Three weeks after the first supposed attack by Islamic State supporters in the US, in which two ISIS "soldiers" wounded a security guard before they were killed in Garland, Texas, the time has come to raise the fear stakes.
In an article posted in the terrorist group's English-language online magazine Dabiq (which as can be see below seems to have gotten its design cues straight from Madison Avenue and is just missing glossy pages filled with 'scratch and sniff' perfume ads ) ISIS claimed that it has enough money to buy a nuclear weapon from Pakistan and "carry out an attack inside the United States next year."
In the article, the ISIS columnist said the weapon could be smuggled into the United States via its southern border with Mexico.
Curiously, the author of the piece is John Cantlie, a British photojournalist who was abducted by ISIS in 2012 and has been held hostage by the organization ever since; he has appeared in several videos since his kidnapping and criticized Western powers.
As the Telegraph notes, "Mr Cantlie, whose fellow journalist hostages have all either been released or beheaded, has appeared in the group’s propaganda videos and written previous pieces. In his latest work, presumed to be written under pressure but in his hall-mark style combining hyperbole, metaphor and sarcasm, he says that President Obama’s policies for containing Isil have demonstrably failed and increased the risk to America."
Cantlie describes the following "hypothetical" scenario in Dabiq :
Let me throw a hypothetical operation onto the table. The Islamic State has billions of dollars in the bank, so they call on their wil?yah in Pakistan to purchase a nuclear device through weapons dealers with links to corrupt officials in the region.
The weapon is then transported overland until it makes it to Libya, where the muj?hid?n move it south to Nigeria. Drug shipments from Columbia bound for Europe pass through West Africa, so moving other types of contraband from East to West is just as possible.
The nuke and accompanying muj?hid?n arrive on the shorelines of South America and are transported through the porous borders of Central America before arriving in Mexico and up to the border with the United States.
From there it’s just a quick hop through a smuggling tunnel and hey presto, they’re mingling with another 12 million “illegal” aliens in America with a nuclear bomb in the trunk of their car.
Perhaps such a scenario is far-fetched but it’s the sum of all fears for Western intelligence agencies and it’s infinitely more possible today than it was just one year ago. And if not a nuke, what about a few thousand tons of ammonium nitrate explosive?