Iran's Decades-Old Infiltration of Latin America

(Wall Street Journal) Bret Stephens - Policy analysts and military officials have been warning for years about Iran's infiltration of Latin America. The story begins with the 1992 bombing of the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires, an example of the way Tehran uses proxies such as Hizbullah to carry out its aims while giving it plausible deniability. Iran later got a boost when Hugo Chavez came to power in Venezuela and began seeding the top ranks of his government with Iranian sympathizers. In October 2006, a group called Hizbullah America Latina took responsibility for an attempted bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Caracas. Since Mahmoud Ahmadinejad came to power in 2005, Iran has increased the number of its embassies in Latin America to 11 from six. In September 2010, the Tucson, Ariz., police department issued an internal memo noting that "concerns have arisen concerning Hizbullah's presence in Mexico and possible ties to Mexican drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) operating along the U.S.-Mexico border. The potential partnership bares alarming implications due to Hizbullah's long-established capabilities, specifically their expertise in the making of vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs)." The memo also noted the appearance of Hizbullah insignia as tattoos on U.S. prison inmates.

2011-10-21 00:00:00

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