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Hezbollah, Illegal Immigration, and the Next 9/11 By: LTC Joseph Myers and Patrick Poole
FrontPageMagazine.com | Friday, April 28, 2006


AUTHORS NOTE: This article was prepared and approved before the London Times report this past weekend which verified that longtime Hezbollah terror chief, Imad Mugniyah, has been tapped by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to initiate attacks against the West, especially the U.S., in the event that any preemptive strikes are made against Iran's nuclear facilities. In the following article we identify Mugniyah and his extensive role in a number of attacks on Americans since the 1980s and have assumed that any action taken by Hezbollah would be directed by Mugniyah, but this new supporting information was important enough and directly relevant to the discussion at hand to warrant us including this author’s note to call our reader's attention to it. This new report reinforces our argument made here that Hezbollah and its operations inside America and throughout Latin America pose an immediate national security risk that should be among the primary topics of consideration in the ongoing border security debate.

“Death to America was, is, and will stay our slogan!” – Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah Secretary-General (“Hezbollah Vows Anew To Target Americans”, Los Angeles Times, April 17, 2003)

 

In the prosecution of the Global War against Terror (GWOT) initiated only after the horror of 9/11, an important threat to the United States fell from the public radar screen while al-Qaeda, the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, and the regime of Saddam Hussein became the primary targets. That important threat was the Iranian-backed terrorist organization, Hezbollah.

 

Operating out of their stronghold in southern Lebanon, Hezbollah has successfully waged a war against Israel for more than two decades and has provided ample financial, training and logistical support for the Palestinian terrorists of Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Hezbollah’s particular expertise has been in teaching the art of suicide bombing, which it introduced to the Palestinian groups in 1993; and in constructing elaborate “mega-bombs” to inflict massive casualties.

 

In addition to their terror networks, Hezbollah also operates several Arabic-language newspapers and a satellite TV station, Al Manar (The Lighthouse), to broadcast their jihadist propaganda to the Middle East, North Africa, South America, and Europe. These media outlets spread Hezbollah’s toxic ideology of pan-Islamism, Shi’ite martyrdom, jihad theology, Khomeini-style theocratic political theory, and virulent anti-Semitism.

 

Hezbollah’s hatred is not limited to Israel, but extends to America. Islamic radicals see America as the primary purveyor of decadence, moral depravity, and secularism in the world. Ideologically, for many Muslims, America also stands as great of a threat to Islam as we view Islamist terror ideology as a grave threat to us. For that reason, recent events related to Hezbollah should punctuate that reality and should give political and national security officials pause as they discuss issues of Homeland Security disaster response and readiness, border security and illegal immigration.

 

Most notably, last month FBI Director Robert Mueller testified to Congress that his agency had dismantled a Hezbollah smuggling operation bringing terror personnel across the border from Mexico.“[T]his was an occasion in which Hezbollah operatives were assisting others with some association with Hezbollah in coming to the United States,” Mueller said. “That was an organization that we dismantled and identified those persons who had been smuggled in. And they have been addressed as well.”

 

While the FBI believes that the national security threat from this particular Hezbollah operation has been neutralized, there are many questions that should be asked:

 

  1. What is the level of threat Hezbollah presents to American interests at home and abroad?
  2. What are the indicators that Hezbollah is preparing terrorist or military operations inside the U.S. Homeland?
  3. What is the size, location, and capabilities of Hezbollah cells in the U.S.?
  4. Who are the leaders of U.S. cells and subordinate cell members?
  5. What are the personal and professional connections/relationships with Hezbollah leaders abroad? 
  6. What are their means of communications and what languages (Persian, Arabic, French, Spanish, English) are spoken?
  7. What targets would Hezbollah consider or select? -- synagogues, churches, transportation hubs, schools, power plants, malls, financial centers, government facilities, military facilities, aircraft....
  8. Are their indicators of reconnaissance, surveillance, plans, or patterns of activities?
  9. Have any members or sympathizers penetrated local or state police, FBI, Customs/Border Patrol, national intelligence organizations?
  10. Where are the training locations in the U.S.; in Latin America and the Caribbean, in the Middle East?
  11. What are the types of training received; duration of training; levels of competence achieved?
  12. What types of equipment, technology and weapons are acquired in the U.S.; acquired abroad and brought into the U.S.? Are their active sources of supply?
  13. Where are the logistics and support cells; in the US or Latin America and the Caribbean?
  14. Are they receiving third country assistance from Syria, Venezuela or Cuba?
  15. What are the likely methods of attack: suicide bombings, car bombs, conventional assaults, aircraft hijacking, CBRN, nuclear weapon?

