In Latin America, radical Islamic presence flourishes while key countries downplay the threat

86886005CSP, by Luis Fleischman, January 17, 2015:

As a result of last week’s heinous terrorist attack in France that took the lives of 16 innocent people, President Barack Obama has set in motion plans for a counter-terrorism summit to be held on February 18th in Washington DC.

It is likely that mostly North American and European countries will attend this summit meeting despite the fact that there have been recent terrorist attacks in other parts of the world such as those in Ottawa, Canada and Sidney, Australia and the northern region of Nigeria. In other words, simple logic indicates that these types of attacks could take place anywhere.

Before September 11, 2001 , the deadliest terrorist attacks in the Western Hemisphere took place in Argentina against the Israeli embassy in 1992 and then the Argentinean Jewish community headquarters in 1994.

However, we do not have to go back two decades .to stress the very real presence of terrorism in Latin America.

Most recently the Peruvian authorities foiled a terrorist plot against Jews and Israelis. The attacker was a Lebanese member of Hezbollah’s foreign terror operations branch. He reportedly planned to attack locations popular among Israeli backpackers as well as against the Israeli embassy in Lima and other institutions of the Peruvian Jewish community.

As a result of his arrest by the Peruvian authorities early in November, Brazilian police uncovered documents according to which Lebanese traffickers who are members of Hezbollah have helped the Brazilian gang known as First Capital Command (PCC) obtain weapons. Hezbollah provided the PCC with access to arms smugglers. Most of these Hezbollah operatives were based in the tri-border area (where Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina’s borders meet), a place known as being a big center of Hezbollah’s fundraising and other operations.

Of course, the connections between criminal and drug cartels with terrorist groups have been reported for a long time. The problem is not only limited to the fact that terrorist groups and criminal gangs or cartels logistically cooperate to advance their respective goals. The problem is also that criminals and jails are sources of recruitment for future terrorists.

It is enough to look at Amedy Coulibaly, the man suspected of killing a trainee police officer in Southern Paris on January 8th and also the person responsible for the seizing of the kosher supermarket on January 9th. Coulibaly was a petty criminal before he became a monstruous jihadist. He had six previous convictions, one for robbery and one for drugs. While in jail he was mentored by Djamel Beghal, a jihadist imprisoned in 2001 for planning an attack against the U.S. embassy in Paris. It was in jail where he met one of the Kouachi brothers, who were responsible for the attack on the satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo.

Given what we have seen so far of the radicalization of criminals, would it not be plausible for criminal elements from the Brazilian PCC to turn into Jihadists? Should it be ruled out that these Jihadists could attack a magazine such as “Veja” known for its’ anti-terrorist views or even carry out an attack on an American or European embassy or institution in Brazil?

So, what has been the attitude of the Brazilin authorities?

Brazil has denied that there is any terrorist activity in Brazil despite the fact that Hezbollah has major cells operating in the country and even some Al Qaeda operatives. They have been the least cooperative country in tracking activities in the tri-border area.

Brazil has been ruled by the leftist Workers Party since 2003. For them counter-terrorist activities are associated with Brazil’s military dictatorship of the mid 1960’s and 70’sthat carried out a heavy war against local guerillas and other subversive and dissenting activists.. Since that war brought about major human rights violations and loss of lives, Brazil has viewed the war on terror as something negative.

Brazil does not consider Hezbollah, Hamas, or even the familiar Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) as terrorist entities. By the same token, an Al Qaeda suspect was released by a Brazilian judge.

Yet, it is interesting that the government of the Workers Party under Dilma Rousseff considered an ill-conceived anti-terorrism law in the wake of the massive anti-government protests in the summer of 2013.

The debate was highly controversial and for very good reasons. The Brazilian anti-terrorist bill was aimed at controlling unrest, particularly as the World Cup was approaching. The bill was aimed at social control. It had nothing to do with terrorism. Terrorism was used cynically. The bill defined terrorism very vaguely such as “provoking or infusing generalized terror or panic through offense or attempt at offense to life, physical integrity, health or deprivation of liberty of a person”. This general definition could easily criminalize social protests and other acts that are significantly below any act of terrorism.

In Argentina, President Cristina Kirchner and her associates seriously tried to apply anti-terrorist laws against American investment funds known as “vulture funds” for causing debt in Argentina and for applying “financial terror”. In fact, Kirchner absurdly tried to impose the anti-terror law against a company that declared bankruptcy since that decision created “economic chaos”.

