Did ISIS' chemical weapons come from Saddam Hussein's WMD stockpiles in Iraq? Some defense officials are allegedly claiming this is the case, which may put the actions of former U.S. President George W. Bush in a whole new light.
In a related report by the Inquisitr, while ISIS' chemical weapons may be dangerous, with DAESH having access to old stockpiles of Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction, another possibility is creating a functioning nuclear weapon. Seeking to answer this question, some experts have discussed whether it is technically possible to retrofit one of Iraq's WMD stockpiles in order to create a nuke.
Fast forward to 2015 and German Army troops have begun reporting ISIS' chemical weapons attacks. A senior official from the Kurdish Peshmerga soldiers, who are fighting back against the Islamic State in Iraq, said the "Peshmerga forces in the Makhmur area 50 kilometers west of the city of Arbil were attacked with Katyusha rockets filled with chlorine." It is said some of the previous attacks documented in June left troops with symptoms such as "burning of the throat, eyes and nose, severe headaches, muscle pain, impaired concentration and mobility, and vomiting."
The Pentagon is investigating reports about ISIS' chemical weapons.
"We continue to take these and all allegations of chemical weapons use very seriously," said Pentagon spokesman Navy Captain Jeff Davis.
Another senior U.S. official was quoted as saying, "We have credible information that the agent used in the attack was mustard [gas]."
According to the Times of Israel, White House spokesman Alistair Baskey said if reports of ISIS' chemical weapons are true, then DAESH has violated the rules of war.
"We continue to monitor these reports closely, and would further stress that any use of chemicals or biological material as a weapon is completely inconsistent with international standards and norms regarding such capabilities," he said.
Some believe ISIS' chemical weapons were probably taken from the Syrian weapons stockpiles of Bashar Assad. But Fox News claims U.S. officials believe it's possible that "ISIS had taken the mustard gas from old weapons stockpiles that belonged to former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and weren't destroyed."
This is a controversial claim since some have claimed former U.S. President George W Bush lied about Iraq's WMD programs. In 2014, Bush said that "the danger we were concerned about was that the weapons would be put into the hands of terrorist groups that would come and make attacks of 9/11 pale in comparison."
After Bob Woodward spent 18 months investigating whether or not Bush lied about his motives for starting the Iraq War, the journalist said, "[T]here was no lie in this that I could find."
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. In addition, over time it was revealed that the U.S. military had discovered many small caches of chemical weapons all over Iraq. The New York Times also reported that "more than 2,400 nerve-agent rockets [were] unearthed in 2006 at a former Republican Guard compound," yet "the Pentagon continued to withhold data, leaving the public misinformed as discoveries of chemical weapons accelerated sharply."
What some question now is whether ISIS' chemical weapons seized from Iraq are even usable. In July of 2014, ISIS' chemical weapons stockpiles were known to include a former chemical weapons facility in Muthanna, Iraq. According to the Guardian, the area included two bunkers, one of which "contained 2,500 sarin-filled 122mm chemical rockets produced and filled before 1991, and about 180 tonnes of sodium cyanide, a very toxic chemical and a precursor for the warfare agent tabun." The other WMD bunker included "2,000 empty 155mm artillery shells contaminated with the chemical warfare agent mustard, 605 one-tonne mustard containers with residues, and heavily contaminated construction material."
At the time, U.S. state department spokeswoman Jen Psaki claimed the bunkers "don't include intact chemical weapons... and would be very difficult, if not impossible, to safely use this for military purposes or, frankly, to move it." But as the Islamic State continues to push forward in both Syria and Iraq, it is possible they will seize even more WMD facilities. In addition, some experts also say ISIS' WMD development may advance beyond small attacks.
"Although these chemical attacks appear to be test cases, we expect IS construction skills to advance rapidly as they have for other IEDS (improvised explosive devices)," said Emmanuel Deisser, managing director at Sahan Research.
Do you think George W. Bush was justified in pursuing the Iraq war based upon evidence of ISIS' chemical weapons?
[Photo by: Adam Bettcher/Getty Images for the Starkey Hearing Foundation]