Great news, Iran's terrorist group Hezbollah is poised to take over Syria should their buddy, Syrian President Bashir al-Assad, finally fall from power. More from JPost:
Iran is preparing to preserve its influence in Syria in the event that its ally President Bashar Assad should be removed from power by building a network of militias in the country along with Hezbollah, The Washington Post reported on Sunday, citing US and Middle East officials.
According to the officials, the militias are currently fighting alongside Assad's forces to keep the embattled leader in power. They believe, however, that the militias are actually in place to serve Tehran's long-term goal of maintaining operatives in the country to act in Iran's interest in Syria if the opposition forces should succeed in unseating Assad.
The Post quoted a senior Obama administration official as saying that Iran was backing as many as 50,000 militiamen. “The immediate intention seems to be to support the Syrian regime. But it’s important for Iran to have a force in Syria that is reliable and can be counted on,” the official stated.
The United States' response to the Syrian crisis, which has left 66,000 people dead in just three years, has been a tricky one. Iran has made it clear that an attack from the U.S. on the Syrian government would be an attack on Iran, which is blatantly obvious now. President Obama rejected a plan to arm Syrian rebels, which was drawn up by former CIA Director David Petreaus and received approval from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Many people forget just how powerful and well organized Hezbollah really is; they operate with the full backing of the Iranian government and are organized all over the world. They actively work to attack Israel through the use of Hamas and other terrorism allies. Closer to home, the terrorist organization actively works with Mexican cartels in terms of weapons exchanges and access to the United States. It is believed cartels have learned their tunnel building skills from Hezbollah operatives.
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.
Hezbollah is a very sophisticated terrorist group, with activity beyond criminal. Intelligence shows the group started pushing its terrorism initiative into South America a decade ago but upped its efforts in 2005, a new approach that is a threat to the United States. Testimony showed Hezbollah is strategically positioning itself in order to possibly launch a response to an Iranian attack either from the U.S. or Israel on their nuclear program. Intelligence cited during the hearing also shows the group is interested in obtaining weapons of mass destruction, which should be taken seriously since the group has published entire books about how to build and use WMDs and terrorist operations are justified by Hezbollah’s belief in Islam’s ongoing struggle with the West through violent jihad.
President Obama's State of the Union address is Tuesday. It will be interesting to see if he brings the Syrian problem up.