We should hope that the FBI and the rest of our national intelligence agencies have some good answers to these questions.

 

The Worldwide Threat of Hezbollah

 

Prior to the 9/11 attacks by al-Qaeda, Hezbollah was responsible for more terrorism-related American deaths than any other organization in the world. It should be remembered that Hezbollah was killing scores of Americans when Osama bin Laden was still a Westernized playboy living in France. Organized in the early 1980s by Ayatollah Khomeini’s Iranian Revolutionary Guards, Hezbollah quickly racked up an impressive resume of terror against the U.S.:

 

  • Hezbollah made its debut in April 1983 by slamming a truck laden with explosives into the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, killing 63, including 19 Americans. After the attack, the embassy was moved to another location, which was also bombed in September 1984. The Reagan administration took no official action against the terrorism organization.
  • Still in its nascent stages of organizational development but emboldened by their successful attack on the U.S. Embassy, Hezbollah launched another suicide bombing against the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut in October 1983, causing 241 deaths. Simultaneous with the attack on the Marine forces, Hezbollah bombed the barracks of French peacekeepers. An attack on Italian peacekeepers was foiled. Four months after the bombing, President Reagan ordered the withdrawal of American forces from Beirut, with France quickly following suit.
  • Throughout the 1980s, Hezbollah was behind the kidnapping of many Westerners in Lebanon throughout the 1980s, including the capture and brutal murder of CIA Beirut Station Chief, William Buckley. Journalist Terry Anderson was kidnapped and would eventually spend 2,454 days in captivity, along with several officials from the American University of Beirut. In order to secure the release of the hostages, the Reagan administration covertly organized an arms-for-hostages deal with Hezbollah’s primary state-sponsor, the Islamic Republic of Iran, which would only result in the release of three American hostages. Eventually, the related Iran-Contra scandal would paralyze the Reagan presidency.
  • In June 1985, Hezbollah terrorists seized TWA Flight 847 en route from Athens to Rome, and diverted the plane to Beirut. When the terrorists demands were not met, a US Navy Seabee diver on board, Robert Dean Stethem, was shot and his body dumped on the airport tarmac. Other American military personnel were savagely beaten. The plane’s passengers and crew were held for 17 days. In the weeks that followed, Israel released a number of Shi’ite prisoners, though U.S. officials deny that there was a covert deal. Only one hijacker was ever captured and held for several years in Germany.
  • In 1990, Hezbollah captured, tortured, and eventually hanged Marine Corps Colonel Richard Higgins, a decorated Vietnam combat veteran who was on duty as an unarmed United Nations peacekeeper in Lebanon. His body was not recovered for another year. The story of Higgins’ life, captivity and murder is memorialized in a book written by his wife, Marine Lt. Col. Robin Higgins, Patriot Dreams: The Murder of Colonel Rich Higgins.
  • A Saudi Hezbollah cell was involved in providing al-Qaeda operatives with explosives training in their June 1996 attack on the Khobar Towers in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, which killed 19 American Air Force servicemen and injured 372 others. According to then-FBI Director Louis Freeh, in his 2002 Congressional testimony to the Joint Intelligence Committee:  “The direct evidence obtained strongly indicated that the 1996 bombing was sanctioned, funded and directed by senior officials of the government of Iran.”

Many terrorism analysts and experts rate Hezbollah as the best organized and most competent Islamist terrorist organizations in the world. With an annual budget of likely well over $100 million coming from Iran, Syria and its criminal operations in the West, it boasts more than 25,000 men under arms. Having pushed Israel out of its security zone in southern Lebanon and the American and French peacekeepers out of Beirut, they are arguably the most successful terrorist organization of the modern era.

 

In a speech in September 2002, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage described the danger of the organization: “Hezbollah may be the A team of terrorists and maybe al-Qaeda is actually the B team.”

 

In a November/December 2003 Foreign Affairs article, Should Hezbollah Be Next?, national security expert Daniel Byman makes the same point about Hezbollah’s impressive track record compared to al-Qaeda:

 

In the U.S. Demonology of terrorism, Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda are relative newcomers. For most of the past two decades, Hezbollah has claimed pride of place as the top concern of U.S. counterterrorism officials. It was Hezbollah that pioneered the use of suicide bombing, and its record of attacks on the United States and its allies would make even bin Laden proud…In the course of its 20-year history, Hezbollah has amply demonstrated its hostility, its lethality, and its skill. (pp. 56-57)

 

Former CIA Director George Tenet has also added his voice to the chorus identifying Hezbollah as a terror threat equal to that of al-Qaeda: “Hezbollah, as an organization with capability and worldwide presence, is [al-Qaeda’s] equal, if not a far more capable organization. I actually think they’re a notch above in many respects.”

