Obama warns Islamic State ‘madmen’ would gladly use nuclear weapons in terror attacks
Photo: President Barack Obama said IS could use nuclear material for a ‘dirty bomb’ to kill thousands of innocent people. (AFP: Mandel Ngan)
Extremist “madmen” from the Islamic State (IS) group would not hesitate to launch a catastrophic nuclear attack, US President Barack Obama warned global leaders at the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington.
Hoping to galvanise global action to prevent extremists from getting hold of nuclear weapons or material for a “dirty bomb,” Mr Obama painted an apocalyptic picture of the impact of a nuclear terror attack.
That threat has loomed large over the two-day summit, amid revelations that the IS carried out video surveillance on a top Belgian nuclear scientist.
“ISIL has already used chemical weapons, including mustard gas, in Syria and Iraq,” Mr Obama said.
“There is no doubt that if these madmen ever got their hands on a nuclear bomb or nuclear material, they most certainly would use it to continue to kill as many innocent people as possible.”
The summit, attended by more than 50 world leaders and delegates, is focused on securing global stockpiles of nuclear materials, stored by the military and by the medical and power industries.
Mr Obama said about 2,000 tonnes of nuclear materials are stored around the world at civilian and military facilities, but some of them are not properly secured.
“Just the smallest amount of plutonium — about the size of an apple — would kill and injure hundreds of thousands of innocent people,” he said.
“It would be a humanitarian, political, economic and environmental catastrophe with global ramifications for decades.
“It would change our world.”
Mr Obama said although no extremist group had succeeded in obtaining bomb materials, Al Qaeda had long sought them.
The summit saw the required 102 countries ratify an amendment to a nuclear security treaty that would tighten protections against nuclear theft and smuggling.
Leaders also agreed to strengthen their nuclear facilities against cyber attacks, something that outside experts see as a major weak point.
At the closing news conference, Mr Obama made clear the raucous Republican presidential race, particularly controversial comments by party front-runner Donald Trump, weighed on leaders’ discussions.
Mr Obama sternly dismissed Mr Trump’s recent suggestion that Japan and South Korea should be allowed to build their own nuclear arsenals, putting him at odds with decades of US policy.
“The person who made the statements doesn’t know much about foreign policy or nuclear policy or the Korean peninsula, or the world generally,” Mr Obama said.
Australia has ‘strong record’ in securing nuclear material: Bishop
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said Australia was committed to the global effort to secure nuclear material.
“Australia has a very strong record in securing our nuclear material as a uranium producer and exporter,” she said.
“The United States has praised Australia for its reduction of heavily enriched uranium down to less than three kilograms now.”
At one point Australia held 300 kilograms of uranium and the need for three kilograms, which is currently held for research purposes, is constantly under review, Ms Bishop said.
Ms Bishop said it was “heartening” to see so many countries represented at the summit which considered a hypothetical scenario involving the use of drones and access to nuclear material which presented “some terrifying possibilities”.
However Russian President Vladimir Putin did not attend, unwilling to join a US-dominated gathering at a time of increased tensions between Washington and Moscow over Ukraine and Syria.
The nuclear security summit comes in the wake of attacks in Paris and Brussels that have killed dozens and exposed Europe’s inability to thwart destabilising attacks or track IS operatives returning from Iraq and Syria.
Mr Obama has hosted the summit for four years and with 10 months left in office this may be the final meeting.
Israel could use dirty nuke in false flag attack in US: Ex-CIA contractor
Israel is testing dirty nuclear bombs in its deserts which could be used in a “false flag” attack in the United States to implicate Iran, a former CIA and NSA contractor says.
“One has to wonder if they [Israelis] feel that the momentum for realizing ‘greater Israel’ is going away, and if the world opinion is shifting, which clearly it seems to be… [then] we have to be concerned with a false flag attack on the United States in order to justify a retaliatory strike against Iran,” said Steven D Kelley.
“We know that this Israel is actually testing dirty nuclear devices in their desert right now, and we know this has no strategic value other than to be used as a terrorist device in a false flag attack,” he added. “So this is a very dangerous time.”
Kelley made the remarks after Israel’s ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer called on Republicans in Congress to reject the nuclear accord.
During a meeting with House Republicans on Wednesday, Dermer said a nuclear accord with the Islamic Republic will pave the way for a powerful nuclear Iran. He said Congress is the last stop to thwart the agreement.
“The Israeli ambassador’s efforts to convince the American Republican members of Congress to reject this historic nuclear agreement between Iran and the P5+1 is continuation of the efforts by Israel to cast Iran as the enemy of the world, and the greatest source of terrorism, which of course we know [that’s] exactly what Israel is,” Kelley stated.
“We know that AIPAC is going into overdrive trying to defeat this deal and convince Congress to hand a defeat to Obama. What should be noted now as we see the various voices that are coming out against this deal, we can trace these back to Israeli propaganda,” he added.
“And it should be very interesting now to see who those loudest voices are condemning this deal, because this is the best way to see who is the most deeply in the pocket of Israel and the Zionist lobby,” the analyst observed.
“But I still hope that this will work out, and that the efforts to defeat it will fail, and we can continue to move forward and defuse a very volatile situation, and God willing this will be successful,” Kelley concluded.
Iran and the P5+1 group — the United States, Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany – reached a conclusion on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on July 14 in the Austrian capital of Vienna following days of intense talks over Tehran’s nuclear program.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has fiercely opposed any nuclear agreement with Iran. He is pressing Washington to reject the nuclear agreement.
Barack Obama at nuclear summit: ‘madmen’ threaten global security
Barack Obama used his final nuclear security summit on Friday to deliver the stark warning that “madmen” could kill and injure hundreds of thousands of innocent people using only plutonium the size of an apple.