The book, which was published by Al-Qaeda-affiliated platforms, returned to the leader in the organization, “Abu Muhammad Al-Masry”, during the month of September, coinciding with the anniversary of the events of September 11, 2001; A state of controversy over the orientations and goals of terrorist organizations, especially with regard to their vision of unconventional weapons; The book indicated that terrorist organizations “sought to obtain a tactical nuclear weapon to test it on American soil, or target a nuclear reactor building on American soil with a plane loaded with thousands of gallons of flammable fuel.” It is true that these endeavors face many problems, which make them almost impossible, but they revealed the interest of terrorist organizations in acquiring unconventional weapons and weapons of mass destruction that serve them in inventing new mechanisms to achieve their goals, or in the words of Martha Crenshaw, innovation is a mechanism To solve the problems and confront the failures faced by the radical organization.

armament openness

Parallel to the technological and scientific development taking place, terrorist activity is witnessing another development. In addition to traditional terrorist operations, terrorist organizations are looking to take advantage of the opportunities and capabilities offered by technological developments on the one hand, and other sciences. Where these organizations are working on the manufacture and development of non-conventional weapons to achieve their goals to a greater extent. In this context, Terrorist organizations are open to the use of unconventional weapons, which is demonstrated by:

1- The use of chemical weapons by ISIS in Syria and Iraq: During the period of its control over swaths of Syrian and Iraqi lands, and during the period of the organization’s peak activity in 2014 and 2015, ISIS repeatedly used chemicals in offensive and defensive operations.

The Russian Foreign Ministry had previously accused ISIS in October 2015 of using chlorine in its combat operations in Syria and Iraq, and of using mustard gas and the so-called enantiomers, noting that the manufacture of these compounds requires complex technologies. Moscow indicated that ISIS gangs have obtained chemical weapons production technology, educational materials and formulas for toxic compounds, and that they have production capabilities to manufacture chemical weapons, while a report by the Intelligence Research Center “IHS Conflict Monitor” in late 2016 revealed that ISIS used chemical weapons. , including chlorine, sulfur and mustard gases, at least 52 times in combat battles in Syria and Iraq since 2014. More than a third of these chemical attacks occurred in and around the Iraqi city of Mosul.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons also indicated in November 2016 that ISIS may have manufactured mustard gas used in Iraq and Syria itself. Although the mustard gas was of very poor quality, it was nonetheless harmful, which is worrying not only given the reality of the conflict in Syria and Iraq, but also given the presence of foreign fighters who may be able to return to their countries of origin with these experiences.

2- ISIS cells attempt to spread toxic materials and gases in different countries: Unlike the countries of Syria and Iraq in which ISIS is active, the organization has tried, through its cells, to use biological and chemical weapons and spread poisonous gases outside the territories of conflicts and terrorist activity; For example, in February 2016, the Moroccan police arrested an ISIS terrorist cell, accusing it of possessing deadly bio-toxic materials, and preparing and preparing these deadly materials in preparation for their use within the framework of their terrorist project inside the Kingdom, which are materials classified under the name “dangerous biological weapons.” Because of the ability of a small amount of them to paralyze and destroy the human nervous system, while causing death. As well as its ability to cause environmental risks if leaked through water and air.

3- Al-Qaeda’s efforts to manufacture radioactive weapons: A number of previously revealed attempts by Al-Qaeda to manufacture radioactive weapons indicate the organization’s interest in using these weapons; For example, an American person named “José Padilla” was arrested in 2002, on the background of his planning to manufacture a radioactive weapon after returning from an Al-Qaeda training camp in Pakistan, before the coalition forces in Afghanistan found plans to make a radioactive bomb the following year. .

Investigations revealed that the British Al-Qaeda affiliate, Derren Barrow, who was arrested in 2004, planned to manufacture a “radio-dispersion device”, while the organization’s expert on unconventional weapons, Medhat Morsi Al-Sayed Omar, also planned to manufacture a “radio-dispersion device” before he was killed in Pakistan. In 2008, devices that rely on an explosive device to disperse radioactive materials in order to contaminate facilities and injure individuals close to the explosion and downwind.