 

Despite these warnings, U.S. officials prioritized the threats focusing on al-Qaeda and Iraq. That notwithstanding, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, emphasized that the American response to the 9/11 attacks did not change the organization’s stance towards America:

 

Let the entire world hear me. Our hostility to the Great Satan [America] is absolute…Regardless of how the world has changed after 11 September, “Death to America”  will remain our reverberating and powerful slogan: Death to America!

 

This was a theme Nasrallah restated in a February 2005 speech [video]: “We consider the current administration an enemy of our [Islamic] nation…Our motto, which we are not afraid to repeat year after year is ‘Death to America.’”

 

Based on religious elements of Shi'ite martyrdom theology, Khomeini’s Islamic triumphalism and modern nationalist ideology, Hezbollah has forged a rigid policy of utilizing suicide bombings, revolutionary political action and developing extensive terror networks around the world to accomplish its stated goals of extinguishing the state of Israel, pushing America entirely out of the Middle East and establishing Iranian-style Islamic republics around the globe.

 

With reliable financial resources from Iran, controlling a sizeable political bloc in the Lebanese parliament, broadcasting their Islamist hate-ideology on their own al-Manar television network aired all over the Middle East and Europe, and arming and training many of the other Islamist terror organizations, including al-Qaeda, Hamas and Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah is considered the sophisticated elder brother in the world of Islamic terror.

 

As one high-ranking FBI official has said, Hezbollah makes al-Qaeda look like Sunday-schoolers, children, kindergartners.”

 

Hezbollah Operations in the U.S. and Latin America

 

Hezbollah’s deadly network isn’t limited to the Middle East. In fact, in the past 20 years Hezbollah has created an extensive web of operations within the United States itself – a sophisticated terror network better established here than any other terrorist organization in the world. The network is organized and directed by Hezbollah’s Special Security Apparatus, the group’s international terror unit.

 

According to Tom Diaz and Barbara Newman, co-authors of the recently published book, Lightning Out of Lebanon: Hezbollah Terrorists on American Soil (Presidio Press, 2005), active Hezbollah cells have been identified in Boston, New York, Newark, Atlanta, Miami, Tampa, Charlotte, Louisville, Detroit, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Portland. Diaz and Newman quote former FBI Hezbollah unit director, Bob Clifford, as saying, “they are the best light infantry in the world and can strike the United States anytime, anywhere.”

 

The recent revelation by FBI Director Robert Mueller about the Hezbollah smuggling ring out of Mexico just barely scratches the surface of the group’s activities inside the US. Hezbollah engages in a wide variety mid-level crime ranging from cigarette smuggling to credit card fraud to selling fake Viagra, intentionally keeping their operations from getting too large to prevent raising the attention of law enforcement authorities. Hezbollah operatives have also been observed working out of New York Indian reservations to avoid detection and arrest.

 

Among the Hezbollah operations in the U.S. that have been uncovered by state and federal authorities are:

 