Even worse than that, on January 15th, the prosecutor for the terrorist attacks against the Jewish headquarters in Argentina, Alberto Nisman, filed a 300-page complaint accusing President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman and other political figures associated with the government of “covering up” for Iranian operatives allegedly involved in the deadly 1994 attack. According to Nisman, the Kirchner Administration attempted to remove Iran from any incrimination related to the terrorist attack that left 85 people dead and hundreds of Argentinean citizens injured. The idea was to strengthen trade relations with Iran in order to alleviate the energy crisis by exchanging “oil for grains”. However, such trade could not be done without removing the accusations against Iran.

Between Brazil’s cynical approach to terrorism and Argentina’s de-facto alliance with it, the situation in the region is very serious.

As terrorist organizations have a strong presence in countries such as Venezuela, Latin America cannot be excluded from the anti-terrorist summit and cannot be ignored. Venezuela and a number of other countries are selling passports to Iranians as well as other individuals from the Middle East. (http://www.theamericasreport.com/2013/10/15/irans-presence-is-multifaceted-and-reaches-remote-places-in-latin-america/ ).

Furthermore, a few years ago Nisman reported in a 500 page document the presence of Iranian and Hezbollah cells in several countries in South America and that Iran plans to establish intelligence bases in every country in order to carry out, promote, and sponsor terrorists.

Furthermore, if there is a campaign to uproot radical Islam from Europe altogether, it is likely that terrorists will shift their operations to other areas where they won’t be bothered and can still do harm to Western targets. Latin America’s neutrality towards Islamic terrorism makes the region one of the most likely areas of choice for them, particularly when terrorists already have a well rooted presence.

President Obama needs to develop a real global strategy on the war against terrorism. The countries of Latin America should not be neglected. The Latin American regional block bears responsibility to protect every resident and institution that exists within their borders. Their cynical and manipulative attitude towards terrorism needs to be challenged. It is in America’s interest.

Dr. Luis Fleischman is a Senior adviser to the Menges Hemispheric Security Project at the Center for Security Policy in Washington DC. He is also an adjunct professor of Political Science and Sociology at Wilkes Honor College at Florida Atlantic University. He is the author of the upcoming book, “Latin America in the Post-Chavez Era: The Security Threat to the United States.”

Also see:

Former Amb. on State Dept. Report on Hezbollah: “Borders on a Lie”

-694421257Center For Security Policy:

Roger Noriega, former assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs, is blasting a recently released State Department report, which claims that there are no “known operational cells of either al-Qa’ida or Hizballah” in the Western Hemisphere.

“Quite frankly, to be very blunt about it, I think this [report] borders on a lie. This report has become a diplomatic report, formulated not to offend anybody. But in terms of shedding any real operational, tactical light on the very real threat that we face in this hemisphere…it just falls well short of that.”

In an interview airing Tuesday on Frank Gaffney’s radio show, Noriega lays part of the blame for the mincing of words in the State Department’s report on the same “fear of offending” that led to the much-criticized Benghazi talking points—in this instance, fear of offending Mexico.

To this shortcoming, Noriega has some blunt advice. “The Mexicans are grownups. They don’t want a terrorist threat to happen in their territory or along our mutual border worse than any of us. We just have to shoot straight with them.”

Additionally, because of the Obama administration’s desire to see organized terrorism as obsolete, he argues, it seemingly has “set the bar so high that they don’t have to acknowledge any kind of threat, so they have an instantaneous excuse not to formulate an effective policy for responding to that threat.“

“This administration is very fond of saying how they’ve shattered the leadership of international terrorism and that we only have to worry about these lone wolves,” Noriega says.  “Then they flip it around and say, ‘Well, there may be lone wolves, but there’s no operational control.’ Well, really, they can’t have it both ways.”

Noriega contends that there are substantial threats posed by Hezbollah and Iranian operatives in the region, including Mohsen Rabbani, who is wanted in connection to the 1994 terrorist bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, and Ghazi Atef Nassereddine Abu Ali. According to Noriega, the latter is “Hezbollah’s representative to the petro-rich state of Venezuela, which is essentially a sponsor of Hezbollah and Iran’s best friend in the Western hemisphere.”

Those two men and their allies are not “lone-wolves,” but experts working with extensive financial backing, Noriega says, that are part of a wider threat. “What we see here is really a synergy, a collaborative threat of narco-traffickers, money launderers, radical political movements, terrorist organizations, Iran and Venezuela, all operating—maybe not in a coordinated or integrated way, but definitely in a collaborative way.”

South American & Mexican Hezbollah Jihadis Threaten the United States

20130220_hezbollah_south_americaby ALAN KORNMAN:

History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or the timid” – Gen. Eisenhower.

