September 19, 2013

Confirming what Everybody Knows: al Qaeda Trying to Produce Chemical Weapons

It's one thing to want to produce chemical weapons, another to train people to produce them, and still another to get them to work. Luckily the path from aspiration to using them successfully is usually a lot longer and harder than people suspect.

However, is it really "news" that al Qaeda wants to use chemical weapons? They want to use nukes, but the fact that they haven't yet is evidence not of lack of intention but rather lack of ability.

I think the same thing can be said about their chemical weapons program. Sure, they want to make them. And, in fact, they've probably tried to use them on several occasions. But homemade chemical weapons almost never produce the mass casualties aspired for.

So, this isn't so much news as it is "news":

On Wednesday, CBS News obtained a document filed by the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York indicating that three men charged with being members of the al-Shabab terrorist group in Somalia had "substantial knowledge regarding an al-Shabaab research and development department that was developing chemical weapons." ..

The new document says the defendants' planned to join al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, the terror network's branch in Yemen which has orchestrated numerous recent, high-profile a terrorist attacks, including plots targeting the U.S. mainland.

So, al Shabaab had people who they thought could produce chemical weapons. And these guys decided to go to Yemen and join al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, bringing that knowledge with them.

I post this not so much as "news" as a reminder of what we've known for a long time but seem to lose focus on from time to time: al Qaeda is not dead, and the fact that they haven't hit the homeland since 9/11 is not for lack of trying.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 11:50 AM | Comments |