Report: Jihadists With Syrian Chemical Weapons Are the UK's 'Most Worrying Emerging Terrorist Threat'

Credit: Unknown author/wikimediaCredit: Unknown author/wikimediaA British parliamentary committee has warned in its annual report that Al Qaeda-linked groups getting a hold of chemical weapons is the U.K.’s "most worrying emerging terrorist threat.”

The Intelligence and Security Committee added that “lone actors” continue to pose a threat to British security. From the BBC:

The report said there was a growing threat of attacks by "lone actors", like the assailant who stabbed Labour MP Stephen Timms while he was holding a surgery in his east London constituency in 2010.

By their nature, lone actors are much harder for intelligence agencies to detect, it added.

One Home Office official reportedly told the committee: "There is no doubt that the more sophisticated people in al-Qaeda recognise that groups are, in some ways, a thing of the past; and that encouraging lone acts of terror is exactly the way forward."

The British government has been one of Assad’s most vocal critics. Last month British Foreign Secretary William Hague said that it would be wrong to rule out arming Assad’s opposition, which includes some of the groups and individuals the Intelligence and Security Committee mentioned in their report.

The British, as well as the French, have been among the strongest advocates of some sort of intervention in Syria, having already sent non-lethal military aid. Last month, British Prime Minister David Cameron said that the British government could arm rebels in Syria without a vote in the House of Commons. However, according to Reuters there have been no confirmed shipments of weapons to rebels from the U.S. or Europe.

It is worrying that the situation in Syria is providing an environment where jihadists could potentially acquire chemical weapons. However, increased British intervention in Syria is hardly going to alleviate the chance of jihadists getting their hands on chemical weapons. As unpleasant as Al Qaeda-linked groups in Syria are, they could directly benefit from countries like the U.K. sending weapons to rebels.

If the British government is concerned about chemical weapons being used in the U.K. by a jihadist now fighting in Syria its interventionist policy should be immediately reconsidered. 

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • jester||

    Wrong. Tourists with liquids at airport screening points are the hugest threat. That's where you spend the most energy and inconvenience the most people.

  • tarran||

    John is fond of pointing out that the Jihadists have no loyalty to infidels who ally themselves with the jihadists.

    And he is 100% correct in this.

    These fuckers will happily take any aid or assistance from infidels as a short term thing and then turn against them since they fully believe that the faithful owe a non-submissive infidel neither consideration nor quarter.

    It's fucking insanity for the U.S. or the U.K. to get involved with these people.

    Accept the refugees and let the murderers kill each other off.

  • John||

    It is complete insanity. If you are worried about chemical weapons, send in troops to police up the weapons so the jihadists won't get them.

  • From the Tundra||

    According to Russia, they already did. Remind me why we're in the ME, again?

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    The problem is that sending in troops would be domestically unpopular, and would commit the administration to whatever the outcome is in Syria.

    The alternative (funding one of the two sides) is unfeasible for the reasons given by tarran.

    In short, this is an ideal situation in which to allow things to play out on their own. I am far from a non-interventionist, but interventionists have made such a religion of intervening abroad that they have no ability to simply stand aside and let things shake out.

  • John||

    I am hardly a non interventionist as well. But I can't see just sending weapons to people without any control over them or any influence in the outcome of the conflict.

    This is worse than Libya. Either go in and do something or stay the hell out. Just sending in weapons and randomly bombing people is the worst thing you can do.

  • Brett L||

    But how will they justify the intervention they all have agreed is necessary to keep the defense sectors of their economy buoyed without this bogeyman?

  • AlmightyJB||

  • NeonCat||

    I'm wondering how long it will take until someone uses drones for criminal and/or terrorist purposes. Will drones have to have some type of Friend or Foe transponder?

  • Almanian!||

    criminal and/or terrorist purposes

    Yo, Carney - you wanna field this one for the President? Thanks...

  • NeonCat||

    Lone Actors: A Soliloquy of Violence

  • Almanian!||

    Wow. This is a total surprise. NO ONE could have predicted this. Wow. We'd better thing fast about how to respond.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Video Game Nation: How gaming is making America freer – and more fun.
  • Matt Welch: How the left turned against free speech.
  • Nothing Left to Cut? Congress can’t live within their means.
  • And much more.

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement