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he Iranian-supported Shi’ite terrorist group Hezbollah has spread its influence all the way to the U.S. border with Mexico, a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on Iran’s influence in the Western Hemisphere heard on Thursday.
Michael Braun, a former chief of operations at the Drug Enforcement Agency, said Hezbollah had developed relationships with the powerful Mexican drug cartels to “move their agenda forward.” He cited a plot, recently uncovered by the DEA, involving an Iranian operative in Mexico allegedly planning to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in Washington, D.C.
“Hezbollah are absolute masters at forming close relationships with existing organized crime groups around the world that helps them facilitate what they need to do to move their agendas forward,” Braun told CNSNews.com following the hearing. “And if anyone thinks for a moment that they don’t have their eye on the southwest border and all of our country, then they couldn’t be more wrong.”
“If anyone thinks for one moment that these terrorist organizations do not understand that the Mexican drug trafficking cartels now dominate drug trafficking in our country – reportedly in more than 250 cities – than they are very stupid or very naive,” he said.
“And these groups most assuredly recognize the strategic value of exploiting that activity, and all that has been built to support it, for moving their vision forward in this part of the world.”
Braun said Quds Force and Hezbollah work “very, very hard” to develop relationships with criminal groups that already have in place systems for illegal activities, including drug and human trafficking, money laundering and forged document operations.
“And by developing those relations it provides them with the ability to operate far from home in our neighborhood and – as I said earlier – on our doorstep,” he replied.
Venezuela is Iran's main hub in Latin America.Prior to 2005, Iran's investment in the South American country was zero.Yet in the past six years alone, Iran and Venezuela have conducted over $40 billion in trade, as Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez has embraced the Iranians with open arms. "They have identified each other as mutually useful, beneficial partners," Cardenas said. "And so, as Iran has attempted to evade international sanctions, Hugo Chavez has invited them in to basically establish a platform that allows Iran to use the Venezuelan banking system - from which they're prohibited from using elsewhere - in the international economic system," he explained.
Cardenas said the Iranians are using Venezuela not only to evade sanctions but to mine for uranium that will be used to build nuclear weapons. There have also been reports that Iran plans to build a missile base in Venezuela. "These missiles would obviously be able to hit urban centers in Florida," Cardenas warned. "They would also be able to debilitate the Panama Canal." "And if they debilitate the Panama Canal, that would have profound economic consequences for the United States," he added.
Hezbollah set up shop in the tri-border region because of its large population of Arab expatriates. It's used the same strategy on Margarita Island, off the coast of Venezuela. "We know that in April of this year, there were a couple of Iranian Hezbollah trainers that did training on Margarita Island for operatives who were brought to that place from throughout Latin America," said Roger Noriega, a visiting fellow with the American Enterprise Institute.
Noriega, a former State Department official, told CBN News that Hezbollah uses Latin America for training, fundraising, and much more. A recent Italian media report said the group has even established a cell in Cuba. "There's a network of mosques and Islamic centers throughout Latin America that are part of this network," Noriega said. "They recruit through them, they process people through them."
The most promising recruits, including Latin American converts to Islam, are sent back to the Iranian holy city of Qom for training. Conventional wisdom is 'It's all religious training.' But no: they learn terrorist techniques, explosives, bomb-making and arms training," Noriega said.
The Tri-Border Area (TBA) between Argentina, Paraguay, and Brazil is comprised of three cities: Puerto Iguazu (Argentina), Ciudad del Este (Paraguay), and Foz do Iguacu (Brazil). The area is well known as a haven for illicit activities ranging from counterfeiting to intellectual property theft to money laundering, and has been pointed to as a central point for the laundering of funds from drug trafficking and for the funding of terrorist organizations (believed to come from supporters within the large Arab population in the region). Specializing in financial crime, the area is known as the “largest illicit economy in the Western Hemisphere.” A Federal Research Division, Library of Congress report notes that while estimates of the amount of money laundered in the TBA vary greatly, the amount was reported to average 12 billion USD per year as of 2000-01.