The Iranians and their terrorist proxy Hezbollah has been building forward operating bases in the Tri-Border area of South America and Mexico for the last three decades.  Venezuela’s uranium deposits have been an important and rarely reported on component fueling Iran’s efforts to win the hearts and minds of the people in Latin America and Mexico.

Iranian Press Expose the Hispanic Insurgency

Sending young Iranian clerics to Latin American countries to spread Iranian-style radical Shi’ite Islam: To prepare for such missions, clerics train for three years, and study a variety of subjects to help them in their activity in Latin America: Spanish, religions and cultures of Latin America, and skills for converting Spanish speakers to Islam. In February 2012 Hojjat-ol-Eslam Ruhollah Maheri, the deputy director of the institute, announced that registration was open for the eighth course. Those interested were asked to call the institute or send an application form by email (AmuzehSpanish@gmail.com). (Rasa News Agency, 2/15/2012)(ITIC)

U.S. Congress Alerts The Nation

Congressman Michael McCaul, Chairman Subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations, and Management, in a 2012 report report titled, “A Line  In The Sand: Countering Crime, Violence and Terror At The Southwest Border“,  is alerting Americans to a very serious problem that we must all become aware.

Of growing concern are Hezbollah, Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Quds Force, partnering with Mexican and South American drug syndicates, joining in  lucrative drug, gun running, counterfeiting, and human trafficking operations.  Out of these associations, Islamic terrorist groups are making hundreds of millions of dollars while exploiting our Mexican border and entering the United States at any time of their choosing, often cloaked as illegal immigrants.

Wikileaks Exposes U.S. Brazilian Counterterrorism Recommendations (2011)

CONFIDENTIAL SÃO PAULO 000653

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR SR FARAH PANDITH, KAREN CHANDLER AMEMBASSY BRASILIA PASS TO AMCONSUL RECIFE

E.O. 12958: DECL: 2019/11/20

TAGS: PGOV OEXC OIIP PHUM PINR PINS PROP SCUL PTER BR

SUBJECT: Scenesetter for SR Farah Pandith’s Visit to Brazil: São Paulo’s Muslims

REF: São PAULO 433 São PAULO 421 BRASILIA 709 2008 São PAULO 542

Classified By: David C. Brooks, State POL; Reason: 1.4 (d)

The U.S. government also wishes to develop relations between U.S. Muslim community leaders and the Muslim communities in Brazil. They hope that by fostering a connection they will “bolster mainstream Islam in Brazil, highlight the importance of freedom of religion in America, the diversity of Islam in America, and debunk the myths that exist about Islam in America.” Additionally it would further the Sao Paulo Muslim community’s effort to spread its “interfaith relations… with other Muslim communities around the World.”

“Post, Karen Chandler, has suggested several possible programs, including a campaign to provide consular information to Muslim contacts, a series of outreach presentations on President Obama, and, most important, our desire to bring down a visiting U.S. Sheik who can explain how Islam is now a vital part of American society and build ties with local religious leaders. Given its size, diversity and traditions of cultural tolerance, Brazil could be an excellent testing ground for programs that might be useful to other WHA posts with similar Muslim minority populations.”

Obama and State Department Arrogance and Idiocy Towards Political Islam

The United States is an Infidel nation, following man made laws, in direct violation of Islamic Law.  For President Obama’s Foreign Policy team to think we can “influence Hezbollah Islam in Brazil by promoting the diversity of Islam in America” as a force multiplier across the South America region to counter the Hezbollah power base in the tri-border area, is patently absurd and quite dangerous.

Our State Department articulates they will achieve this naive objective above by doing a “series of outreach presentations on President Obama and bringing down a U.S. Sheik to say how important Islam is to American Society.”

The WikiLeaks memo above focuses a neon light on how utterly ignorant our State Department officials are about the Islamic Threat Doctrine, Hezbollah, Al-Queda, and the Muslim Brotherhood.  American policy makers believe this mythical form of Infidel U.S. friendly Islam will out Islam the truer Islam of Iran is like the Keystone Cops giving tactical training to the Navy SEAL’s.

Hezbollah is currently sending Jihadis through the porous Mexican / U.S. Border creating a national security risk which The Obama Administration refuses to name, much less address and counter.

Read more: Family Security Matters 

Family Security Matters Contributing Editor Alan Kornman is the regional coordinator of The United West-Uniting Western Civilization for Freedom and Liberty. His email is: alan@theunitedwest.org

 

Update: Creeping Sharia has extensive coverage of Hezbollah in Belize:

Hezbollah getting passports in Belize to travel from Mexico to U.S.