  • According to Diaz and Newman, one of the most well publicized incidents of a Hezbollah terror cell operating in the US involved a hit team sent here to kill President Clinton’s former national security advisor, Anthony Lake. Lake was moved into the Blair House across from the White House until the threat was neutralized.
  • Bob Clifford, former head of the FBI Hezbollah unit, told Diaz and Newman about a Hezbollah operative that was working at Boston’s Logan Airport – where American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175, two of the four hijacked 9/11 flights, originated. According to Clifford, the FBI agent that told Logan security authorities about the potential threat was himself investigated for wrongdoing after the Hezbollah operative lost his job, though the agent was eventually cleared. Clifford claims to have arrested more than one hundred Hezbollah operatives in the US during his tenure at the FBI.
  • DEA officials busted an elaborate methamphetamine drug ring in January 2002 operating in Detroit, Cleveland, Chicago, Phoenix and several cities in California that funneled money back to Hezbollah.  At least 136 people – most from the Middle East – were arrested and 36 tons of pseudoephedrine, 179 pounds of methamphetamine, $4.5 million in cash, eight properties, and 160 cars used for transport were seized.
  • According to investigative journalist Steve Emerson in his book, American Jihad, a Hezbollah cell operating in Charlotte, North Carolina was busted in a FBI sting in a July 2000 operation that netted 18 arrests. The accused were indicted for providing training, communications equipment and explosives to Hezbollah, which the federal indictment said were intended to “facilitate its violent attacks”.
  • In 2001, federal officials discovered a Hezbollah fundraising cell in Charlotte, North Carolina that was purchasing untaxed cigarettes and selling them illegally in Michigan. In a year and a half, the network sold $7.9 million worth of cigarettes illegally, with most of the money being returned to Hezbollah headquarters in Lebanon.
  • In 2003, the FBI raided the Dearborn, Michigan home of Mahmoud Kourani. He was indicted for harboring an illegal alien and conspiracy to provide material support to Hezbollah. Kourani’s brother is the chief of military security for Hezbollah in Lebanon. Kourani admitted to being smuggled across the Mexican border into the U.S. in the trunk of a car after arriving in Mexico on a visa he obtained from the Mexican consulate in Beirut after paying a consulate official $3,000.
  • In March 2006, indictments involving another Hezbollah smuggling ring uncovered in Detroit were unsealed. The suspects are accused of bootlegging cigarettes, counterfeiting tax stamps, selling phony Viagra tablets, and hijacking shipments of toilet paper to fund Hezbollah activities.

The criminal activities serve the higher purpose of funding the thousands of personnel that Hezbollah maintains in the U.S., providing them financial means to insulate themselves further into American society. The proceeds from criminal activity also provide funding for high technology military equipment purchases here and in Canada to be sent back to Lebanon to improve Hezbollah capabilities against the Israeli military. In a recent case, Canadian authorities took down a Hezbollah cell that had received from Beirut a shopping list of equipment to obtain, such as night vision goggles, laptops, cell phones that could be used to remotely detonate explosions and intelligence drones.

 

Many mainstream US media outlets dismiss the internal threat Hezbollah poses to the US, and have contributed to the reshaping of the organization’s image from terrorist organization to Lebanese political party and charitable organization. In 2005, a New York Times editorial praised the softening attitude of the Bush administration towards Hezbollah: “It’s so great that the Bush Administration is going along with our allies to treat Hezbollah as a political entity. Maybe they can demilitarize them or make them less extreme.”

 

Regardless of how many hospitals and schools Hezbollah builds in Lebanon in their attempt to increase their absolute social control over that country, dismissing Hezbollah’s networks in the U.S. and their criminal activities here as petty crime is to greatly understate the terror threat that they pose to the American homeland. Hezbollah surely appreciates the image makeover provided by American mainstream media, but it clearly has no intentions in changing its policies regarding the use of terror against American interests.

 

Hezbollah’s ability to smuggle terrorist personnel and equipment into the U.S. seemingly at will, potentially to launch terrorist attacks against America, makes their activity south of the border all the more important. It should provide much-needed clarity to the present discussions in Washington D.C. about our border security and illegal immigration.

 

In testimony before the House International Relations Committee in 2002, Mark F. Wong, the State Department’s Coordinator for Counterterrorism warned Congress, “Hezbollah has a global reach and a bloody track record in this hemisphere.”

 

The list of Hezbollah activities in Latin America is extensive:

 

