National Security: With U.S. focus on elections, America’s enemies are not resting idle. South of our border, Marxist-Islamofascist activity is surging. From beneath the radar, the war on terror is creeping toward our border. A first clue that all is not quiet on the southern front can be found in the latest news:
— U.S. Marines are reportedly hunting for Los Zetas cartel members in south Guatemala in “Operation Martillo.”
— Two CIA employees were accidentally shot by Mexican Federales at a checkpoint ahead of a drug training session in Mexico.
— Navy SEALs are reportedly on a mission to hunt down Sinaloa Cartel kingpin Chapo Guzman, who may be hiding out in Mexico, northern Honduras or the tri-corner area of Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil.
These are not ordinary law enforcement operations, like the large-scale Drug Enforcement Administration task force that destroyed Colombia’s Medellin Cartel in 1993.
They are national security operations, led by the Departments of State and Defense, whose strategic statements say their first mission is to defend the U.S. and its interests.
The operations seem to have the appearance of hunting for drugs. But their real mission is to end the threat of cartels that are not only menacing small Central American states, but also acting as critical intermediaries for terror groups such as Hezbollah.
In testimony to Congress last year, Gen. Douglas Fraser noted that the Southern Command was watching for “the implications of activities of nations such as Iran in our area of responsibility.”
The Iranian-linked terror organization uses cartels to run arms into the U.S. and draws backing from de facto state sponsors of terror such as Nicaragua, Cuba and Venezuela, creating an unholy triangle.
According to Jon Perdue, author of a new book, “The War of All The People,” these anti-American states, the drug cartels and Islamofascist terrorists have now forged an alliance not seen since the ’70s or ’80s.
“Three impending events — the Venezuelan elections in October, the U.S. elections in November and what Israel discerns as the closing window of opportunity in which a strike on Iran would have a reasonable chance of success — are all increasing the pressure to know what’s going on south of our border,” Perdue told IBD.
“Iran’s proxies have been in the region for enough time to pose a cross-border threat to the U.S. in retaliation for any Israeli strike.”
U.S. officials in far-flung places are sounding the same warning of possible attacks:
“We are increasingly concerned about Hezbollah’s activities on a number of fronts, including their stepped-up terrorism campaign around the world with their members’ and supporters’ growing involvement in large-scale, international criminal activity,” said an anonymous U.S. diplomatic source in an interview last month with Lebanon Now.
“Our assessment is that Hezbollah and Iran will both continue to maintain a heightened level of terrorist activity and operations in the near future.”
That makes the recent news from Israeli Radio that Iran has set up and supplied a Hezbollah training camp for 30 terrorists in Nicaragua near the Honduran border all the more significant. The base serves as a “meeting point for drug cartels” to acquire weapons and launder money, Israeli Radio says.
Incredibly, it’s not the first such base in our hemisphere. Iran already has a forward operating base in north Venezuela, where a hostile, anti-American regime is a magnet for terror and drug groups.
This is worth noting, because the U.S. has been caught off guard in the past. The Obama administration has already cut the military budget for these operations and is reluctant to confront Hezbollah’s sponsors such as Venezuela even when the evidence of its complicity is obvious. Venezuela, President Obama has said, “is not a threat.” He also leaves our border unguarded.
Iran, however, seems to be looking for a way to a wedge to project power. The mounting evidence is that as we sleep, it has found one through the rogue states and drug cartels of Latin America.