Is There an Iranian-Chavez Terror Network on America's Doorstep?

(Washington Post) Roger Noriega - Iran and Venezuela are conspiring to sow Tehran's brand of proxy terrorism in the Western Hemisphere. On Aug. 22, 2010, at Iran's suggestion, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez hosted senior leaders of Hamas, Hizbullah and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) in a secret summit at military intelligence headquarters in Caracas. Among those present were Palestinian Islamic Jihad Secretary General Ramadan Abdullah Mohammad Shallah, who is on the FBI's list of most-wanted terrorists; Hamas leader Khaled Meshal; and Hizbullah's "chief of operations," whose identity is a closely guarded secret. That these infamous criminals left their traditional havens demonstrates their confidence in Chavez and their determination to cultivate a terror network on America's doorstep. A Venezuelan government source has told me that two Iranian terrorist trainers are on Venezuela's Margarita Island instructing operatives from around the region. In addition, radical Muslims from Venezuela and Colombia are dispatched to Qom, Iran, for Islamic studies. The most fervent recruits are given weapons and explosives training and are returned home as "sleeper" agents. The writer was ambassador to the Organization of American States from 2001 to 2003 and assistant secretary of state from 2003 to 2005.

2011-03-21 00:00:00

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