  • The greatest hub of terrorist activity in Latin America is in the border region of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay, known as the Triple Frontier or Tri-Border Area, which has long been known as a haven for smuggling, counterfeiting, money laundering and drug trafficking. Officials estimate that at least 30,000 Middle Eastern immigrants reside in the Triple Frontier, with Hezbollah being the most active and dominant group in the area. In a detailed October 2002 New Yorker report, journalist Jeffrey Goldberg found that many immigrants in the area have established business with the help of loans provided by Hezbollah, businesses which are “taxed” by Hezbollah at 20 percent of gross revenues after the loans are paid off. Erick Stakelbeck of the Investigative Project cites Paraguayan Interior Minister Julio Cesar Fanego as saying that Hezbollah received anywhere from $50-$500 million from illegal activities in the Triple Frontier from 1999 to 2001 alone.
  • A research report issued by the Library of Congress Federal Research Division, Organized Crime and Terrorist Activity in Mexico, 1999-2002, quotes (p. 43) Mexican former national security advisor and ambassador the United Nations, Adolfo Aguilar Zinser, as saying that “Spanish and Islamic terrorist groups are using Mexico as a refuge.” The report also cites an El Norte Spanish-language news report that there are approximately 400,000 Arabic speakers in Mexico mostly located among the large Lebanese and Palestinian communities of the northern city of Monterrey, nearby the U.S.-Mexican border.
  • According to a Dec. 2003 report by Terrence Jeffrey of Human Events, the Mexican consul in Beirut, Imelda Ortiz Abdala, was arrested by Mexican authorities in November 2003 for her role in helping to smuggle Arab migrants into the U.S. from Mexico by selling Mexican visas, including the one sold to Mahmoud Khourani. Jeffrey has also recently written more about the Hezbollah/Mexico connection.
  • Hezbollah was responsible for the greatest anti-Semitic attack since the Nazi Holocaust when a suicide truck-bomb drove into the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires in 1994, killing more than a hundred people. As a result, Jewish synagogues and cultural centers around Latin America have been turned into virtual fortresses to protect them.
  • In May 2001, Mexican authorities announced that measures were being increased to dismantle terror training camps along the US border run by Hezbollah and the Spanish Basque Fatherland and Liberty Party (ETA).
  • In 2005, Mexican authorities arrested Amer Haykel, a British citizen of Lebanese birth, who was sought by US authorities for his connection to the 9/11 attacks. Haykel was arrested near the U.S. border in the northwest Mexican state of Baja California.
  • According to a June 2005 BBC report, Ecuadorian officials busted up an international Hezbollah drug ring run out of a Lebanese restaurant in Quito, in which authorities say cocaine was obtained in Colombia and trafficked to Europe, the Middle East and the rest of South America. Up to 70 percent of the profits from each $1 million shipment went to Hezbollah. In addition to the suspects arrested in Ecuador, 19 other people were arrested in connection with the Hezbollah drug ring in US and Brazil.
  • One major Hezbollah terrorist, still at large, has had his hands in all of the attacks against America — Imad Mugniyeh — chief of Hezbollah’s military operations.  Reports indicate that Mugniyeh and Osama bin Ladin have met to establish a concordant and exchange technical expertise. National Security expert Patrick Devenny has called Mugniyeh, Tehran’s Terror Master, and has identified his critical role in Hezbollah’s operations in North and South America. Even in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, 20-year CIA veteran Robert Baer has said: “He is the most dangerous terrorist we’ve ever faced. He’s a pathological murderer. Mugniyeh is probably the most intelligent, most capable operative we’ve ever run across, including the KGB or anybody else.”

Estimates vary widely on the number of Muslim and Middle Eastern migrants that live in Latin America. Ironically, if one would refer to the CIA Factbook, the source document used by researchers, intelligence analysts and policy official for basic data on countries around the world one would almost conclude there are no Muslims at all in Latin America. Since 9/11 and the start of the GWOT one would think Islamic demographic data would be an important data point for the Factbook, no matter how large or small the demographics. One problem of course is the lack of good census data; in Brazil for example, their 2000 census reflect only 27,000 Muslims while other information estimates their population at upwards of 1.3 million. If countries have no clear idea of the number of immigrants resident in their country or the number of Muslims it is unlikely they will have a clear picture of the degree and scope of their domestic terrorist threat either.

To be clear, not all or even most Muslims are involved in terrorist activities, but where large populations reside allows Hezbollah and other Islamic terrorist operatives to move freely, inside or outside Latin America. Many legitimate business owners in Hezbollah-controlled areas are forced to pay “taxes” to help finance Hezbollah operations.

 

In terms of U.S. foreign policy considerations, officials should pay particular attention to four disturbing trends related to Hezbollah and Islamist activities in Latin America:

 

  1. It is too quiet down South. U.S. Southern Command spokesmen readily admit that most terrorist activities in Latin America involve support cell activity: recruitment fundraising, proselytization. The official line is that there is no “credible reporting” of operational cells in Latin America. From an intelligence perspective, the credibility of reporting turns on one’s standard of credibility. That is not the same as saying there is “no reporting” of operational cells in Latin America, and support cell members can always become operational.
  2. The growing cooperation between Hezbollah and drug-financed revolutionary terrorist groups in South America, such as the Colombian FARC and the Peruvian Shining Path, which has raised the concerns of the Organization of American States.
  3. The developing connections between Hezbollah, al Qaeda, and violent Latin American gangs, such as El Salvadoran gang MS-13 (Mara Salvatrucha), which is reported to have up to 50,000 members working in the U.S. A 2004 Washington Times article reports that at least one high-ranking al-Qaeda lieutenant, Adnan G. El Shukrijumah, has been spotted meeting in Honduras with MS-13 officials; other reports indicate his presence in Panama and possible surveillance of the Panama Canal. MS-13 operates an extensive alien smuggling ring out of Matamoros, Mexico, just across the border from Brownsville, Texas, and has been documented to have smuggled non-Mexicans into the U.S.
  4. A fourth analytical consideration is the movement of Islamic proselytization and conversion in Latin America and known trends for radical Islamists to recruit and obtain converts in prisons. It is likely these two trends would extend to gangs and the Islamic radicalization of gang members would then justify their criminal activities under extant Islamist jihad doctrines, psychologically and morally legitimizing their criminal activities.

