“Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”
”Many observers wonder how Iran, while in a difficult economic situation, can afford to finance a massive campaign to destabilize the region, as well as an extensive network of agents in the West. They should pay attention to the involvement of Iranian special services in the global drug trafficking [and mega-billion-dollar money laundering]….”
“A commercial jetliner from Venezuela’s state-run Conviasa Airline flew from Caracas to Tehran via Damascus, Syria, every week with a cargo-hold full of drugs and cash, nicknamed “Aeroterror,” because the return flight often carried weapons and was packed with Hezbollah and Iranian operatives whom the Venezuelan government would provide with fake identities and travel documents on their arrival…. From there, the operatives spread throughout the subcontinent….”
Shiite clerics in Iran and Lebanon have determined that narco-trafficking is morally acceptable when drugs are sold to Western “infidels,” and especially to “The Great American Satan.” They have concluded that drugs may be more effective a weapon than guns.
Iran’s Ayatollahs bite the hand that feeds them
*In 1979, President Carter assumed that Iran’s Ayatollahs were amenable to peaceful coexistence. Therefore, he turned against the Shah of Iran – who was “America’s Policeman in the Persian Gulf” – and provided a tailwind to their rise to power, since “they would be preoccupied with tractors, not with tanks.” However, as expected, upon toppling the Shah of Iran, the Ayatollahs regime bit the hand that fed them, and leveraged the critical US support to transforming Iran into the lead epicenter of anti-US terrorism and drug trafficking, highlighting rogue operations in Latin America, the US’ soft underbelly.
*In 2015, President Obama was convinced that Iran’s Ayatollahs could be induced to peaceful coexistence. Therefore, he heralded the nuclear accord with Iran (JCPOA) as a binding strategic agreement and a step toward “a safer and more secure US and world.” However, as expected, Iran’s Ayatollahs considered the JCPOA as a tenuous tactical agreement and a financial bonanza, bolstering their anti-US strategy of subversion, terrorism, development and proliferation of advanced military technologies, drug trafficking and money laundering, highlighting rogue operations in Latin America, a critical anti-US Iranian beachhead.
*In 2022, President Biden has concluded that a generous financial and diplomatic package could entice Iran’s Ayatollahs to abandon their 1,400-year-old fanatic imperialistic vision. Therefore, he is determined to conclude another agreement with Iran’s Ayatollahs, which – he assumes – would advance regional and global peaceful coexistence. However, Iran’s Ayatollahs view any agreement with the US as a significant financial boost to their systematic anti-US agenda, bolstering their rogue operations in Latin America, the doorstep of the US.
Iran’s anti-US Narco-Jihad
“Iranian “Narco Jihad” [is conducted] against Western countries and primarily against the United States…. Iran, in particular, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and the Hezbollah, [the proxy of] Iran are involved in the global drug trafficking [and money laundering] network…. [Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps] uses funds from the drug trafficking for the supply of arms and ammunition to anti-US terror and rogue entities [in Latin America]…. Currently, illegal drug trafficking is considered one of the most profitable [mega billion dollar] activities…. IranAir planes operating on scheduled flights to and from [Latin America] are also involved in the transportation of drugs….”
“….In the years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, when Washington’s focus was elsewhere, Hezbollah and Iran cultivated alliances with governments along the “cocaine corridor” from the tip of South America to Mexico, to turn them against the United States. The strategy worked in Bolivia, Ecuador and Venezuela….
“….Cocaine shipments, some from Latin America to West Africa and on to Europe and the Middle East, and others through Venezuela and Mexico to the United States…. In West Africa, satellite imagery has documented that the Hezbollah used-car money-laundering operation is bigger than ever….
“Multi-ton loads of cocaine enter the United States, and hundreds of millions of dollars going to a U.S.-designated terrorist organization with vast reach…. [Iran and Hezbollah] are working with Mexico’s brutal Los Zetas cartel to move multi-ton loads of cocaine directly into the United States, and washing $200 million a month in criminal proceeds with the help of 300 or so used car dealerships. The network funnels huge amounts of money to the dealerships to purchase used cars, which would then be shipped to Benin, on Africa’s west coast….
“[Iran and Hezbollah resemble a] human hub of a criminal enterprise with spokes emanating from Tehran outward into Latin America, Africa, Europe and the United States via hundreds of legitimate businesses and front companies….
“Hezbollah operates like the Gambino crime family on steroids, …. Hezbollah continues to scout potential U.S. targets for attack if it decides Washington has crossed some red line against it or Iran. [The Mexican daily] El Universal reported that the Mexican Sinaloa drug cartel’s elite assassins are trained in Iran….”
”The focus [of Iran and Hezbollah] was on forming relationships with Mexican drug cartels and establishing a residence with the aid of the cartels. The Mexican cartels have gained a dangerous ally by sympathizing with Hezbollah’s cause…. The threat of an attack by Hezbollah against the United States has always been present. It has only become more realistic… due to their spread of activity and influence in Latin America and Mexico. Their criminal activities and alliances with drug trafficking organizations such as Los Zetas [drug cartel] illustrates a growing and dormant threat south of the border….
“The increasing presence of middle-eastern terrorist groups in Mexico presents an alarming scenario, where planted terrorists integrate and assimilate with the culture of the country and cross the border. This is a reality and it has only evolved in practice…. The terrorist-criminal nexus of Hezbollah and Los Zetas…has serious implications for the national security [of the US]…. The Los Zetas cartel remains the most sophisticated and one of the most dangerous and powerful drug cartels in Mexico…. It has already infiltrated the U.S…..
“…. Venezuela and Chile are hosts to Hezbollah bases already and several more countries have already been supporting [Hezbollah]. Mexico makes it all the more deadly because of the proximity just south of the United States border….”
“…. The lawless tri-border area between Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay [a chief financial source of Hezbollah terrorism] has been documented as the central hub of Iranian and Hezbollah activity in Latin America…. Hezbollah and Iran have raised funds throughout Latin America by appealing to the well-established Lebanese and Shiite diaspora in the region [especially in Paraguay’s Ciudad del Este, a paradise for drug traffickers, money launderers, organized crime and Islamic terrorists]….
“Hezbollah partners in various capacities with Mexican cartels such as the Sinaloa cartel, the preeminent drug trafficking organization in that country…. helped the Sinaloa cartel build smuggling tunnels under the U.S.-Mexican border….”
The bottom line
*The aforementioned track record of Iran’s Ayatollahs contradict the assumption that they are, potentially, good faith negotiators, who could be induced – through a generous financial and diplomatic package – to abandon their fanatic, religious, imperialistic vision, and amenable to peaceful-coexistence and power-sharing with their Arab Sunni neighbors and the Western “infidel.”
*A failure to realize that the Ayatollahs track record, on the one hand, and the assumption that they are potentially good faith negotiators, on the other hand, constitutes a classic oxymoron, would doom the US to repeat the critical policy errors, which led to its critical support of Ayatollah Khomeini’s rise to power in 1979 and to the JCPOA in 2015. On both occasions, the US – unintentionally – produced a robust tailwind to an arch terrorist and drug trafficking regime, which has posed – since 1979 – a clear and present danger to the homeland and national security of the US.
*Iran’s Ayatollahs are the epitome of terrorists who bite the (American) hand that feeds them.
This column was originally published at The Ettinger Report
The views expressed in guest columns are not necessarily the views or positions of the CCNS or its members.