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Connecting the South American Terror Dots By: David Meir-Levi
FrontPageMagazine.com | Monday, August 09, 2004

Dot # 1:  A Growing Threat in the Tri-Border Area of South America. (Terrorist and Organized Crime Groups in the Tri-Border Area (TBA) of South America. A Report Prepared under an Interagency Agreement by the Federal Research Division, Library of Congress, July 2003.)

Since the early 1980’s, Arab terrorists have been sending thousands of their cohorts to the almost inaccessible jungle and mountain region between Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay (known as the TBA, Tri-Border Area or La Triple Frontera). Terror training camps and arsenals have been established, virtually out of the reach of local law enforcement or defense forces; and elements from Hezbollah, al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya, Islamic Jihad, al-Qaeda, Hamas, and the Lebanese Drug mafia operate in partnership, freely and openly in conjunction with local organized crime and corrupt government officials.


The TBA has become a virtual haven for Islamic terror groups and a base for terror operations against South American targets. The large and growing Arab population of these states (in excess of 750,000 by local estimates) provides a community highly conducive to the establishment of Islamic terrorist sleeper cells throughout the area. The attacks in Buenos Aires on the Israeli embassy (3/17/1992) and the Jewish Community Center (7/18/1994) are believed to have originated from terror bases in the TBA. Since the mid-90’s, government forces have foiled many more terror attacks against American, Jewish and Israeli targets, arresting some of the perpetrators.


CNN reported that an Islamic terrorist summit meeting was held in the TBA in late 2002, to plot attacks in South America and abroad. Security forces believe that future targets include USA and Israeli government offices, Jewish community buildings, hotels, tourism centers, airports and facilities of multinational corporations.


The TBA terrorist haven also operates an immense money-laundering project, reaping profits from their partnerships with the FARC and narcotics traffickers in the widespread South American drug trade. Government estimates place the total amount of money laundered since 1992 at more than 172 billion dollars.


There is currently no effective surveillance or containment of these terrorist activities.


Dot #2: Increased Terrorism in northern Venezuela (U.S. News & World Report, 10/6/03, pp. 18ff.)


Another South American hub of Arab terrorism has emerged recently in northern Venezuela near the border with Colombia. Thousands of terrorists now occupy an unknown number of camps in that region, and move about with the support and collaboration of the Venezuelan government. President Hugo Chavez plays host to a growing horde of Middle Eastern terrorists from some of the USA’s most notorious enemies, including Libya, Saddam’s Iraq, Syria, Egypt and Pakistan. Thousands of Venezuelan identity cards have been legally issued to these foreigners. Such cards can be used to obtain legal travel documents and passports for unimpeded entry into other South American countries and into the USA.


These terror groups are known to work in conjunction with the Colombian anti-government insurgency group, FARC. They offer FARC terrorists safe haven in mountainous and unpatrolled regions of Northeastern Venezuela. They may provide Hugo Chavez with a covert force that can be used to support FARC against the Colombian government. Venezuelan cooperation with these terrorists may buy President Chavez a guarantee that terror assaults will not be perpetrated in his country.


Currently there are no known terror attacks that can be attributed to these groups.


Dot #3: Illegal Immigration at the Southern Border…Not Just Hispanics, Anymore. (“U.S. seizes 77 Mideastern aliens in southern Arizona,” World Tribune, 8/2/04; “Two groups of middle-eastern invaders caught in Cochise county in past six weeks,” Tombstone Tumbleweed, 7/18/04; “Breaking silence over possible terror threat,” Defense Watch, 7/23/04.)


American border patrol agents arrested 158 illegal aliens in Cochise County, Arizona, on 6/13/04. One agent, who speaks Farsi and Arabic, overheard dozens of detainees speaking Arabic in the back of the detention vehicle. He counted 53 of Middle Eastern rather than Hispanic origin. His superiors told him to keep that information to himself; but he reported it to the local newspaper, the Tombstone Tumbleweed. 


Just one week later, on June 21, 2004, another group of illegals were apprehended, including 24 Arabic speaking men. But at least as many or more escaped apprehension and disappeared into the United States.


