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    Scholar on Daesh Scientist: Info he Presented was Partially Published Before

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    An Iraqi scientist has revealed his role in manufacturing chemical toxins for the Daesh* terror group. In an exclusive interview with The Washington Post on Monday, the scientist - Suleiman al-Afari - said he was offered this job by jihadists following the capture of Mosul in 2014.

     

    Mr al-Afari who was a geologist with Iraq's Ministry of Industry and Minerals accepted the position as the Daesh terror group became the new government there.

    Afari, who's now on death row, detailed the terrorist group's successful attempts to make sulphur mustard as part of an effort to create new weapons and delivery systems to defend Daesh territory.

    Radio Sputnik has discussed this with Ely Karmon, Senior Research Scholar at The International Institute for Counter-Terrorism and Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Policy and Strategy at The Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, Israel.

    Sputnik: How convinced are you by the report and do you think that the scientist's story could be verified?

    Ely Karmon: It's quite an accurate report from the information that we have researched, that personally, I've led during the last years on the CBRN — chemical, biological and radiological attacks in Syria and Iraq. Practically all this information that he presented in the interview is known and it was partially published in the past.

    READ MORE: Daesh Seeks to Take Down Airplanes, Could Use Chemical Weapons — US Congressman

    Sputnik: With the story published by The Washington Post what are the chances that it would serve as another excuse for the United States not to withdraw from the Middle East?

    Ely Karmon: No, I don't think that this will change because there is a political decision by President Trump and we saw that even the advice and even the pressure from his state Defence Minister General Mattis and other very important advisers and officials did not convince the president. And again, this information was known.

    We know that most of the capabilities of ISIS [Daesh] in Iraq and Syria, but many in Iraq have been destroyed by the United States activities as it explains in the article.

    Because in 2015 the first head of the chemical project of ISIS which, by the way, was already one of the leaders of the chemical programme of Saddam Hussein, called Abu Malik or Salih Jasim Muhammed Falah al-Sabawi he was killed in a drone attack because he was considered to be a very dangerous person involved in the development of chemical weapons.

    Less than a year after that another very important leader of the chemical project called Abu Dawud, he was taken a prisoner and during his interrogation, the Americans and the Iraqi forces received a lot of information about laboratories and people involved in the project; mainly in the city of Mosul.

    And for several months the American coalition has targeted specifically these laboratories, part of the University of Mosul and private houses and destroyed systematically this kind of facilities because they were considered to be very dangerous not only for fighting in Iraq and Syria but also as a danger of countries outside the Middle East.

    READ MORE: Four Americans KILLED in Syria From Daesh Attack

    Sputnik: According to recent estimates the Islamic State [Daesh] has 30,000 fighters in Iraq and Syria is it possible that the group will make a comeback?

    Ely Karmon: They have decided on a two-stage strategy already before the liberation of Mosul in 2017. First of all by going in clandestine activity, insurgency inside Iraq, mainly Iraq because the leadership and many of the activists are of Iraqi origin and they have their support of some of the tribes, some part of the Sunni population.

    The second level of activity or decision was to relocate and most of the relocation happened already into Afghanistan. We see what's happened in Afghanistan because besides the Taliban there's a lot of activity of ISIS fighters. And partially in Libya, because Libya is still a very unstable and uncontrolled territory.

    We see even in Syria there's a small pocket in eastern Syria where the American forces together with Kurdish forces, the SDF, and some of the Arab tribes are fighting still ISIS. But also the Syrian army is fighting from Palmyra versus the Iraqi border. So there are some several thousand combatants but they're in defensive position, and clearly, the question is if the Americans will leave who will fight them?

    Turkey has promised to fight ISIS but from history, we know that from the past few years Turkey has cooperated in a way with ISIS. The main interest of Turkey is not ISIS but the Kurdish autonomy or independence in northern Syria.


    Sepatately, Professor Clive Williams MG, Centre for Military & Security Law from the Australian National University has also discussed the issue with Sputnik. "The consensus among arms control experts is that what Suleiman al-Afari says is highly credible. Given the circumstances under which he cooperated with Islamic State [Daesh*], and his subsequent assistance to the US and Kurds, it would seem inappropriate to execute him. It would also send the wrong message to others who might be prepared to cooperate with the US-led coalition in the future."

    Views and opinions, expressed in the article are those of Ely Karmon and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik

    * Daesh (ISIL/ISIS/IS/Islamic State) is a terrorist organisation banned in Russia

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    terrorists, chemical weapons, Daesh, Iraq, Mosul
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