Those who study the region agree that the Islamic State’s
potential access to chemical weapons would achieve one of the fundamental goals
of a terrorist group.
“The strength of chemical and biological weapons is the fear
factor,” says Ben Connable, an intelligence analyst with the RAND Corporation
and a retired Marine Corps intelligence officer. “That’s what really separates
them apart from other munitions: There’s something inherently terrifying about
chemical and biological and radiological weapons.”
“The reason they’re able to take territory to begin with is
they have at least some support among local populations,” says Geneive Abdo, a
Middle East scholar and fellow at the Stimson Center and Brookings Institution.
“What’s going to crush — if they’re ever crushed — the Islamic State is a
lack of support.”
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