Border Patrol officials deny that there have been any Middle Eastern illegals among those arrested, but individual arresting officers attest to the accuracy of that ethnic description.


Upon deeper investigation, the Tumbleweed editor learned that since October 1, 2003, Arizona border patrol agents have arrested 5,510 illegals from countries other than Mexico, Central and South America. In addition, the arresting officers noted that all of the Middle Eastern illegals sported identical haircuts and moustaches; and while their clothes were the typical illegal immigrant jeans, baseball caps and jerseys, the Middle Easterners all wore brand new clothes, still spiffy looking and clean (quite the opposite of the usual rather frazzled appearance of illegals).


Connecting the Dots:


We are witness to expanding Islamic terrorist bases in South America, operating with almost no interference from, or in collaboration with, the host countries’ governments; thousands of Arab terrorists training in these bases; and credible evidence that hundreds or even thousands of Arabic speaking illegals have been entering the USA through our porous border with Mexico for almost a year. Given the Border Patrol leadership’s refusal to divulge the ethnic or national identities of the 5,510 non-Hispanic detainees, we cannot know how many of these thousands are Arabs.


Why would Middle Eastern terror groups spend untold millions of dollars to set up bases in South America?  Certainly to benefit from the drug trade and money-laundering opportunities that lax or corrupt governments afford. Clearly, to attack South American targets (inter alia, Israeli or American embassies, Jewish communities, and/or other institutions that are involved in South American financial, political, or military interaction with the USA). Probably also to facilitate the planning and execution of future terror attacks in South America or abroad.


Why would Arabs enter the United States in such large numbers? At least some of them are likely bona fide terrorists who, once they have eluded the Border Patrol, can connect with established contacts in the American Muslim community and lay the groundwork for future terror attacks within this country. It takes a minimum of five “support-staff” to launch one terrorist action. How many terror attacks can we expect, now that we know now that hundreds or perhaps thousands of Arab terrorists have entered this country illegally during the past year, and are completely untraceable by law enforcement or military agencies.


Why would hundreds of these Arab terrorists sneak into America illegally via the Mexican border? The credible scenarios are:


  1. These Arabs are known terrorists who could not enter in a simpler and more direct fashion, via our legal ports of entry; or…
  2. The terror planners and strategists foresee that if our legal ports of entry were suddenly flooded with dozens or hundreds of entrants recognizable as Arabs but bearing legal South American travel documents, our immigration officials might get suspicious.

Thus, to infiltrate very large numbers of terrorists into the United States in anticipation of future massive terror assaults, it would be necessary to create a base for the invaders in neighboring safe areas from which large numbers of terrorists could be transported en masse.




Why do the official spokespersons for the Border Patrol in Arizona refuse to acknowledge what their field force tells us? Surely corroboration by several different guards on different occasions warrants public concern.


Why are Border Patrol guards instructed to keep silent about the presence of Arabs and Iranians among the many thousands of non-Hispanic illegal aliens? Surely this unusual and alarming phenomenon merits the scrutiny of the Border Patrol’s leadership.


Why have no mainstream media outlets publicized this infiltration of terrorists into our country? Surely such a phenomenon is newsworthy.




Once we connect these dots, it becomes obvious that the presence of thousands of Arab terrorists in two separate areas of South America and the illegal entry of hundreds of Arabs via the Mexican border portend massive terror assaults against American and other targets in South America and within this nation.


It does not require much imagination to foresee that the many current Arab terror sleeper cells scattered throughout the USA and Canada today are being re-enforced with the influx of Arab terrorists from South America, an influx of such numbers that normal ports of entry cannot be used.


Can the purpose of this re-enforcement be other than an Arab terrorist plan to mount major attacks on numerous targets throughout North America?  Such imaginative terror masterminds as Imad Mughniyyah or Osama bin Laden himself would surely have little difficulty figuring out how to best utilize an untraceable sleeper army of Arab terrorists waiting patiently for the signal to strike at centers of telecommunication, transportation, electric power, and even law enforcement and military bases.

David Meir-Levi lectures in English, Hebrew, and Spanish and is a contributor to Frontpagemag.com.

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