When Americans think of terrorist activity, we think of Yemen, Pakistan, Palestine and other places in the Middle East, but we overlook the rapidly increasing terrorism threat coming from Hezbollah operations taking place in Latin America.
“This is a very important issue we pay too little attention to,” Senior Fellow for the International Assessment and Strategy Center Douglas Farah told lawmakers on Capitol Hill yesterday during a counterterrorism hearing.
According to testimony given on Capitol Hill yesterday, Hezbollah, the most extensive terrorist organization in the world, is operating along the U.S.-Mexico border and has vast influence in Latin America. Hezbollah is anti-American and anti-Israeli, and the United States has been concerned about the group since the 1980s.
Before 9/11, Hezbollah, not Al Qaeda, was responsible for the majority of U.S. terrorism deaths, including the 1983 bombings of U.S. Marine barracks and U.S. embassy in Beirut, in addition to a series of attacks in the '80s. Hezbollah is also responsible for countless attacks on Israel. In 1992, Hezbollah, with help from Iran, bombed the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires. In 1994 they bombed the Jewish community center in the same South American city. Those are just a handful of examples that don’t even account for the thousands of rockets Hezbollah has launched into Israel throughout the years.
“Hezbollah makes Al Qaeda look like a minor league team,” Chairman of the Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-Pa.) said.
Hezbollah was created by Iran and has close ties to Syria. The group is also backed by Venezuelan Dictator Hugo Chavez, who has a cozy relationship with Iran.
“Hezbollah, backed by Iran and Venezuela, is a determined enemy of the United States that has made substantial progress in Latin America,” Ambassador and American Enterprise Institute visiting fellow Roger Noriega said during the hearing, adding that he believes there will be an attack on U.S. personnel if nothing is done soon to counter Hezbollah in Latin America.
Hezbollah is the most prevalent terrorist organization in the world. The group operates in over 40 countries and on 5 continents, including operations in at least 15 U.S. cities and four major Canadian cities. In South America specifically, the group operates in the region where Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay meet. Brazil is used as a major terrorism hub and cocaine is exchanged for weapons in Colombia.
“Hezbollah remains the premium terrorist organization in the world,” Farah said in testimony.
Katie Pavlich is the Editor at Townhall.com. Follow her on Twitter @katiepavlich. She is a New York Times Best Selling author. Her latest book Assault and Flattery: The Truth About the Left and Their War on Women, was published on July 8, 2014.