ISIS Obtains Chemical Weapons from Iraq
ISIS has supplanted al-Qaeda as the main terrorist threat in the Middle East and elsewhere. They have over 7000 foreign fighters and fears are that many of these will return to their home country to conduct terrorism.
But for now, ISIS presents a greater threat in the Middle East because Iraq has confirmed that ISIS did seize old chemical weapons from the Muthanna chemical weapons storage facility captured on June 11th. The Iraqi forces ordered to defend the site surrendered and were forced to show where deadly gases were stored.
On June 12th, ISIS began taking deadly Sarin and Mustard gases from bunkers 13 and 41, located 35 miles from Baghdad. Bunker 13 contained 2500 sarin filled 122-mm chemical rockets that were filled in 1991. Iraq and Iran had just stopped fighting their own war that had begun in 1980. ISIS also stole 180 tons of very toxic sodium cyanide, which is a precursor for Tabun, another horrid gas.
According to the Iraqis, the sarin munitions taken would be greatly degraded after all these years and the sodium cyanide was largely decontaminated long ago, but, there is a chance some of it may still be in a good state and still a hazard.
Bunker 41 contained 2000 empty 155-mm artillery shells contaminated with mustard gas. There was also 605 containers with the gas. Iraqi authorities tried to downplay the significance of the ISIS booty. But the reality is, no one really knows if any of the gas or chemical weapons would pose a danger because of so many variables. They did say the gases were still toxic to some extent.
The empty artillery shells could be used to mount the chemical weapons and the rockets as well. Does ISIS have this knowledge? Only a fool would say no with any certainty and even if only a few of the sarin or mustard gases are mounted and used are effective, that is enough. The chaos and hysteria of even a few used in Baghdad would be huge and one ISIS could take advantage of.
The U.N. has also received a copy of the Iraqi disclosure. Nothing has been mentioned about this in the American press. At this stage, there is little that can be done about the chemical weapon booty now in ISIS hands. We can only pray none of it is still usable.
That remains to be seen.