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Islamic State Chemical Weapons: A Case Contained by its Context?

Markus Binder, Jillian Quigley and Herbert Tinsley of the UWT Division wrote an analysis for the CTC Sentinel arguing that the Islamic State’s experiments with chemical weapons (CW) cannot predict future threats.

The article states that the Islamic State has used weaponized toxic industrial chemicals, or TICs, which shows how eager the Islamic State was to get access to these chemicals. Some of the chemicals used for weaponized TICs are chlorine, which is most predominantly used; phosphine, a compound used in agriculture; and sulphur mustard. These three chemicals were all used in between 2014 and 2016 in various attacks.

The Islamic State, which frequently publishes their achievements through the Dabiq magazine, did not try to share their CW attacks through propaganda platforms. In a 2012 issue, the magazine included an article about the West’s fear of chemical attacks. The analysis questions why the Islamic State decided to leave out their CW attacks that they deemed successful.

The analysis concludes that the Islamic State’s use of chemical weapons during attacks shines light on their different warfare tactics, but it is presumptuous to believe that the Islamic State will utilize chemical weapons against the West. Therefore, the Western security agencies should continue to monitor this area, but should avoid public warnings until the Islamic State’s motives can be proven.

Click here to read the full analysis.