Cliff May

Back during the Bush administration, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage famously called Hezbollah the “A Team of terrorists,” adding, “al-Qaeda is actually the B Team.” How do these two organizations compare today?

Last week, the State Department released the 2012 issue of its annual “Country Reports on Terrorism.” At a “background briefing,” a “senior administration official” highlighted an “alarming trend”: a “marked resurgence of terrorist activity by Iran and Hezbollah. The tempo of operational activity was something we haven’t seen since the 1990s. . . We see no signs of this activity abating in 2013. In fact, our assessment is that Hezbollah and Iran will both continue to maintain a heightened level of terrorist activity and operations in the near future.”

The State Department is right to see Hezbollah and Iran as joined at the hip: the former is financed and instructed by the latter. That has not always been understood, despite the fact that, prior to 9/11/01, Hezbollah was responsible for more American deaths than any other terrorist organization. And Hezbollah’s secretary general, Hassan Nasrallah, has proclaimed, “Death to America was, is, and will stay our slogan."

It’s well known that Hezbollah has been sending combatants into Syria in support of Bashar Assad, the dictator and Iranian satrap. Less publicized are Hezbollah’s operations in other corners of the world. A Hezbollah attack on a bus in Bulgaria last July killed five Israelis and one Bulgarian. In Nigeria, authorities recently broke up a Hezbollah cell, seizing what one Nigerian official called “a large quantity of assorted weapons of different types and caliber.”

The State Department report contains surprisingly little information about Hezbollah in Latin America. However, a 500-page report issued last week by Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman reveals that Iran has established an archipelago of “clandestine intelligence stations and operative agents” in Latin America that are being used “to execute terrorist attacks when the Iranian regime decides so, both directly or through its proxy, the terrorist organization Hezbollah.”

The following are South American countries in which Iran or Hezbollah has set up intelligence/terrorism bases: Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Chile, Colombia, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, and Suriname.


Cliff May

Clifford D. May is the President of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.