What could Isil actually do if they got their hands on nuclear material?

The confirmation that black market gangs have been offering nuclear materials for sale – and have expressly targeted Islamic State buyers – can hardly be received with equanimity.

There is no reason to believe that an organisation with so hellishly violent a track record as Isil would baulk at using such materials offensively if ever they had ready access to them.

It would, however, be premature to leap from news of (failed) transactions to visions of a nuclear-armed Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil), without first asking what they could actually do with any nuclear material they bought.

  • Blacksmith

    I am actually a little surprised they have used a dirty bomb or some other nuclear device in America yet, the southern border is wide open. I would expect them to bring it in and move it to some place with a higher population density. I don’t know if I would shed may tears if it was DC.

    • I am a bit surprised as well. If nothing else its a good terror weapon.

  • Xavier

    A dirty bomb detonated in a harbor where the prevailing winds would carry radiation over a populated area would be a nightmare scenario, and any U.S. port on the Gulf of Mexico would work. The media would scare the population into rioting and mass exodus of the region – look how they have successfully demonized the nuclear industry.

  • Barrington Minge

    With a bit of luck they will just give each other a healthy dose of radiation poisoning.

  • TJ

    They would not waste their time smuggling it into the US and risk getting caught. They would not even use it on Assad’s army. They will use it on some Muslims in the town right next door to ISIS controlled area that is the wrong kind of Muslims.In all likelihood it would fail to cause any acute radiation sickness if used in a dirty bomb, but in 20 years those that survive the war will get an increase in the rate of lung cancer.

  • Raymond Hietapakka

    Why are we still worrying about them? It’s time we had them szchiddting in their boots about us showing up…

  • tom_billesley

    Let ’em find out. Send some depleted uranium penetrator rounds their way.

  • Blind Druid

    I don’t think they have the technology even for a dirty bomb, unless they pay some other technically sophisticated nation to build it, that’s the threat. But somebody would probably leak that info, and Mossad would get real busy. The conventional weaponry they have, they have stolen or purchased from outside agents. Muzzies are low tech morons. Look at all the modern inventions and technical achievements in their countries. Sweet fuck all.