Fartashphoto's Blog

Footprints of Hezbollah in South America

Posted in Uncategorized by fartashphoto on April 24, 2010

Although Chávez is in consistent opposition to the United States, many politics have argued his deepening relations with Islamic extremists and fanatics are curious. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stands against America because of its secularism and support of Israel, while Chávez and others in Latin America associate the USA with Capitalism and Westernization, something they as socialists oppose.

Al Jazeera’s Dima Khatib, reports that Chávez was the first head of state to harshly condemn Israel over the Israeli-Lebanon conflict, even before any Arab or Muslim country. His decision to withdraw his charge d’affairs from Tel Aviv has created a following in the Arab world so dedicated that “many [Arabs] declare they are ‘ready to die for’ Chávez.” Khatib says that “The sure thing is that in the mind of millions of Arabs, Chávez is now in the same league as Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, and other ‘heroic’ Arab figures.”

CNSNews says that critics of Israel, many of them in the Arab world, hailed Chávez in his dealings with Israel. Al-Ahram Weekly commented, “It was somehow ironic that Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, following his attack on Israel and the recalling of his ambassador to Tel Aviv, emerged as the most popular leader within the Arab world”. The Syrian communist party urged Arab governments to “follow the example of Venezuela’s President Hugo Chávez”. According to CNSNews, the vice-chairman of Hezbollah’s political council, Mahmoud Komati, called Chávez’s actions an example for “revolutionaries”, and a “London, left-wing lawmaker” said that Chávez was a “real leader of the Arab people”.

In 2008, during the spat with Colombia over the latter’s intrusion into Ecuador, Hugo Chávez said “the Colombian government has become the Israel of Latin America.” In doing so he also reiterated his criticism of the Israel Defense Forces’ strikes on Palestinian militants. In response, “Israel was considering downgrading its relations with Venezuela in light of the extremist anti-Israel line taken by the country’s government under President Hugo Chávez.”

Later, Chávez pledged that Venezuela would “stay by Iran at any time and under any condition”. Ahmadinejad called Chávez a kindred spirit. “I feel I have met a brother and trench mate after meeting Chávez.” Chávez said he “admired the Iranian president for ‘his wisdom and strength'”, saying, “We are with you and with Iran forever. As long as we remain united we will be able to defeat (U.S.) imperialism, but if we are divided they will push us aside.”

Reuters reported that Chávez told a crowd at the University of Tehran, “If the U.S. Empire succeeds in consolidating its dominance, then humankind has no future. Therefore, we have to save humankind and put an end to the U.S. Empire.” The reports add that Chávez criticized Israel and described the 2006 Lebanon conflict as “fascist and terroristic”. Decorating Chávez with the “Higher Medal of the Islamic Republic of Iran”, Ahmadinejad said, “Mr. Chávez is my brother, he is a friend of the Iranian nation and the people seeking freedom around the world. He works perpetually against the dominant system. He is a worker of God and servant of the people.”

Hezbollah also has ties with Venezuela and “has demonstrated a keen interest in extending its activities to other parts of Latin America.” Hezbollah has also been known to recruit and train eastern Europeans, most notably in Russia, Bosnia, and Slovakia. It has had limited contact with the Provisional Irish Republican Army during the early 1990s. Parliamentary secretary to the Canadian Prime Minister Jason Kenney said that negotiating with Hezbollah would be comparable to negotiating with the Nazi party in the 1930s.

According to the Israeli source, Hezbollah operatives in South America are collecting intelligence to this end. The Israeli intelligence community estimates that Hezbollah will try as much as possible not to leave identifying footprints that could associate the organization with the attack in the wake of such a strike in a bid to avoid Israel’s heavy hand. In the same vein, it is estimated that the organization will not take public responsibility for a terrorist attack if it were to carry one out successfully.

According to U.S. News & World Report, U.S. government officials say the Chávez administration allows alleged terrorist organizations to operate within Venezuela’s borders, including Hamas, Hezbollah, and Al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya. U.S. officials also allege that the Venezuelan government is knowingly providing identity documents to these organizations. The Venezuelan government denies these allegations.

The US Treasury Department indicted two Venezuelan citizens last year for supporting Hezbollah, and froze their assets in the United States. One of them, a diplomat of Lebanese Shiite ancestry, used his position to transfer funds to Hezbollah and to help members of the organization move between Venezuela and Iran for training. The other is a travel agent from the capital city, Caracas, who aided Hezbollah members in planning attacks.

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