So, ISIS now has a "weapons lab"

See subject:

The entire report, on SkyNews, has the byline of Major Chris Hunter, “former [UK?] special forces bomb technician”:

…The shocking footage of the improvised fighter jet rocket demonstrated the ISIS instructors advanced understanding of every part of the missile’s highly intricate array of components.

Terrifyingly, those components: the seeker unit, infra-red homing radar, and all the other complex avionics that control the missile and its deadly explosive payload, had all been modified to turn the obsolete munition into a deadly remote controlled surface to air missile that could be fired against a range of aircraft such as helicopters, low flying jets and unmanned aerial vehicles.

The ability to reverse engineer and modify advanced weapons of this type, is something no terrorist group has ever achieved…

The tone is typically (journalistically) alarmist. To all our SD special force people, bomb technicians, engineers, terrorists, and their armchair followers: are the skill sets here truly higher than the Taliban, al-Queda, Hamas or Hizbollah, for example, that we’ve seen? (Of course, they have Iran as a military supplier when it sees fit, so the situation is different.)

Why wouldn’t they? Many members of ISIS were soldiers and scientists in Saddam’s regime, where they would be familiar with weapons research, and they have access to plenty of cash.

Whoever wrote that doesn’t even have enough technical knowledge to use the terminology properly. “Fighter jet rocket” and “infra-red homing radar” are contradictions in terms which only the clueless would use. We can safely ignore or ridicule this author.

Who does? Hezbollah, yes. Certainly not any of those others.

And “truly the stuff of nightmares” is the typical over-the-top headline of a weak article.

You have to be smart to do these things. ISIS is just a bunch of horny twenty something Arab men that still think the earth is at the center of the universe. I wouldn’t worry too much about these guys. Yes they want to kill us all. They will just end up killing themselves in the process. As always it’s just my opinion

Moderator Note: The name of the forum is General Questions, not In My Opinion. Try to contribute factual information.

samclem, moderator

Okay, I see a lot of problems with this. For example, he says it has “infra-red homing radar” which is self-contradictory. Those are two very different technologies that do very different things. Then in the same paragraph he says is “remote controlled.” He has attributed three different tracking methods to a single munition.

But to address the larger issue: ISIS has yet to demonstrate their ability to actually attack aircraft. The claim that they are technologically more sophisticated than other groups is also dubious. They clearly inherit personnel and TTPs from the Iraq conflict, some of whom were very, very smart. Also, with regard to MANPADs, the Taliban were handed a huge number of MANPADs by the Reagan Administration… But how many times did a MANPADS rocket actually down a US aircraft?

The claim that they possess chemical weapons is also not unique. Many terrorist groups have developed chemical weapons. The problem is making a dispersal mechanism. Attempted chlorine bombs in Iraq had a very unsophisticated dispersal that limited their use. Even Aum Shinrikyo, which possessed undoubtedly the most sophisticated chemical lab ever, had to resort to poking a hole in a plastic bag and then running away really fast.

Mustard gas is undoubtedly dangerous and could cause a great number of injuries, but it is hardly in the same league as nerve agents. A person with a raincoat and a garden hose could de-contaminate an exposed area.

As a general matter, the technological sophistication of terrorist groups has grown by a lot over the last couple decades, but even still one should not discount the ingenuity and expertise of groups before ISIL.

To use one example, the Provisional IRA’s use of a truck to conceal mortars which were fired on the Prime Minister’s residence in 1991, was a pretty sophisticated attack.

More recently, as the article glosses over, the sophistication of IEDs in Iraq grew very quickly. It was soon discovered that the U.S. had countermeasures against attaching a garage door opener to some explosives, and more technologically adept weapons were devised. The U.S. ended up spending billions on JIEDDO from 2006 to present to develop new ways to counter these increasing sophisticated, and yet simple, weapons.

My quick inexpert opinion of the video is that it can leave the viewer with the opinion that all the technologies in the video will actually work. It’s one thing to have a very clever or sophisticated weapon, and it’s another thing to successfully use it in an attack. Case in point is the attempted bombing of a Northwest flight on Christmas 2009. The perpetrator was wearing a bomb that was of a very clever design that successfully eluded security screenings, and would undoubtedly caused very serious damage to the aircraft had it detonated. However, it did not work - which probably was a stroke of luck rather than the fault of an unskilled bomb maker.

[nitpick to OP]
It’s “al-Qaeda” not “al-Queda” and it doesn’t matter how many times you tried typing it till one of them looked right. Next time look it up. And don’t try to pass it off as a typo.

Ftr, owned by Rupert Murdoch, its a cable channel.

I don’t know what that means and it doesn’t seem to exist n Google.

I cited a story in words written and published in the format of a news article. So it was bylined.

Unless you’re snarking politically about Murdoch particularly–his journalism vs. others–which is unwarranted.

His biography is here:


Uh, looks like my link got screwed up. Trying again…

They literally have millions of dollars at their disposal to wreak havoc against slow maneuvering commercial aircraft with no defense systems.