European Crossroads

The many adventurous paths that lead to a European Union: involving politics, society, culture, economics, finance, the military.

A co-authored blog to describe the complexity of a new concept.

Irene Giuntella

ISIL unconventional weapons and skills

Europe and its member states should prepare to a potential chemical attack. That’s what is mentioned in an analisys by the European Parliament. That also has been advised from the French President Hollande and the Premier Valls, after Paris attacks. "We are dealing with a very serious, well-resourced, determined international terrorist organisation that is now active on the streets of Europe. This represents the most serious terrorist threat faced in Europe for 10 years" Rob Wainwright head of Europol said during a debate at the European Parliament  after Paris Attacks. Terrorism, is there the risk of chemical weapons? Isis is recruiting scientists After Paris, ISIL/Da'esh announced that further attacks would take place in the immediate future and that they will  cause even more shock.  There is the fear , according to experts, of the use of chemical, biological radiological and and nuclear  (CBRN) weapons in future attacks on European targets.  In the report it has been suggested the possibility of improvised explosive devices containing chemical or radioactive materials "ISIL actually has already acquired the knowledge, and in some cases the human expertise, that would allow it to use CBRN materials as weapons of terror" Wolfgang Rudischhauser, Director of the Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Non-Proliferation Centre at NATO Headquarters in Brussels said. The study affirms that ISIL/Da'esh is documented to have used chemical weapons in Syria and Iraq. In particular, the group appears to have manufactured rudimentary chemical-warfare shells, and used them to attack Kurdish positions in Iraq and Syria at least three times in June and July 2015. According to the investigators, this involved toxic industrial or agricultural chemicals used as lethal weapons. In the same period, in June, it seems that ISIL/Da'esh had used chlorine in combat as Australian Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop claimed. While Médecins Sans Frontières and the Syrian-American Medical Society (SAMS)5 reported suspected ISIL/Da'esh use of mustard gas in northern Syria. ISIL/Da’esh continues to recruite hundreds of foreign fighters, some of them are highly qualified individuals with including some with degrees in physics, chemistry, and computer science, who experts believe have the ability to manufacture lethal weapons from raw substances. The difficulties to access to chemical materials that stopped terrorists groups like Al Quaida in the past , are less of a problem for ISIIL/Da’esh. In the last year the group had several opportunities to have access to these chemical materials in Syria, in Iraq and Lybia. That’s why the Commission has drawn particular attention in this respect to returnees from Syria and other radicalised individuals, who have access to, or work in, sensitive areas. In Europe it is very easy for a determined terrorist outfit to access CBRN material. Every year there are hundreds of thefts and misplacements of these materials. Interpol’s monthly CBRN intelligence reports show numerous examples of attempts to acquire, smuggle or use CBRN materials. Governements and EU institutions should be on alert, it is writter in the report, and they have to publicize the risk of non conventional weapons in future attacks. Even  EU institutions have devoted considerable efforts to preventing a CBRN attack on European soil and preparing worst-case scenarios. However, some gaps remain, in particular with regard to information- sharing among member states, experts say. How Islamic state gots it weapons A great part of  the weapons used by the Islamic State come from Iraqi military stockpiles and have been manufactured by twenty-five countries including Cina, Russia, the US and some European states. That’s what appears in the report by Amnesty International “Taking stock: the arming of the Islamic state” based on thousands of videos and images .  According to the NGO, it is the consequenceof years of weapons of war that have been freely flowing into Iraq and also slack controls over Iraqi military stockpiles. After the occupation of Mosul , ISIL obtained a huge quantity of intrnational weapons  and munitions and military vehicles.   Furthermore between 2011 and 2013 USA and Iraq signed agreements to provide weapons for a value of  a billion. At the end of 2014 weapons and munitions for a value of 500 million of dollars have been counted , training and equipping for 1.6 billion of dollars and 43.200 shotguns M4. "The variety of weapons that uses armed group calling itself the Islamic state, is an indication of how reckless the trade of arms becomes a cause of large-scale violence" Patrick Wilcken , Amnesty International reasearcher, said.  @IreneGiuntella