ISIS Testing Chemical Weapons In Iraq

From today’s Telegraph:

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) is reported to have set up laboratories in built-up neighbourhoods in the heart of its so-called caliphate to avoid being targeted by coalition air strikes.

Learning from the Palestinians.

The terror group is known to harbour chemical and nuclear ambitions, and is trying to manufacture weapons not only for attacks within Iraq and Syria but also the West.

It has a special unit for chemical weapons research made up of Iraqi scientists who worked on weapons programmes under Saddam Hussein, as well as foreign experts.

One more consequence of President Obama’s premature abandonment of Iraq. If you didn’t know better, you’d think he wanted Iraq to be unsuccessful.

The head of the unit, Sleiman Daoud al-Afari, was captured during a raid by US special forces outside Mosul in March and is now sharing intelligence on Isil’s chemical operation.

An investigation by Syrian and Iraqi citizen journalists who report under the name Sound and Picture, reveal he has now been replaced by Abu Shaima, an Iraqi doctor who worked at the University of Baghdad during Saddam’s reign. …

Residents of al-Mohandseen – which had been a wealthy Christian neighbourhood until Isil seized the city – said several houses had been taken over by Isil officials in the last few weeks. A number of large unmarked trucks have been parked outside and more recently they reported seeing dozens of dead dogs and rabbits in nearby rubbish containers.

That’s bad enough, but it gets worse.

The report also claimed Isil has been carrying out experiments on prisoners they are holding at a secret jail in al-Andalus, in the Nineveh governorate of Mosul, exposing them to chlorine and mustard gas to test the toxicity.

Residents near the prison have reported breathing difficulties and children developing severe rashes – some of the side effects of exposure to such substances.

The extremists have seized large quantities of industrial chlorine and are believed to have the expertise to make mustard gas. They are also feared to have captured chemical weapon stocks from Bashar al-Assad’s regime across the border in Syria.

Whether those stocks were developed by Assad’s regime or were moved there from Iraq just before the invasion, as was reported at the time, I have no idea.

British military authorities say that ISIS is expected to use chemical weapons in response to any effort to re-take Mosul.

[Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, former commanding officer of the UK Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Regiment] said Western security services should be concerned that their chemical operations have effectively gone underground, allowing them to continue their work outside of strike range.

“Now we know the extent of the Isil chemical and dirty bomb aspirations we must make doubly sure that our security in the UK is absolutely water-tight against this threat.”

Unfortunately, there isn’t any way to make sure that security, either in the U.K. or here, is “absolutely water-tight.” ISIS is a menace to humanity, and the fact that any threat to us is not imminent does not mean that we should allow ISIS to survive and develop its aggressive capabilities. In my view, we should do what it takes to rid the world of these monsters, and we should do it now.