10 July 2014, 19:24

ISIS Extremists Get Their Hands on Uranium

ISIS members with seized weapons.

ISIS members with seized weapons.

ISIS members with seized weapons.

By Tawab Malekzad

WASHINGTON (VR)— Jihadist group Islam State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has recently managed to get uranium. On July 8th, Iraq’s Ambassador to the United Nations told the UN Secretary General that ISIS had seized 88 pounds of uranium from a university in Mosul, according to Reuters.

The Iraq’s security forces have been fighting against ISIS for weeks over control of some major cities. ISIS is not only in control of some Iraqi cities, but also vast areas of Syria as well. The fast growth of ISIS in membership numbers and influence in the region poses a threat to the security and stability of the region.

ISIS’s recent access to uranium is an important bargaining chip for extremists, which have declared a goal of creating a caliphate across the Middle East, North Africa, Central Asia and some parts of Europe.

“Luckily the uranium is not highly enriched” said Tom Collina, Research director at Arms Control--meaning the uranium that the ISIS has allegedly acquired cannot be used for nuclear weapon purposes.

Although it is not highly enriched uranium, the ISIS could smuggle the material out of Iraq, or could sell it to other states and actors who are in search of such material.

Collina warned “it shows that they are trying; we need to do a better job of keeping these kinds of materials out of dangerous hands. Had this been weapon- use material, this would have been a very dangerous situation.”

Yet the question remains, what is ISIS going to do with 88 pounds of uranium?

“I think it is a dangerous precedent, this is something that everybody was afraid of … the rebels got their hands on it what they can do with it is difficult to foresee” said Nasir Shansab, a Middle East expert.

Shansab added that if ISIS “have the technology they might make a small dirty bomb that can be carried easily to a major city and blown up, or could simply be used as a barging chip for recognition and security.”

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