Final Considerations

 

We began this discussion by mentioning FBI Director Robert Mueller’s recent testimony to Congress about busting up a Hezbollah Mexican smuggling ring. But several years ago, Director Mueller admitted in a very candid moment while speaking to the Senate Intelligence Committee that a wave of suicide bombers being unleashed throughout America was “inevitable”. At the time, he wasn’t aware that an Associated Press reporter was in the room to record his comments.

 

When asked about the possibility of suicide bombings in America, Mueller said, “I think we will see that in the future – I think it’s inevitable,” adding that, “There will be another terrorist attack. We will not be able to stop it. It’s something we all live with.”

 

In the weeks ahead as Congress resumes the debate over border security, this admission from one of the government’s top law enforcement authorities should be noted.  As one blogger put it sarcastically, “Hezbollah is coming to America to blow up things American’s won’t.” Mueller’s statements should make the point that illegal immigration is not just about poor Mexicans trying to find a decent living; it is also about America’s enemies entering our country with every intention of causing mayhem, destruction and death.

 

In the next few weeks and months, we may observe an escalating series of events that will lead to the next 9/11. As one U.S. intelligence official has stated:

 

If Iran becomes the focus of Phase Three [on the War on Terror], it could send a message to the U.S. that it is not like Iraq, that it has the means to strike us at home, with a network of cells that it placed here a long time ago. The Iranians wouldn’t take credit for blowing up a McDonald’s, but we would know, and they would know we know.

 

It is too early to predict how the current diplomatic crisis over Iran’s nuclear weapons program will play out, but Americans should assume that any potential military hostilities could result in Hezbollah striking American interests across the globe and here in the US Homeland. Possibly the Iranian ayatollahs may decide that preemptive Hezbollah suicide attacks against America might serve as a deterrent to U.S. military action against their nuclear facilities. A strategic wave of Hezbollah suicide bombings, and well coordinated military attacks in America could very well make the horror and tragedy of the last 9/11 look like a distant memory.  Few realists doubt that we live in a dangerous world and most Americans understand that ‘freedom is not free,’ nonetheless, in the aftermath of another terrorist outrage on U.S. soil, new government commissions won’t impede Americans demanding accountability.

 

Hezbollah’s known domestic activities, to include the smuggling operation, not to mention unknown and yet unidentified ones, makes the question of America’s border security as an important national security consideration as any other. Yet ironically America’s border security is not even discussed in the newly published National Security Strategy.  The security of other countries borders are more discussed in this and in the previous 2002 strategy than our own borders today. 

 

America’s enemies have identified this vulnerability; according to a March 2005 Time Magazine report, al-Qaeda lieutenant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi instructed jihadists to bribe their way into Honduras and cross the U.S. southern border to attack soft American targets. From an intelligence perspective the indicators and warnings of the threat cannot be clearer.

 

The U.S. is faced with the rising nuclear threat from Iran. The announcement just a few days ago that the Islamic Republic has successfully produced enriched uranium quickly leading them to producing weapons-grade material makes the present discussion more exigent. As President Bush told the graduates of West Point in 2002, “The gravest danger to freedom lies at the crossroads of radicalism and [nuclear] technology.” 

If the U.S. is forced into preemptive military action against Iran to prevent them from developing nuclear weapons, it should be expected that the long-established Hezbollah network in the US will be activated and attempt retaliation by their primary state-sponsor. We will learn the extents and limits of Hezbollah’s military capabilities within the U.S., our own intelligence capabilities, and whether our immigration and border policies were adequate.

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LTC Joseph Myers is the Senior Army Advisor to the Air Command and Staff College at Maxwell AFB in Alabama. Patrick Poole is a freelance writer and public policy researcher; he maintains the blog Existential Space.


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