ISIS is urging its members to plan for war with Iran and has ambitions to seize Tehran’s nuclear secrets, according to a manifesto attributed to one of its most senior members.
The document, typed on perforated sheets, is believed to have been written by Abdullah Ahmed al-Meshedani, a member of Isis’s highly secretive six-man war cabinet.
It was picked up by an Iraqi special forces unit during a raid in March on the home of one of the commanders of Isis, also known as Islamic State.
Thought to be a policy manifesto prepared for senior members of Isis, it is being examined by western security officials, who believe it to be authentic.
If so, it offers a unique insight into the ambitions of the Islamist commanders who have shocked the world with their fanaticism and brutality.
Most ambitious , if unrealistic, of the aims set out in the document is a plan to get hold of nuclear weapons — with the help of Russia.
It proposes offering the Kremlin access to gas fields it controls in Iraq’s Anbar province, provided Russia, in return, gives up “Iran and its nuclear programme and hands over its secrets”.
It says Moscow would also have to abandon support for Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president, and back the Gulf states against Iran.
The document includes plans to unleash a vicious campaign of ethnic cleansing, Nazi-style eugenics and intelligence gathering operations to consolidate and expand the self-declared Islamic caliphate.
It lists 70 proposals — some chilling, some bizarre — aimed at stripping Shi’ite Iran of “all its power” and destroying the Shi’ite ascendancy in Iraq.
The Sunni Islamists of Isis view Shi’ite Muslims as apostates, accusing them in the manifesto of “perverting” Islam by holding idolatrous beliefs.
Al-Meshedani, whose duties include transporting suicide bombers and housing them in Isis-controlled territory, calls for the assassination of Iranian diplomats, businessmen and teachers.
He also incites followers — whom he calls “the torches of light” — to kill Iraqi military chiefs, Shi’ite officials and Iranian-backed militias fighting for the Iraqi government.
The document is likely to fuel concerns expressed by Theresa May, the home secretary, at the Conservative party conference, of the danger of Isis becoming the first “truly terrorist state”.
“We will see the risk, often prophesied but thank God not yet fulfilled, that with the capability of a state behind them, the terrorists will acquire chemical, biological or even nuclear weapons to attack us,” she has said.
A security source familiar with the document told The Sunday Times: “Nothing shocks western governments these days in relation to Isis and its fanatical aspirations.
“And we’ve known and feared for some time that they want to obtain chemical and nuclear weapons.
“So when you place their future aspirations against their current achievements, this document which purports to be the group’s manifesto does stop and make you think.”
Outlining a geopolitical strategy to cripple Iran, the manifesto suggests building a canal “like the Panama Canal in America’s hands”.
The proposed waterway would cross the United Arab Emirates, opening up a new international shipping corridor from the Gulf that would allow oil freighters to bypass the Strait of Hormuz, which Iran dominates.
Al-Meshedani also suggests buying islands from Yemen and the Comoros, in the Indian Ocean, “to establish a military base on the flank of the Arab lands”.
Looking further ahead, he wants more Pakistani and Syrian Sunnis to move to the Gulf. They will “marry early and have many children”, who will be trained to become “special forces” to target Shi’ites in the Gulf.
Outlandishly, the document also calls for the destruction of Iran’s caviar industry “because it is a national treasure” and urges followers to “exterminate” its carpet industry by encouraging Afghan carpet makers to flood the Middle Eastern market.
Al-Meshedani’s core message is chilling, however. In an indication of Isis’s brutal ideology, he writes that its intelligence operatives will “eliminate” its own leaders if they deviate from its “desired goal”.
“The leadership of the political wing must know that it is being watched and listened to by the intelligence apparatuses which pass on everything, small or large,” he says.
Veryan Khan, director of Terrorism Research & Analysis Consortium, a US-based terrorism monitoring group, said the document provided an insight into the group’s thinking.
“They [Isis] are not focused on merely supporting themselves with ransom activities and oil theft, they know that in order to survive they have to generate income in legitimate ways,” she said.
“I am convinced this was passed out among senior personnel of Islamic State. To fully explain a 100-year plan is completely unique — they are proving that they are visionaries to the rest of the senior staff.”