4- Planning to carry out nuclear explosions by attacking nuclear facilities: There are fears that terrorist organizations will attack nuclear facilities within the targeted countries, including nuclear reactors, means of transporting nuclear materials, and places where nuclear weapons are stored. There are reports indicating that ISIS and Al-Qaeda are considering carrying out such attacks; The investigations conducted with the prominent member of al-Qaeda accused of the September 11 attacks, Ramzi bin al-Shibh, indicate that American nuclear reactors were among his list of targets, as al-Qaeda leader Abu Muhammad al-Masri points out in the book recently distributed by the organization on the September 11 attacks. organization in the nuclear targeting of the United States; Where he saw that the huge stockpile of nuclear weapons inside American soil represents a major weakness if the groups he described as “jihadist” can access it, and test part of it on American soil, so that it makes the United States an uninhabitable land, rather the organization’s plans to rely on elements Muslim and African within the US army, and the exploitation of the distress of some of the racist behavior against them, and taking advantage of their charged souls. Or targeting a nuclear reactor building on American soil with an aircraft loaded with thousands of gallons of flammable fuel.

Reports also indicate that ISIS planned to cause nuclear explosions in Europe; For example, the Brussels bombings carried out by the organization in March 2016, revealed that the perpetrators of the operation initially planned to carry out a nuclear attack by detonating a nuclear plant; Prior to the explosions, ISIS operatives killed one of the guards of a nuclear facility and obtained his entry card; In order to carry out an explosion inside the facility, police also found a 12-hour surveillance video of the home of one of the managers of the Belgian nuclear program, as part of a plan to kidnap him and force him to enable them to enter the nuclear facility. But the plan to detonate the nuclear facility changed after the arrest of the attacker, “Salah Abdeslam”, who was involved in the Paris terrorist attacks; The capture of him had to be responded to quickly, and the plan of the nuclear target was postponed to a later stage.

5- Expansion of the use of drones in terrorist activity: Recent years have witnessed a remarkable effort by terrorist organizations to rely on drones as an unconventional weapon in terrorist operations. Several security and international reports indicated the use of drones in carrying out terrorist attacks, by dozens of terrorist groups around the world, and ISIS in Syria. The incident, in early October 2016, of ISIS attacking two Kurdish soldiers with an explosive device hidden inside a drone, is referred to as a major station in terrorist groups’ use of drones in terrorist activity. In this regard, many international institutions, such as the European Commission, have warned over the past years of the dangers of the rapid technical development of drone technology. This is in light of the increasing trend of using these planes by extremist groups to launch terrorist attacks.

trigger determinants

There are a number of determinants that motivate terrorist organizations to resort to the use of unconventional weapons, including:

1- The interest of terrorist organizations in maximizing the damage: Terrorist organizations work to achieve their goals by harming the enemy. In many cases, they see that expanding and maximizing the damage achieves their goals more. Therefore, ISIS showed its willingness to use any means to maximize the damage and disruption it inflicts on its enemies. Perhaps this thinking about extending the damage is what made Al-Qaeda also previously sought to acquire unconventional weapons; In view of its enormous destructive effects; Which achieves the goals of the organization more effectively.

2- The discourse rejecting Western hegemony: Al-Qaeda sought in previous periods to acquire weapons of mass destruction. The former leader of the organization, Osama bin Laden, set main goals for this, which are to destroy the current world order dominated by the West, specifically the United States; Where he considered that the use of these prohibited weapons is justified in the face of American hegemony; Given its ability to cause mass casualties, and to achieve severe damage to Western countries, a thinking close to the famous September 11 operation, in addition to the fact that harming American hegemony over the world helps, from the organization’s point of view, to overthrow the local regimes that revolve in the orbit of American hegemony.

3- Rooting the permissibility of using non-conventional weapons: The terrorist organizations did not find it difficult to establish the permissibility of using unconventional weapons in their terrorist operations. The general context under which the organizations are rooted to target and kill their enemies is flexible enough not to know the nature of those weapons that are used in the targeting operations. Even the issue of harming non-targeted targets has been previously settled by terrorist organizations with regard to the permissibility of carrying out suicide operations.

