Friday, September 5, 2008

Navy - Hezbollah Terror Subs Prowl the Caribbean

The waters in the Caribbean and around Latin America for a long time have provided a path for illicit drugs to flow into the United States, but the U.S. Navy has increased its patrols in the region now looking for something else – Hezbollah terrorists, according to a report from Joseph Farah's G2 Bulletin.

The Navy, in trolling for mini-submarines sometimes used to transport drugs, has discovered that some of them apparently are being operated by Hezbollah.

The mini-subs are small semi-submersibles, made of fiberglass and capable of carrying up to four people plus a payload. They are popular with drug smugglers, and now the U.S. is concerned elements of Hezbollah have begun using them for drug-running or smuggling weapons.

"There is clearly fund-raising, money laundering, drug trafficking," Stravridis added. "And, certainly a portion of the funds that are raised in that are making their way back to the Middle East."

The suspected Hezbollah activity is centered largely in the tri-border region, particularly Ciudad del Este in Paraguay, a focal point of Islamic fundamentalism to include the Sunni Hamas and Shiite Hezbollah.

Now it has branched beyond the tri-border area into other regions of Latin America to include Venezuela.

Indeed, as far back as 2000, Iran had designated the Hezbollah to be its liaison to Hamas and the Sunni Palestinian Islamic Jihad throughout Latin America.

Stravridis expressed concern over this linkage.

"(U.S. Southern Command) is concerned about linkage between the Iranian state and nascent Islamic radical terrorism in this region," Stravridis said.

Now, Iran itself is showing a growing presence in the region, to which sources claim the administration has paid little attention. This presence includes diplomatic and intelligence not only in Venezuela but also Bolivia, Nicaragua and Ecuador.

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