Counter-Terrorism: Iran. Israel, Vengeance And South America


January 8, 2014: A retired Israeli diplomat recently revealed that Israel had quietly tracked down and killed most of the Iranians or Iranian operatives involved in two terrorist attacks against Jews in Argentina in 1992 and 1994. The Israeli overseas intel and special operations organization (Mossad) has handled assignments like this for decades.   The two Argentine bombings killed 114 and wounded over 200. Most of the victims were not Jews but nearly all were Argentinians. Israel often quietly goes after those behind attacks like this and kills them. There is rarely any official admission of this activity or the results. But the terrorists do take notice.

Meanwhile Iran continues to reward the survivors of the terrorists who planned and carried out those attacks. In 2009 Iranian president Ahmadinejad nominated a wanted (by Interpol) terrorist, Ahmad Vahidi, to be Defense Minister. Vahidi is wanted in Argentina for involvement in a 1994 attack on a Jewish community center. Vahidi is believed to have helped carry out other terror attacks as well. This brought him much recognition and many rewards in Iran. Vahidi served as Defense Minister until mid-2013. Vahidi has long known that the Israelis are gunning for him and takes precautions.

Iran and its professional terrorists are still active in South America.  For a decade now Iran has been close with leftist Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez (recently deceased) and his successor. This led to hundreds of Iranian intelligence and special warfare (terrorism) operatives being dispatched to South America. The Argentine truck bomb attack in 1994 killed 85 Argentineans and this horrified people throughout the region. The backlash caused Iranian diplomats and terrorism operatives to run for cover. But with Venezuela as a safe, and hospitable, base, Iranian death squads are again up and running in South America. Apparently Iran is not encouraging attacks, in order to maintain its espionage networks but wants to be ready just in case.

Most of the Iranian foreign terrorist operations are handled by the Quds Force, which is an intelligence and commando operation that supports Islamic terrorism overseas. It has always attracted very bright and able people, but also recruited personnel possessing a wide range of views on just what constituted an "Islamic Republic" or the proper role for the Quds Force itself. For over two decades, one of the few things Quds officers could agree on was the need to remove Saddam Hussein from power. Many Quds officers actually warmed to the United States in 2003 for doing the deed for them. But most Quds operatives are still dedicated to Shia Islam becoming the dominant religion on the planet. Thus Al Quds can be found operating nearly everywhere, from South America (where they have a new base in Venezuela) to wherever Iran has a diplomatic presence. But the big Quds operations are in southern Iraq, western Afghanistan and Gaza. Quds Force operatives have been found carrying out assassinations in the West and organizing terror attacks all over the world (like the bombing of a Jewish social center in Argentina).

Quds Force partners with the Lebanese Shia Hezbollah in its South American operations. Iran helped create Hezbollah in the 1980s and has sustained it ever since. Hezbollah has long been involved in the drug business in South America. That gives these Iran backed Islamic terrorists access to the smuggling routes that Mexican gangs use to smuggle drugs and people into the United States. Hezbollah has also been active in narcotics and people smuggling in South America's tri-border (Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil) region. For over a century this area has been a hotbed of illicit activity, and too many politicians and police commanders are on the take from gangsters to change this.

Thus South America, in theory, makes an excellent refuge and base for Islamic terrorists. Particularly worrisome was the cooperation between leftist rebel movements there, and Islamic terrorist groups. But the leftist rebels in South America have been on the skids for over a decade and in no position to help terrorists. Islamic radicals are known to be working in the Arab-descended communities in many Latin American countries, aided by the porous frontiers, such as in the notorious "three borders" region, where Paraguay, Brazil, and Argentina meet. The Islamic radicals have been able to raise some money from Latin American Arabs, often through bogus "charities." But the extent to which they have been able to recruit active supporters is harder to gauge and has apparently been unsuccessful. In some countries, such as Bolivia and Paraguay, recruiting efforts have been reported to the police, who took action. One factor hampering the Islamic radicals down there was that many of the Arab immigrants to Latin America were Christians, and those who were Moslems often became secularized, in an environment where they found very few co-religionists.





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