Jihadi attempts to procure lethal and destructive weapons are endless. It is especially disturbing when they attempt to experiment with and acquire chemical and biological weapons. One recent post on a jihadi website outlined a user’s attempts at mixing chemical components to create deadly substances for terrorist purposes. The post, titled “The War of Poisons,” was authored by a user with the pseudonym “Wajeh al-Qamar,” who explained how to use different poisons against Americans in order to push them out of the Arabian Peninsula (https://alsayf.com, July 30).
Al-Qamar instructs fellow jihadis to mix cyanide with any type of body lotion that enlarges skin pores. According to al-Qamar’s theory, the skin will then absorb the cyanide in three to five seconds. Al-Qamar claims that experiments have already been completed on rabbits, which he explains have a similar blood pressure to humans. In the experiments, the cyanide-lotion mix quickly killed the rabbits. As part of this plot, al-Qamar suggests that jihadis smear the door handles of cars owned by Americans with small quantities of the cyanide-lotion mixture, or spray it in the air-conditioning vents of their cars or houses.
In addition to the cyanide-lotion mix, al-Qamar suggests that jihadis use malathion and propoxur to poison Americans—insecticides that are available from farming markets and can be easily purchased. According to al-Qamar, the insecticides, after being mixed with a third poisonous substance, would have a dangerous effect on the target, although it will not necessarily result in death. Al-Qamar then says, “I vowed to invent stronger poisons than cyanide,” and moved to explain how to pollute groceries of an American shopper with sodium peroxide and sodium oxide by injecting the fluids into their food products. Al-Qamar discusses other deadly substances that can be extracted from plants and explains how to transform them into either fluid or aerosol form. Al-Qamar acts as if he is an expert on chemicals since he uses medical terms to label the degree of health hazards that each substance might cause.
Regardless of the likelihood or effectiveness of the above terrorism strategies, they display the danger posed by jihadi use of the internet. If a jihadi with experience in chemical weapons was able to establish contact with a willing recruit in Europe, the United States or elsewhere, he would be able to transmit the necessary knowledge needed for a chemical attack. Moreover, direct contact between a handler and a recruit is not even necessary since the jihadi forums contain hundreds of documents outlining various methods to kill large numbers of people. The recruit does not have to be a member of al-Qaeda, but only a sympathizer willing to pursue the organization’s ideology.