Saturday, April 28, 2012

Iran’s Meth Empire

by Daniel Greenfield

The first explosion tore off the roof of a house. The bomb had been packed into a transistor radio with magnets to attach it to a car and ball bearings to shoot outward piercing bodies at high speed. Ball bearing bombs are favored by terrorists because they can cause horrifying injuries even with a small amount of explosives. But assembling bombs is tricky business and the terrorists had screwed up.

Saeid Moradi stumbled through a muggy Bangkok afternoon past colorful phone booths, knowing that the operation had gone wrong and that he had a limited window for reaching the airport, boarding a plane to Malaysia and then back to Iran. But the taxi did not stop. So Moradi threw one of his remaining bombs at it. He attempted to throw another one at the police, but instead blew off his own legs outside a school.

Mohammad Hazaei, one of the other terrorists, was stopped at the airport while waiting to board a flight to Malaysia. Masoud Sedaghatzadeh was arrested already in Malaysia, while Leila Rohani made it back to Iran. Their bombs had been intended for Israeli diplomats, and it was not the first Iranian backed act of terror against Israel in the country, but it was still startling.

Thailand suffers from Muslim terrorism and Bangkok does have a sizable number of Muslims, but the majority of its Muslim population is Sunni. Thailand Shiites, like many Shiites around the world, do act as agents of Iran, if there was any doubt about that it was quickly dispelled when Syedsulaiman Husaini, the leader of Shiites in Thailand, blamed the attack on MEK activists out to make Iran look bad, a talking point transparently coined in Tehran.

However Iran’s real presence in Thailand isn’t religious, it’s chemical. Iranian gangs and dealers prowl Bangkok plying their crystal meth and muscling out locals with a combination of aggressiveness and underselling. And Bangkok, for all its dangerous reputation, is only one stop on the express train of Iran’s meth empire.

Iranian drug rings are a sizable presence everywhere from Europe to Southeast Asia to the United States. By the spring of last year, Thai authorities had already arrested their twentieth Iranian meth smuggler. The same story repeats itself in Indonesia, Malaysia, Burma and Vietnam. Asia is no stranger to the drug trade, yet it’s being swamped by Iranian meth, Iranian meth labs and Iranian dealers.

In Japan, they were running meth labs, a rarity in the country, and the majority of those arrested on meth charges in the land of the rising sun were Iranians. That pattern too repeats itself in countries with hardly any Muslim populations, such as Korea. Forget oil, Iran is suddenly in the position of supplying the crystal meth needs of half of Asia.

The meth business is one of those lines of work whose skills easily transfer over to terrorism. And vice versa. Both depend on smuggling materials, setting up labs, obtaining false documents, local contacts and finally making the delivery. The easiest way to set up a terrorist operation in another country is to first set up a drug operation. The drug trade is much more profitable than the Jihad business and much easier to recruit local help for. And once the meth foot is in the door, then the Koran can come in after it.

A month before the Bangkok blasts, Thai police had turned up enough bomb making materials for multiple truck bombs hidden in cat litter boxes by a Hezbollah member, a Shiite terrorist group controlled by Iran. It wasn’t Hezbollah’s first operation in Bangkok, but it would have been by far the most lethal.

Meanwhile in this hemisphere, Iran has built up a similar presence, often piggybacking on Hezbollah. The links that Iran forged with Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez, closely allied with the narcoterrorists of FARC, were based on oil, drugs and a common hatred for the free world. Iranian and Lebanese drugs flow through Venezuela fusing leftist and Islamic narcoterrorism together through mutual interests. From Venezeula, they go out to Europe and up to the United States.

The drug trade has given Hezbollah a foothold throughout North America with truckloads of Pseudoephedrine, a base ingredient for crystal meth, coming down from Canada. The tablets go to meth labs and the profits go back to Lebanon and Iran. North or south, east or west, it’s the same story on every continent.

In Australia, authorities opened thousands of cases of raisins being shipped from Afghanistan via Iran to find hundreds of pounds of Heroin and Pseudoephedrine. And in West Africa, Hezbollah has made itself at home with expat Lebanese Shiite businessmen overseeing its drug smuggling operations and laundering the money into local and international businesses.

The road to Thailand leads back to West Africa, whose cartels bring together Latin American druglords with Hezbollah operatives for a truly worldwide operation. Under their influence West Africa has become a hub for global meth trafficking and the politics have followed.

Cote d’Ivoire, recently the victim of a Muslim coup, is a vital part of Hezbollah’s drug routes. Guinea-Bissaun leaders signed agreements with Iran only to be arrested by their own military on charges of running a narcostate. Senegal, an even bigger drug trafficking hub, was Iran’s gateway to Africa and Hezbollah’s second largest cash machine, until the Iranian Revolutionary Guard was caught smuggling weapons to rebels.

But methamphetamines have more than just one purpose. Law enforcement has noted the use of meth by suicide bombers bringing the circle of meth and terror to its natural conclusion. Meth and crystal meth were first synthesized in Japan where they were eventually put to use on Kamikaze pilots. Today there are Iranian drug labs in Japan and meth is trafficked to fund terror and distributed to suicide bombers.

There is no word on whether Saeid Moradi, the Thailand bomber, was using meth at the time, but considering Iran’s deep drug network on Bangkok and his violent and bizarre behavior, it would not be particularly surprising if he were. The suicide bomber, like the Kamikaze, aspires to an inhuman state and much of what Muslim clerics call martyrdom is really methamphetamines.

From Asia to America to Africa, the scope of Iran’s meth empire is astounding. It has allowed Shiite Muslims, who are a minority even within Islam, to build a worldwide network and recruit allies from nearly every continent. And its Revolutionary Guard and Hezbollah terrorists have become missionaries of meth spreading a faith in greed and death wherever they go.

Daniel Greenfield


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

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