Free Markets, Free People

Iran, Hezbollah and the Americas

Iran isn’t just fomenting unrest in its home region, it has found a new area to spread the revolution and fund it:

Iran is increasing its activity in Latin America and the Caribbean, including actions aimed at supporting the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, a top U.S. military commander said on Tuesday.

Navy Admiral James Stavridis, who oversees U.S. military interests in the region as head of U.S. Southern Command, also said Hezbollah was linked to drug-trafficking in Colombia.

“We have seen… an increase in a wide level of activity by the Iranian government in this region,” Stavridis told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

“That is a concern principally because of the connections between the government of Iran, which is a state sponsor of terrorism, and Hezbollah,” he said.

The U.S. State Department lists the Lebanese-based political and military movement as a terrorist organization.

Stavridis said Hezbollah activities in South America have been concentrated particularly in the border region between Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina, but also in Colombia.

“We have been seeing in Colombia a direct connection between Hezbollah activity and narco-trafficking activity,” the commander added, without providing specifics.

Of course, one of Iran’s NBFs in the area is Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez. And he’s not the only one as reported by Todd Bensman:

But with the exception of my own coverage, there’s been hardly a peep about the fact that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad planted the Iranian flag so far north in Nicaragua as soon as the time-tested American nemesis Daniel Ortega took office in January 2007. In fact, Ahmadinejad considered Ortega’s ascension so important that he was in Nicaragua to attend the inauguration. Within months, Iran was promising hundreds of millions in economic projects — and quickly set up a diplomatic mission in a tony Managua neighborhood where it could all supposedly be coordinated. Now Iran is extending its reach even further north, right into Mexico City with equally under-covered proposals to vastly expand tenuous ties to America’s immediate southern neighbor.

Hey, we mess around in Iraq and Afghanistan, they mess around in Mexico. Of course all we have to do talk to them and we can straighten this all out, right?

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10 Responses to Iran, Hezbollah and the Americas

  • Maybe having a hostile leaning govt at our southern border would actually spur us to actally close and police that border? 

  • You war mongers!

  • Actually, no one is saying all we have to do is talk to them, so that’s a straw man (but you know that).

    It is clear that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were misguided attempts to deal with a new strategic situation.  We’ll probably end up leaving Afghanistan in turmoil, Iraq is likely to divide (already the Kurds are demanding essential autonomy) and end up under some kind of authoritarian rule at best.  We learned a lesson: going to war against other states does not help the fight against terrorism and Islamic extremism, and the cost of those conflicts took away resources from effective counter terrorism.  I’ll give President Bush credit for good intentions — wanting to spread freedom and democracy, and all that — and for making necessary mid-course corrections to limit the damage (that’s far more credit than most give him), but the policies were failures.

    We need effective counter-terrorism, we need effective intelligence cooperation, and we need to work to separate states from sponsorship of terrorism.   None of this is easy, and unfortunately can’t be accomplished with a simple “war.”   It is a work in progress.   We’re literaly entering a new era of world history, and all of us — left, right, center, libertarian, social democrat, Christian, athesit, Muslim, Jew — need to think creatively and communicate ideas rather than just play politics.   It’s too serious an issue.

    • Bush’s invasion of Iraq will likely go down in history as the last decent forign policy action of the US, at least until post ’12. If Obama doesn’t screw even that up . . .

      • As Obama unfolds an increasingly incoherent foreign policy, the coherency and steadiness of Bush’s approach should become more apparent. He left the Iran and North Korea threads hanging, but the work in Iraq has been the first really substantial change in the Middle East since WWII and probably since the founding of modern Turkey.

        Iran is an isolated country, which is why it tries so hard to pimp itself out to losers like Chavez. I think that the Israelis will have to do something on their own now if the Iranians start waving a nuclear weapon around.

        Though the North Koreans are certainly everyone’s problem (U.S., South Korea, Japan, Pacific rim), they are China’s junkyard dog, and the Chinese must understand that we understand that. The Russians also have a finger in the North Korean pie, off the historical link, but the Chinese have the hot Plutonium in their laps, so to speak.

        And score one for the ever-goofy Pat Robertson: he had it right on Chavez.

      • Well, if I see that kind of revisionist history coming out, I’ll let you know, Don.  For now, it’s being seen as perhaps the greatest fiasco of American foreign policy history, and perhaps symbolic of the decline that now most people see America suffering.   You can either rethink your analysis and beliefs, or hope that somehow reality will shift to prove you right.  I think the former would be a wiser choice, but it appears you’re sticking with the latter.

        • Gosh, Scott: “it’s being seen” by whom? As a fiasco greater than what? The surrender in Vietnam after a decade of hard struggle to keep the South free? The stalemate in Korea? The isolationism of the 30s? The War of 1812?

          Let’s see: Iraq, basically five years (this sixth year is essentially the year of success) on bargain basement war funding, with our battlefield dead at about one third of the major three-month Pacific WWII battle on Okinawa, a psychopathic Hussein and his Tikriti mob gone from power, and a new Iraq emerging from years of dictatorship and war. Tens of thousands of terrorists dead and in the ground.

          The fiasco is that people like you stand in front of classrooms, teaching unwitting students pure unadulterated balderdash, and getting paid to do it by a state. 

    • Yes, Scott, exactly, what the new strategic situation needs is a good strong sensitivity training session. Perhaps you’ll be available to lead one?

      But let’s start with the most fundamental reality, as you see it of course: the U.S. must abdicate any responsibility it has as a superpower, and surrender to any regime (any regime down to the nearest fifth rate power) that pounds its dirty slipper on the international table.

      You do sound like an Obama man, in that respect. Will you be available to jerk off the media with a full round of “we deserved it'” after the next terrorist attack? As you were after the last one.

  • Somehow I knew that Iran’s new found interest in Latin America was our fault, just one more example of the American decline and the bad results of the quagmire in Iraq.

  • There’s just so much magic in the air. It must be Spring. Listen just one moment to this bit of vapor out of Erb, from above:

    “I’ll give President Bush credit for good intentions — wanting to spread freedom and democracy, and all that…” [my emphasis]

    Then there’s Victor Davis Hanson today:

    “We seem to have forgotten that those who most hated the Bush-Cheney administration were Putin, Chávez, Assad, the Castro brothers, Kim Jong Il, Ahmadinejad, Hamas — and European intellectuals. So, yes, we can be liked in the age of Obama, and the way to do it is to give up Eastern Europe to Russian concerns, be praised by Chávez for our newfound socialism, drop sanctions against Cuba, talk to Iran and Syria without preconditions, ignore Korean missiles, rebuild Gaza (though I hope that does not include restoring the depleted rocket inventory), tack hard to the left of the salons and coffee houses of the E.U., and drop all that bothersome talk about democracy and constitutional government.” [my boldface]

    You see, the problem with Iraq policy is not that it failed, but that it didn’t fail. It was a stretched out low-itensity conflict, a counterinsurgency, along with the building of a reasonably modern civil society. It replaced a beastly totalitarian Ba’athist dictatorship and reinitialized the modern Arab state, something that had fallen into complete disrepair. But, you see, it must not succeed. Why? Well, look at some of the names at the top of Hanson’s paragraph, and then consider where a group like, for instance, ANSWER comes from and where it pledges its allegiance.