Viva Mexico! As reported in HaAretz, Mexican police have thwarted an attempt by the Lebanese radical Shiite group Hezbollah to set up a terrorist network in South America, using Mexican nationals with ties to Lebanon. The Mexican police penetrated the plot, and mounted a surveillance operation on the group's leader, Jameel Nasr, who traveled frequently to Lebanon to receive information and instructions from Hezbollah commanders there. (Mullah Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, appears in the photo above left.) Nasr also frequently visited other countries in Latin America, inclulding a two-month stay in--surprise--Venezuela--in the summer of 2008. Venezuela's anti-American and anti-Israeli President, Hugo Chavez, openly courts the Islamic government of Iran, Hezbollah's patron state.
This venture would not have been Hezbollah's first Latin American terrorist venture. Hezbollah and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard are widely believed--to the point of Argentine arrest warrants--to have carried out the bombing of a Jewish cultural center in the Argentinean capital Buenos Aires in 1994, in which 85 people were killed.
The closing down of one network and the arrest of one leader will not end Hezbollah's terrorist efforts in Latin America. As HaAretz reports, Hezbollah has already formed alliances with Mexican drug cartels. It probably will now increase its activities against the Mexican government, with the objective of creating a haven for its operations against the United States in drug cartel-controlled areas of Mexico. According to HaAretz:
In June, a U.S. congresswoman wrote to the Department of Homeland Security to warn that Hezbollah was increasing its presence in Central and South America.
In her letter, Congresswoman Sue Myrick called on the U.S. to work with Mexican forces, as there was intelligence that Hezbollah was working in conjunction with Mexican drug cartels on the U.S.-Mexico border.
The Mexican police operation is a victory in one small skirmish of a continuing war with Islamist terrorism, a war that the Obama Administration now refuses to acknowledge publicly, but which we may only hope the Administration is taking more seriously privately.
Moreover, a defense strategy against Islamist terrorist activities in Latin America cannot ignore the issue of U.S. border security. Unfortunately, one's confidence in the Obama Administration's attitude toward border security is not strenthened by the lawsuit filed today by the U.S. Justice Department, at the political direction of the President and Attorney General Eric Holder, to invalidate the State of Arizona's statutory effort to enforce U.S. immigration law.
Despite those reservations about our own government's counter terrorism policies, let's not hesitate to extend a hearty "Muchas Gracias" to the Mexican police on a successful counter-terrorism operation.