Tags: ISIS/Islamic State | Middle East | War on Terrorism | EU | Iraq | Paris | Syria

No Urgency in Terror War Leaves US Vulnerable

Image: No Urgency in Terror War Leaves US Vulnerable
Anti-terror patrol, New York (AP) 

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Wednesday, 30 Dec 2015 10:16 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Let's recap. ISIS controls a vast chunk of territory straddling the borders of Iraq and Syria. It has seized entire cities, overrun military bases and taken possession of factories and universities. Millions of people, including scientists, engineers and technicians, live under its control. From all over the globe thousands of others have flocked to the new "caliphate" to joint its ranks.

ISIS has demonstrated repeatedly its ability to strike targets outside of the Middle East. It has carried out large-scale attacks twice in the heart of the French capital, Paris.

It has shown that it has an extensive support structure capable of moving operatives covertly, acquiring weapons and planning complex attacks. Since October 2015 five hundred people have been killed in terrorist attacks conducted by ISIS outside of Syria and Iraq.

ISIS has repeatedly expressed its desire to expand its attacks inside the United States. Months ago it broadcast a video with the unambiguous title "Burn America," in which it described in detail its intention to bring jihad to American shores.


Repeated press reports have described the ease with which ordinary Middle Eastern refugees can acquire stolen EU passports. Repeated press reports have also described how ISIS has acquired tens of thousands of blank Syrian passports and the equipment with which to complete and issue them.

Administration claims of “robust vetting” of individuals coming to the United States have been exposed on multiple occasions to be unsupported by the facts. Vetting, when done at all, is cursory. Records against which to check information are in many cases simply non-existent.

All of this is bad. Unfortunately, it only gets worse.

ISIS has demonstrated a continued interest in the acquisition of weapons of mass destruction. It has already used chemical weapons on the battlefield in Syria and Iraq on multiple occasions.

ISIS has not yet fielded biological weapons to our knowledge. Last year, however, a laptop seized during a raid on an ISIS target was found to contain files pertaining to the weaponization of the plague.

That would be the same plague that killed half the people in Europe in the 1300’s.

In November press reports from Iraq stated that ISIS had executed the head of the physics department at the University of Mosul, because he refused to participate in ongoing efforts by the terrorist group to develop biological weapons.

A European Parliament report issued earlier this year warned that “ISIL/Da'esh has recruited and continues to recruit hundreds of foreign fighters, including some with degrees in physics, chemistry, and computer science, who experts believe have the ability to manufacture lethal weapons from raw substances" . . . The European Union and its Member States must prepare for the possibility of a chemical or biological attack on their territory by the self-styled' Islamic State' in Iraq and the Levant . . .

"European governments and EU institutions need to be on alert and should consider publicly addressing the possibility of a terrorist attack using chemical, biological, radiological or even nuclear weapons.”

The French government has begun to distribute atropine, an antidote to nerve gas, from military stockpiles to hospitals and medical centers.

In sum, we may be about to see the use of weapons of mass destruction, likely either chemical or biological weapons, by a terrorist group in an attack designed to cause mass casualties.

The prospect should be galvanizing the U.S. government into action. We should be clamping down immediately on border security. We ought to be taking a hard look at security at bio labs and chemical plants and ensuring that deadly chemical and biological agents already on our soil cannot be used against us.

We should be taking a look at our troubled program to field biosensors in urban areas, long known to be a failure, and coming up with some fixes. We ought be aggressively pushing the fight against ISIS in the Middle East, knowing that time is not on our side.

We ought to be taking the advice of the EU report quoted above and ringing a loud alarm bell for all to hear.

We are not. We are more concerned with upsetting someone’s sensibilities that controlling our borders. Report after report for years has documented a shocking lack of security at bio labs in this country.

No meaningful changes have been made.

Report after report has documented the danger posed by unsecured chemical plants in proximity to American cities. Efforts to secure them, plagued by mismanagement for years, drag on, years behind schedule.


Our so-called war on ISIS in the Middle East plods ahead with no reasonable prospect of victory anywhere in sight.

In the years since 9/11 we have come to consider attacks in which small numbers of persons are killed a horror. We may yet see days so much more terrible as to eclipse any memory of that.

We may yet see days in which casualties dwarf even those we suffered when the Twin Towers fell. We need to get to work immediately. We need to move with a sense of urgency.

If we do not, we may find that we have allowed ISIS to fulfill its promise to “burn America."

Charles S. Faddis, president of Orion Strategic Services, LLC, is a former CIA operations officer with 20 years of experience in the Middle East, South Asia, and Europe. He is the senior intelligence editor for AND Magazine and a contributor to a wide variety of counterterrorism and homeland security journals. His nonfiction works include "Operation Hotel California," a history of the actions of his team inside Iraq from 2002 to 2003. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.



 

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CharlesFaddis
Our so-called war on ISIS plods ahead with no victory in sight. We may yet see days in which casualties dwarf even those we suffered when the Twin Towers fell. We need to get to work immediately. We need to move with a sense of urgency.
EU, Iraq, Paris, Syria
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2015-16-30
Wednesday, 30 Dec 2015 10:16 AM
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