The Islamic State is using the latest issue of its propaganda magazine Dabiq to pose the “far-fetched” hypothetical of purchasing its first nuclear weapon from Pakistan within a year and getting it into the United States through the porous Southern border.
The terrorists raise the issue in an op-ed piece entitled “The Perfect Storm” that it attributes to John Cantlie, the British photojournalist whom ISIS took hostage in November 2012, The Independent reports.
Cantlie has since appeared in many of the group’s propaganda videos.
Here are the key sections of the piece, according to the Independent Journal Review:
“Let me throw a hypothetical operation onto the table. The Islamic State has billions of dollars in the bank, so they call on their wilayah (Province) in Pakistan to purchase a nuclear device through weapons dealers with links to corrupt officials in the region. The weapon is then transported overland until it makes it to Libya, where the mujahidin move it south to Nigeria.
“Drug shipments from Colombia bound for Europe pass through West Africa, so moving other types of contraband from East to West is just as possible. The nuke and accompanying mujahidin arrive on the shorelines of South America and are transported through the porous borders of Central America before arriving in Mexico and up to the border with the United States.
“From there it’s a quick hop through a smuggling tunnel and hey presto, they’re mingling with another 12 million ‘illegal’ aliens in America with a nuclear bomb in the trunk.”
The article readily admits, however, that the scenario is “far-fetched,” though warning: “It’s the sum of all fears for Western intelligence agencies and it’s infinitely more possible today than it was just one year ago.
“And if not a nuke, what about a few thousand tons of ammonium nitrate explosive? That’s easy enough to make.”
The piece, according to the Independent, also discussed how the militant Islamic group Boko Haram and others are uniting to create a global movement.
Two months ago, Boko Haram pledged its support to ISIS.
The alignment, according to Cantlie’s piece, comes as the Islamic State has seized “tanks, rocket launchers, missile systems, anti-aircraft systems” from the United States and Iran. The op-ed then raises the nuclear scenario, the Independent reports.
The op-ed follows disclosures by the Obama administration that U.S. Delta Forces killed ISIS finance chief Fathi ben Awn ben Jildi Murad, known as Abu Sayyaf, on April 15 in a rare ground operation in Syria.
Murad’s wife, known as Umm Sayyaf, was taken into custody for interrogation, U.S. officials said.
The piece also comes as U.S. Border Patrol officials report a surge in illegal immigrants from Central America being apprehended while crossing into the U.S. at the border. In addition, Judicial Watch reported last month that ISIS has set up a training camp in northern Mexico just eight miles from El Paso, Texas.
Further, an ISIS attack in the U.S. would pale compared to “the attacks of the past,” the op-ed piece states.
“They’ll [ISIS] be looking to do something big, something that would make any past operation look like a squirrel shoot, and the more groups that pledge allegiance the more possible it becomes to pull off something truly epic.
“Remember, all of this has happened in less than a year,” the piece continued. “How more dangerous will be the lines of communication and supply a year on from today?”
This isn’t the first time the terrorist group has made such a threat. In 2014, a British member of the extremist group with the nom de guerre Muslim al-Britani claimed it had obtained uranium during its seizure of an Iraqi university in Mosul and was in possession of a “dirty bomb.” Others have claimed they could cause major damage in Western capitals such as London, according to the British Mirror newspaper.
But many experts reject the idea that the major weapons possessed by ISIS could be easily transported outside Iraq or Syria. U.S. officials have maintained there is no indication that the militant group could easily obtain such weapons.