The tri-border’s most attractive feature to a terrorist cell may be the relative ease with which money is laundered and transferred to and from regions overseas. Evidence linking al-Qai’da financial and operational activity to the tri-border region is sparse at best, yet this small corner of South America possesses all the characteristics necessary for an al-Qai’da lair. Law enforcement and intelligence agencies are quite certain that money is being raised for Hizballah in the tri-border region, giving…purported links between al-Qai’da and Hizballah even greater import.
"As long as people believe in absurdities they will continue to commit atrocities. “
There is no doubt that the assertion that the terrorist group called Al Qaeda and the Mexican Zetas have formed an alliance that threatens U.S. national security, it seems not very serious and even funny, except that it is a warning made under oath before the U.S. Congress by James Clapper director of national intelligence of the U.S. government.
A Mexican radio station on Tuesday claimed it had a report that the Mexican marines had foiled a plot by the Somalian Islamic group al-Shabaab to attack the U.S. embassay in Mexico City.
MVS anchor Carmen Aristegui announced the scoop, which if confirmed would provide the strongest evidence to date that Islamic militant groups are operating in Mexico.
According to the alleged leaked report, marines raided a house in the middle-class Mexico City Roma neighborhood on 9 June, 2010 and found 22.7 kilos of explosive material along with detonators.
Originally posted by Blackmarketeer
The cartels would never tolerate foreign invaders like Hezbollah or any Islamic radical sect. Mexico is very Catholic, some 85% of the population. The cartels would have absolutely nothing to gain by aligning with Hezbollah, not to mention the extreme cultural divide. This is just fear-mongering. You can walk in places from Canada into the United States, there are even unguarded roads between the US and Canada, and how hard is it to enter the remoter wilderness of Canada by boat? If Hezbollah or terrorists wanted to smuggle a WMD in, that's where it would be. I'd worry more about someone in the DEA laying the ground work for false flag attacks or fishing for more budget funding than drug cartels suddenly taking a sudden liking to radical Islamic sects.
Former Border Patrol Agent Zachary Taylor told The Blaze just how grave the threat really is.
Taylor broke down the imminent dangers and expanded upon the case that the U.S.-Mexico border has become the soft underbelly of U.S. homeland defense.
It’s not just an immigration problem, Taylor insisted, but also a major national security vulnerability.
A former US Border Patrol Agent himself, Taylor says all these threats have been exacerbated by current Obama administration policies and deliberate distortions by much of the media.
“Mexico has an insurgency on its hands — that is exactly what the problem is — and America will have the same problem as it makes it easier to get across the border,” Taylor said.
But Taylor brought some outside elements into his analysis. He stated that drug cartel activity and terrorist activity are both transnational in nature, which means groups from around the world have become involved.
In this case, that means the Shia militant group Hezbollah.
Taylor said that Hezbollah is allying with the drug and alien smuggling operations at the border to help finance their operations in the Middle East. And in the event of hostilities with Hezbollah’s benefactor — Iran — Taylor is concerned that the cartel smuggling networks could help make America’s WMD nightmare come true.
“Get them close enough and effective enough, they [Hezbollah] could smuggle a Weapon of Mass Destruction into the United States.”
Who has been keeping an eye on this over the years and given the knowledge that we have had for so long, why have our Southern Borders been so grossly neglected. We should have been fortifying our southern border 20 years ago.
But the report, "International Terrorism and Transnational Crime: Security Threats, U.S. Policy, and Considerations for Congress," focuses primarily on the group's fundraising in the Western hemisphere — not operational support for the group. While millions of dollars are channeled back to Lebanon every year by criminal enterprises, those operations aren't typically owned or operated by Hezbollah members, the report says. Instead, the criminals are donors who support the group for religious, ideological or personal reasons.