While these organizations issued provisions of atonement and killing, they did not find it difficult to determine the means and mechanisms for implementing these provisions. For example, with regard to Al-Qaeda, there is a letter attributed to Nasser Al-Fahd under the title (The Ruling on Using Weapons of Mass Destruction against the infidels), which states that it is permissible to use these weapons to crush and bomb fighters on the ground, or trenchers in trenches, and injure their women or children, if Unable to access them otherwise. The basic message permitted the use of lethal weapons in killing those whom it called “unbelievers”, even if it killed them all at once and eliminated their offspring on the face of the globe, as the message mentioned.

4- Exploiting conflicts in developing unconventional weapons: Global tensions and conflicts present an opportunity for terrorist organizations to develop their unconventional weapons; For example, there are fears that terrorist organizations will exploit tensions in nuclear states to facilitate the theft of nuclear or chemical materials, or that they will exploit tensions between Western countries and countries seeking to possess nuclear weapons to obtain some components for this weapon, as is the case with Iran, which It is feared that it will support al-Qaeda in this regard, in light of the intertwined relations between the two parties.

Moreover, armed conflicts and the control of terrorist organizations over some areas may help in recruiting scientists and experts to help terrorist organizations manufacture and develop conventional weapons, as is the case for the Iraqi scientist “Suleiman Al-Afari” who agreed to cooperate with ISIS in the field of weapons manufacturing. Chemical, and supervised ISIS production of mustard gas, after the organization took control of Mosul.

5- Ease of obtaining “drones” and their versatility: The relative ease of obtaining and designing drones has helped terrorist groups rely on them, which they see as an effective and unconventional weapon that is increasingly obtainable, as its parts are available over the Internet, and it is easy to control them remotely with a smart phone linked to a remote control, as well as that it may turn into a weapon compound; Not only do these planes load explosives to target vital centers, institutions or gatherings, but they also load bombs with unconventional weapons, such as chemical and biological weapons. These planes also play a role in operational planning by using them to monitor and photograph targets.

6- The Corona pandemic stimulates thinking about the use of biological weapons: The narratives of terrorist organizations – especially ISIS and Al-Qaeda – regarding the Covid-19 pandemic, consider the coronavirus and the health and economic damage it has caused, as divine retaliation to punish those these organizations call “enemies of Islam” for their wars and persecution of Muslims, as well as for exploiting the epidemic. An opportunity to carry out terrorist operations or develop weapons used by organizations.

For example, ISIS focused on the idea of ​​“punishing the infidels”; He considered that the pandemic creates opportunities to attack enemies. The pandemic drew more attention to the issue of employing biological weapons against the West, especially in light of the previous experiences of terrorist organizations, led by “ISIS” and “Al-Qaeda” in this field, as well as the weaknesses revealed by the pandemic in the global health system, and the limited capabilities and preparations. To face epidemics and health emergencies, and the state of uncertainty and confusion that the world has experienced due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which gives a picture of the situation that a strong biological attack can cause; The Covid-19 pandemic has revealed the ability of viruses to cause great disruption and disturbance in societies, and provide an opportunity for terrorist organizations to cause similar disturbances. As well as the ease of manufacturing biological weapons, their lack of need for advanced or complex technologies, their low cost, and their devastating effects.

Mixed Opportunities

In conclusion, there are international warnings of the dangers of the development of terrorist activity, and the opportunities that many developments and incentives provide for terrorist organizations to manufacture and possess unconventional weapons, especially warnings of terrorist organizations carrying out nuclear or biological attacks, and 3D printing also presents opportunities for terrorist organizations. To manufacture many weapons. Despite the difficulties surrounding the possibility of terrorist organizations obtaining nuclear weapons, the chances of obtaining some other unconventional weapons, especially chemical and biological weapons, as well as drones, and the expansion of their use; It remains present and more probable, especially since the past years have revealed a clear terrorist interest in it.

To the extent that the main terrorist organizations (Al-Qaeda and ISIS) are in a state of weakness at the present moment, especially after the loss of many organizational leaders, this weakness may spark the imagination of terrorist elements, and make them turn back on themselves for a while, looking for how to develop their capabilities and re-emerge again, and it may be The development of terrorist weapons is one of the tools that these organizations will bet on in the strategy of return and the production of a new, more radical terrorist wave.