863

Note one UK SME, Dan Kaszeta has Tweeted:
Photos I've seen so far not terribly conclusive

10-12-2014, 09:30 PM
I remember having read this article about an alleged attack with chlorine gas on Iraqi troops just west of Baghdad.

ISIS kills 300 Iraqi soldiers by chlorine gas attack in Saqlawiyah (http://www.iraqinews.com/iraq-war/urgent-isis-kills-300-iraqi-soldiers-chlorine-gas-attack-saqlawiyah/)

Unfortunately I could not find any confirmation on the actual use of chemical weapons. But there were rumours that IS had used chlorine gas on multiple occasions in Syria as well though with not so many casualties. :confused:

I wonder if anyone can confirm this incident.

Cheers PB

Bill Moore
10-25-2014, 12:01 PM
From the SWJ roundup


Islamic State militants allegedly used chlorine gas against Iraqi security forces

Dizzy, vomiting and struggling to breathe, 11 Iraqi police officers were rushed to a government hospital 50 miles north of the capital last month. The diagnosis: poisoning by chlorine gas. The perpetrators, according to the officers: Islamic State extremists.

The chlorine attack appears to be the first confirmed use of chemical weapons by the Islamic State on the battlefield. An Iraqi Defense Ministry official corroborated the events, and doctors said survivors’ symptoms were consistent with chlorine poisoning.

Overall the use has not been to effective in either Syria or Iraq, but is producing terror, which is completely understandable.


Has ISIS Crossed a New Red Line?

Speaking of the three Iraqi accusations, National Security Council spokesman Alistair Baskey told The New York Times: "We are aware of the reports but cannot confirm details and are seeking additional information. The use of chlorine as a chemical weapon is an abhorrent act. These recent allegations underscore the importance of our work to eliminate chemical weapons in this volatile region.”

If confirmed, these attacks would be the first chemical weapons attacks in Iraq in several years. At the State Department on Friday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said that while the reports won't necessarily shift America's policy vis-à-vis ISIS, “it obviously can affect tactical decisions within that strategy.”

I suspect we will continue seeking additional information for as long as possible to avoid another red line. :(

Bill Moore
07-19-2015, 06:38 AM

Report: IS May Have Used Chemical Agents on Kurds

July 18, 2015 7:35 AM

Kurdish fighters and weapons experts say the Islamic State militant group has fired chemical weapons on Kurdish forces in Syria and Iraq.

Those exposed to the chemical were quickly given medical treatment and no one died.

Investigators also said Kurdish fighters have recently captured industrial-grade gas masks from Islamic State forces, indicating they are "prepared and equipped for chemical warfare."

Bill Moore
10-07-2015, 06:09 AM
Of course greed played a role in the motivation, but so did hatred of the U.S. by the Russian Mafia groups. Selling nuclear materials to ISIL to attack the U.S. serves two purposes, one making money, and other providing the means to a group to attack a mutual enemy the U.S.. Law Enforcement did an outstanding job, but remember they have to get it right every time. The intent is there, and there are so those willing to match those up with intent with the means to execute a WMD attack. I hesitate to call radiological dispersion devise a WMD, but it will have an outsized psychological effect.


Nuclear smugglers shopped radioactive material to Islamic State, other terrorists: AP report

The previously unpublicized case is one of at least four attempts in five years in which criminal networks with suspected Russian ties sought to sell radioactive material to extremists through Moldova, an investigation by The Associated Press has found. One investigation uncovered an attempt to sell bomb-grade uranium to a real buyer from the Middle East, the first known case of its kind.

“He said: 'I really want an Islamic buyer because they will bomb the Americans.'
- Constantin Malic, Moldovan investigator

The repeated attempts to peddle radioactive materials signal that a thriving nuclear black market has emerged in an impoverished corner of Eastern Europe on the fringes of the former Soviet Union.

Bill Moore
02-13-2016, 07:38 PM
Breaking news from a reliable source on the ground working with the Kurds in Northern Iraq shared that ISIL attacked Kurdish positions with approximately 30 chemical mortar rounds. Suspect it was mustard gas, but still waiting on clarification.



Islamic State Wants to Use Chemical Weapons Against U.S., Intelligence Chief Says

James Clapper says terror network has already used mustard gas in the Middle East against adversaries Full story behind a pay wall.

Bill Moore
02-13-2016, 11:08 PM

Eyewitness Describes Islamic State Chemical Attack on Kurdish Peshmerga

Eubanks stated that thirty Peshmerga became very sick, had difficulty breathing, some vomited and had stinging nose and eyes. “They were evacuated to the clinic in Sinjar town and treated there. They recovered and returned to duty,” he wrote.

Writing in an email, Eubanks stated that they “photographed both sites immediately after the attack (we were giving medical training nearby), and there was a strong smell of rotten vegetables, and there was a burning in our noses and eyes” and said it smelled like chlorine and sulfur. “There was a black tar like substance around the impact area of the chemical round. The Peshmerga also told us that theses were chlorine gas shells” he wrote.


CIA: We Need To Stop ISIS From Smuggling Chemical Weapons To The West

The Associated Press reported in November that U.S. and Iraqi intelligence officials believe ISIS is setting up a chemical weapons development branch, drawing on local scientists in Iraq and Syria. At the time, U.S. intelligence officials stated that ISIS had used mustard gas against Kurds in Iraq. This was determined through an analysis of mortars. In response, Iraq has equipped its forces with gas masks, and Russia has also provided 1,000 protective suits to Iraqi troops.

It also describes the nexus between ISIL and various smuggling networks (criminal-terrorist networks mutually supporting). While they don't seem overly competent yet, even a largely failed chemical attack in Europe or elsewhere in the West would likely have a significant psychological impact.