 

Previous CJR posts on the growing terrorist threat from Hezbollah in South America:

Congressional report ties Middle East terrorists to Mexican drug cartels

Iran Quds force

By Matthew Boyle

A new congressional report from the House  Homeland Security Committee Subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations and  Management ties Middle East terror organizations to Mexican drug cartels.

The report, released Thursday, is titled “A Line in the Sand: Countering  Crime, Violence and Terror at the Southwest Border.” It found that the “Southwest border has now become the greatest threat of terrorist infiltration  into the United States.” It specifically cites a “growing influence” from  Iranian and Hezbollah terror forces in Latin America.

“The presence of Hezbollah in Latin America is partially explained by the  large Lebanese diaspora in South America,” the report reads. “In general,  Hezbollah enjoys support by many in the Lebanese world community in part because  of the numerous social programs it provides in Lebanon that include schools,  hospitals, utilities and welfare.”

The congressional report, prepared by the subcommittee’s chairman, Texas  Republican Rep. Michael McCaul, argues that the “explanation for Iranian  presence in Latin America begins with its symbiotic relationship with  Hezbollah.”

“United in their dedication to the destruction of Israel, Iran has helped  Hezbollah grow from a small group of untrained guerrillas into what is arguably  the most highly trained, organized and equipped terrorist organization in the  world,” the report reads. “In return, Hezbollah has served as an ideal proxy for  Iranian military force – particularly against Israel – which affords Iran  plausible deniability diplomatically. Hence wherever Hezbollah is entrenched,  Iran will be as well and vice-versa.”

Read more at Daily Caller

The Quint Border Region: The World’s Most Under-Reported Terror Hot Spot

By Kerry Patton:

Anyone who researches terrorism has likely come across a place in South America known as the Tri-border region, a remote area where Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina border one another that is often mentioned as a safe haven for Islamic radicals. But as more and more intelligence officers begin to understand this very old South American safe haven, they also need to start paying attention to another hotspot: The Quint-border region in Africa.

South America’s Tri-border region is certainly unique. Very few travel inside the region. And for good reason; it is a remote, semi-lawless and often times extremely dangerous place. But imagine that there’s a new place in the world that’s very similar to the Tri-border territory — that includes an additional two nation states. That’s the Quint-border expanse, and it’s just as remote and lawless, but also far more dangerous.

The Quint-border region is thousands of miles from South America situated in the west-southwest region of Africa. It’s called the “Quint” region because it consists of five different borders — Nigeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger. It’s the location counterterrorists need to begin paying close attention to in order to stay on top of our enemy’s initiatives.

The Tri-border region in South America may never have become what it is today if it weren’t for the treacherous terrain in the region. It is comprised of heavy jungle with thick canopies making it difficult even for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) air platforms to monitor.

But with all things considered, a lot of hard evidence is missing from much of the continuing claims about this region being South America’s terror “hot spot.” While there’s little question that the Tri-border region is filled with illegal activity that ranges from black markets to organized crime, the extent of Islamist terrorist groups operating in the region remains questionable.

Terror groups such as Hezbollah, Al-Jihad (Islamic Jihad), Al-Gama’a Al-Islamiyya (Islamic Group), Hamas and Al-Qaeda probably had a presence in the Tri-border region – evidence points to this – but most of this evidence is historical; there’s little proof that these groups have a significant presence in the region today. Multiple nation states’ have worked to weed out some of the bad guys from the region.

Today, there is absolutely no definitive evidence of any largescale terrorist operations in the region. Yes, some active terror supporters have been captured in the region as of late, but that does not mean the region should still be considered a terror hot bed.

When it comes to definitive evidence about terror hot spots, though, there is substantiation that one such area location exists, and it’s the Quint-border region. Africa is unique. Over the years, it has shifted multiple times from a heavily influenced Islamic region to a Christian zone. Today, it is shifting back to a very influential Islamic continent. Geospatial mapping shows a rapid movement of Islamic infiltration throughout Africa, starting in the north and moving southward. Unfortunately, this Islamic shift is filled with extreme radicalization.

Read more at HS Today

Kerry Patton is a combat service disabled veteran who has worked in South America, Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Europe focusing on intelligence and security, and has interviewed current and former terrorists, including members of the Taliban. Author of, Sociocultural Intelligence: The New Discipline of Intelligence Studies, you can follow Kerry on Facebook or at www.kerry-patton.com.