Did the ISIS in Iraq find Saddam Hussein’s WMD stockpiles of chemical weapons? While the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria has been confirmed to have seized an old chemical weapons plant there seems to be a dispute over whether or not the remaining tons of chemical weapons like sarin and mustard could still be weaponized into a dangerous form.
In a related report by The Inquisitr, former CIA director Michael Hayden is claiming that the ISIS in Iraq have essentially won the war at this point and that it is very likely the nation will be split into three sections. Due to the Iraq crisis oil prices have jumped and some Americans may wonder whether this means U.S. gas prices will be rising soon, as well. But as it turns out China has a lot more to lose if Iraq’s oil supply is blocked even though America spent trillions of dollars on the Iraq war.
After the end of the Iraq War, Saddam’s missing WMDs were very controversial, leading some to claim President George W Bush lied about Iraq’s WMD programs. As one of the reasons for going to war, Bush had argued Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction might end up in the hands of terrorist groups like ISIS. The main problem with Bush’s claim was that after the world’s intelligence services had underestimated Hussein’s WMD capabilities before Desert Storm they mistakenly compensated by overestimating the progress Saddam had made in rebuilding his weapons program. There was also a lot of controversy over the outing of Valerie Plame and Joseph Wilson’s investigation into whether Saddam had managed to procure a new source for nuclear weapons materials.
After Iraq was occupied, reports from the CIA in 2005 concluded they found much of Iraq’s WMD development programs, which included a very limited development nuclear weapons program, 550 metric tons of yellowcake uranium dating from before 1991, maintenance of dual-usage chemical weapons technology, and an unexpected air force buried in the sand, but no large stockpiles of chemical weapons or other major WMDs… at first.
Wikileaks revealed in 2010 that during the occupation of Iraq the U.S. military discovered many small caches of chemical weapons, but others claimed that Russia had helped Hussein hide the most dangerous WMD stockpiles in Syria. The plot took a new twist when Syrian rebels began identifying weapons that came from Iraq last year. Then when Russia began to oversee Assad’s supposed disarmament of chemical weapons John A. Shaw, the former Pentagon official who claims to have tracked Iraq’s WMDs being moved out by Russian special forces, claimed that it was possible some of these chemical weapons were being hid back in Iraq.
With that history behind us, now The Telegraph reports that Iraq’s WMD programs may in fact end up being used by the al-Qaeda linked terrorist group ISIS:
“The jihadist group bringing terror to Iraq overran a Saddam Hussein chemical weapons complex on Thursday, gaining access to disused stores of hundreds of tonnes of potentially deadly poisons including mustard gas and sarin…. Isis has shown ambitions to seize and use chemical weapons in Syria leading experts to warn last night that the group could turn to improvised weapons to carry out a deadly attack in Iraq.”
Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, a former commander of Britain’s chemical weapons regiment, believes ISIS will not be able to build a fully functional WMD using Iraq’s chemical weapon stockpiles since they’re buried in concrete but they could still be dangerous:
“It is doubtful that Isis have the expertise to use a fully functioning chemical munition but there are materials on site that could be used in an improvised explosive device. We have seen that Isis has used chemicals in explosions in Iraq before and has carried out experiments in Syria.”
Even back in 2006 Army Colonel John Chu told the House Armed Services Committee that the leftover chemical weapons constituted a security threat:
“These are chemical weapons as defined under the Chemical Weapons Convention, and yes… they do constitute weapons of mass destruction…. Mustard is a blister agent (that) actually produces burning of any area (where) an individual may come in contact with the agent. Regardless of (how much material in the weapon is actually chemical agent), any remaining agent is toxic. Anything above zero (percent agent) would prove to be toxic, and if you were exposed to it long enough, lethal.”
Of course, how much of a threat anything ISIS manages to grab now is debatable. The State Department’s spokesperson Jen Psaki commented on the recent situation:
“We remain concerned about the seizure of any military site by the ISIL. We do not believe that the complex contains CW materials of military value and it would be very difficult, if not impossible, to safely move the materials.”
Are you surprised that former President George W Bush may have been right about Iraq’s WMD programs created by Saddam Hussein?