ICC Note: Sample testing has shown that ISIS militants in Iraq used chemical weapons–namely mustard gas–in its clashes with Kurdish forces. This finding results in many horrific implications and unanswered questions. How did they obtain such weapons? What proxies with such access are they working with? Have they used them in other areas? How much more do they have? The Christians and other persecuted minorities that stand in the path of ISIS have been subject to unspeakable horrors. This finding, however, reveals that the ISIS threat may be much larger than many realize. Non-state actors (such as terrorist organizations) have generally been thought of as being “rag tag groups” of ungoverned peoples easily overcome. However, chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons make this analyzation unfounded and completely false. A non-state actor, even a small group of people, can produce devastating and catastrophic violence with access to any unconventional weapon of modern warfare.
2/16/2016 Iraq (Reuters) – Islamic State militants attacked Kurdish forces in Iraq with mustard gas last year, in the first known use of chemical weapons in Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein, a diplomat said, after tests by the global chemical arms watchdog.
A source at the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) confirmed that laboratory tests had come back positive for the sulfur mustard, after around 35 Kurdish troops were sickened on the battlefield last August.
The OPCW will not identify who used the chemical agent. But the diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity because the findings have not yet been released, said the result confirmed that chemical weapons had been used by Islamic State fighters.
The samples were taken after the soldiers became ill during fighting against Islamic State militants southwest of Erbil, capital of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region.
The OPCW already concluded in October that mustard gas was used last year in neighboring Syria. Islamic State has declared a “caliphate” in territory it controls in both Iraq and Syria and does not recognize the frontier.
The matter is expected to be raised at the next meeting of the OPCW’s 41-member Executive Council in a month, an official said.
If Islamic State used chemical weapons, experts are still uncertain of how the group might have obtained them, or whether it could have access to more.
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