Again this week ISIS has conducted a major terrorist attack in Europe by ISIS. By targeting crowds of people at transportation hubs used by millions, they appear to have been trying to kill as many as possible with as much economic consequence as possible.
If this conclusion is correct about their motives, then it reinforces the concern that ISIS will use chemical or perhaps even biological weapons. They have motive and capability.
This risk, highlighted in previous posts below, is not going away. ISIS retains the required infrastructure in Syria and Iraq to produce either mustard or sarin agents. For the military battlefield tasks ISIS confronts, neither agent is particularly helpful, though terrifying to civilians.
However, to create horror with major economic effect, chemical or biological weapons dispersed in western cities would be highly effective–more than conventional bombs.
The US strategy of going after ISIS financing is wise and seems to be having substantial effect. The US is also going after leadership as it did against Al Qae’da.
CW capacity (and potentially BW) should also be a major priority. If ISIS can smuggle large amounts of military grade explosives and weapons into Brussels, then containers of chemical agent can get there as well. It’s only a matter of time.
Which also raises the question, Do major European cities have the capacity to react? Judging from the way Brussels handled conventional terror attacks, I doubt it. Imagine all the first responders seen in video during this weeks attacks–do the local response teams have chemical protection gear? Do they know how to use it? Do they have mobile chemical/biological detection gear? How long will large areas be blocked off? This will be far more devastating that conventional terror attacks. Imagine even a rudimentary attack in Gare du Nord (busiest train station in Europe, on a par with Grand Central Station–700,000 passengers a day. Paris may not burn but it will come to a stop.