Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Hezbollah Sets Up Shop in Mexico

by Ryan Mauro

A Tucson Police Department memo from September 2010 has been leaked onto the Internet by hackers, and it warns that Hezbollah has set up shop in Mexico. The terrorist group has linked up with the Mexican drug lords, and is even said to have a large arms stockpile in the country. Terrorist groups are looking at the raging drug war in Mexico as an opportunity to further their deadly ambitions.

The memo recalls that a member of Hezbollah was arrested in Tijuana in July 2010 who was tasked with setting up a network for the terrorist group. It also mentions the April 2010 arrest of Jamal Yousef in New York City, who told the authorities that he worked with his cousin to steal weapons from Iraq for Hezbollah. According to Yousef, a stockpile of 100 M-16 assault rifles, 100 AR-15 rifles, 2500 hand grenades, C4 explosives and anti-tank weapons is presently in Mexico.

The police document says there is a “strong suspicion” that car bombs set off by the drug lords last summer were created with the help of Hezbollah. On June 23 of last year, Rep. Sue Myrick said that a senior Mexican military officer informed her that Hezbollah was giving explosives training to members of the drug cartels. “This might lead to Israel-like car bombings of Mexican/USA border personnel or National Guard units in the border regions,” her letter to the Department of Homeland Security cautioned. Myrick’s warning was prescient. In the first week of July 2010, a car bomb killed four people in Ciudad Juarez that had “Hezbollah-like sophistication.” Car bombs have become part of the drug war since then.

There have been warnings for years that Hezbollah had partnered with the drug cartels. Michael Braun, a former Drug Enforcement Agency chief of operations, said in 2009 that the group utilizes “the same criminal weapons smugglers, document traffickers and transportation experts as the drug cartels.” During his July 7 testimony to Congress, Roger Noriega , former assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, predicted that Iran and Hezbollah will carry out an attack on the U.S. using their networks in Latin America.

“If our government and responsible partners in Latin America fail to act, I believe there will be an attack on U.S. personnel, installations or interests in the Americas as soon as Hezbollah operatives believe that they are capable of such an operation without implicating their Iranian sponsors in the crime,” Noriega said.

Hezbollah isn’t the only terrorist organization salivating at the instability in Mexico. In February 2010, Anthony Joseph Tracy was arrested in Virginia for his links to al-Shabaab, an al-Qaeda affiliate in Somalia. He is thought to have smuggled at least 270 Somalis into the U.S. through Mexico, few of which have been located or even identified. It is very likely that a number of these Somalis are al-Shabaab operatives, given Tracy’s involvement with the terrorist group. Mexico has arrested and released members of al-Shabaab on their way to the U.S. before.

Another member of a Somali terrorist network was arrested in San Antonio. He admitted that he is a member of the al-Ittihad al-Islami terrorist group and also works with al-Barakat. From June 2006 to March 2008, he made at least $3,000 for each person he snuck into the U.S., earning up to $75,000 in a single day. He confirmed smuggling members of al-Ittihad al-Islami, and was recorded saying that “he believed they would fight against the U.S. if the jihad moved from overseas locations to the U.S. mainland.”

The South American terrorist group called the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (often referred to as the FARC) has also gotten in on the action. The FARC’s former leader, Raul Reyes , wrote a letter excitedly discussing his collaboration with the Mexican drug gangs, projecting a doubling of profits from it. It has been estimated that the FARC makes $1 billion every year through its partnership with the Mexican traffickers. The FARC is also doing business with al-Qaeda to ship cocaine in West Africa.

It can be argued that the Mexican drug cartels have themselves become terrorists. Rep. Michael McCaul, chairman of the Homeland Security Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, has introduced legislation to designate six of the cartels as Foreign Terrorist Organizations. His office’s press release says the cartels “operate in the same manner as al Qaeda, the Taliban or Hezbollah, each sharing a desire and using similar tactics to gain political and economic influence.”

Over 35,000 people have died in Mexico’s drug war since 2006, yet it is rarely mentioned in the news. What will it take happen to force the U.S. to pay attention to the crisis on its border? Entertaining answers to this question terrifies the imagination.

Ryan Mauro


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

No comments:

Post a Comment