Thursday, May 10, 2007

Hezbollah in this Hemisphere

From the Blotter:

CIUDAD DEL ESTE, Paraguay - The Iranian-backed Hezbollah militia has taken root in South America, fostering a well-financed force of Islamist radicals boiling with hatred for the United States and ready to die to prove it, according to militia members, U.S. officials and police agencies across the continent.

From its Western base in a remote region divided by the borders of Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina known as the Tri-border, or the Triple Frontier, Hezbollah has mined the frustrations of many Muslims among about 25,000 Arab residents whose families immigrated mainly from Lebanon in two waves, after the 1948 Arab-Israeli war and after the 1985 Lebanese civil war.

An investigation by Telemundo and NBC News has uncovered details of an extensive smuggling network run by Hezbollah, a Shiite Muslim group founded in Lebanon in 1982 that the United States has labeled an international terrorist organization. The operation funnels large sums of money to militia leaders in the Middle East and finances training camps, propaganda operations and bomb attacks in South America, according to U.S. and South American officials.


They are men like Mustafa Khalil Meri, a young Arab Muslim whom Telemundo interviewed in Ciudad del Este, Paraguay’s second-largest city and the center of the Tri-border region. There is nothing particularly distinctive about him, but beneath the everyday T-shirt he wears beats the heart of a devoted Hezbollah militiaman.

“If he attacks Iran, in two minutes Bush is dead,” Meri said. “We are Muslims. I am Hezbollah. We are Muslims, and we will defend our countries at any time they are attacked.” full article

Now you and I both know that W had to have known about this before the press did. That makes his lax stance on border security completely unforgivable. Literally we are talking about the difference between corporate profits and meaningful national security. How many experts (Lou Dobbs doesn't count) have pointed to our southern border as being a major problem?

Think about it. If Israel feels threatened enough by Iran to take action we could be looking at acts of terrorism from within our neighbors borders. At what point in time does that become an acceptable trade off for oh say cheaper lettuce?

Here's the real problem, one party doesn't want to irritate it's donors and the other doesn't want to irritate it's voters. Therefore the odds of any current candidate being willing to do something until after the fact are presently slim to none.

Midtopia has few good points on this issue as well.