Archive for the ‘Lebanon’ Category

Libya, Egypt, Sudan, Tunisia, Lebanon, Bangladesh … UPDATE: Iran, too

Friday, September 14th, 2012

Friday afternoon links,
Revealed: inside story of US envoy’s assassination — Exclusive: America ‘was warned of embassy attack but did nothing’

More unfit than incompetent

‘Obama’s Middle East Policy Is in Ruins’

The 10 Most Important Stories of the Embassy Attacks…

Black flag of Islam flies over U.S. embassy in Tunisia as America is targeted by angry mobs across the globe in day of chaos
Mob scales the walls of U.S. embassy compound, sets fire to cars and replaces American flag
Chaos across the globe amid anger at American-made anti-Islam film
Kentucky Fried Chicken ransacked in Lebanon
Protesters burn American flag in London
American embassy stormed in Sudan
10,000 Muslims stage a noisy protest in Bangladeshi capital Dhaka, burning and trampling American flags while chanting anti-US slogans
Egypt’s president Hosni Mubarak appeals for calm on live television, a day after Barack Obama issued a veiled warning to the region’s leaders to protect US embassies
It follows unrest after September 11 attack on US Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, killing ambassador and three other Americans

Jay Carney is in denial,

This is a fairly volatile situation, and it is in response not to U.S. policy, not to, obviously, the administration, not to the American people. It is in response to a video – a film – that we have judged to be reprehensive and disgusting. That in no way justifies any violent reaction to it. But this is not a case of protests directed at the United States, writ large, or at U.S. policy. This is in response to a video that is offensive and – to Muslims.

Pay No Attention to the Burning Flags, Stormed Consulates, and Dead Americans . . .

Note to Mr. Carney: Radical Islamists really do not care whether “we” have judged some crackpot video “reprehensible and disgusting.” They have more important aims than distinguishing the Obama administration or its policies from the moronic Terry Jones.

UPDATE,
Iran: Down, But Not Out

The cocaine-Hezbollah-Lebanon connection

Saturday, December 17th, 2011

The NY Times has a graph on
Money Laundering at Lebanese Bank
The chart below shows the intricate money-laundering system the Lebanese Canadian Bank used to divert money to the Shiite militant group Hezbollah, according to United States officials.

The report: Beirut Bank Seen as a Hub of Hezbollah’s Financing

At the same time, the investigation that led the United States to the bank, the Lebanese Canadian Bank, provides new insights into the murky sources of Hezbollah’s money. While law enforcement agencies around the world have long believed that Hezbollah is a passive beneficiary of contributions from loyalists abroad involved in drug trafficking and a grab bag of other criminal enterprises, intelligence from several countries points to the direct involvement of high-level Hezbollah officials in the South American cocaine trade.

The revelations about Hezbollah and the Lebanese Canadian Bank reflect the changing political and military dynamics of Lebanon and the Middle East. American intelligence analysts believe that for years Hezbollah received as much as $200 million annually from its primary patron, Iran, along with additional aid from Syria. But that support has diminished, the analysts say, as Iran’s economy buckles under international sanctions over its nuclear program and Syria’s government battles rising popular unrest.

Yet, if anything, Hezbollah’s financial needs have grown alongside its increasing legitimacy here, as it seeks to rebuild after its 2006 war with Israel and expand its portfolio of political and social service activities. The result, analysts believe, has been a deeper reliance on criminal enterprises — especially the South American cocaine trade — and on a mechanism to move its ill-gotten cash around the world.

Venezuela plays a part, too,

According to Lebanon’s drug enforcement chief, Col. Adel Mashmoushi, one path into the country was aboard a weekly Iranian-operated flight from Venezuela to Damascus and then over the border. Several American officials confirmed that, emphasizing that such an operation would be impossible without Hezbollah’s involvement.

It doesn’t end there.

Go read the whole thing.

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On CSpan2 right now: Michael Totten

Saturday, June 4th, 2011

My friend Michael Totten is being interviewed on CSpan2 right now. He’s talking about his excellent book, The Road to Fatima Gate – a must-read:

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Big Cocaine Gang Allied to Hezbollah Rounded up in the Caribbean

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

Big Cocaine Gang Allied to Hezbollah Rounded up (h/t GoV; emphasis added)

THE HAGUE, 30/04/09 – In cooperation with various other countries, Dutch authorities have rounded up a big cocaine gang that had links with Hezbollah. Seventeen suspects were arrested on Curacao, the biggest island of the Netherlands Antilles, the Public Prosecutor’s Office (OM) has revealed.

International cooperation between police and judicial services of the Netherlands and the Netherlands Antilles, Belgium, Colombia, Venezuela and the US led to the arrest of the 17 suspects by the Curacao police. They are believed to be part of a drugs and money-laundering organisation with international branches, thought to be responsible for the import and export of at least 2,000 kilos of cocaine per year, according to the OM. “The organisation maintained international contacts with other criminal networks, which in the Middle East support Hezbollah financially”.

In this investigation, launched at the beginning of 2008, containers with cocaine were intercepted earlier in Rotterdam (300 kilos), the Spanish city of Valencia (20 kilos) and the Belgian city of Antwerp (140 kilos). Three Colombian suspects have for some time been in pre-trial custody for their involvement in the Rotterdam shipment, discovered in October 2008.

The 17 suspects now arrested are from Venezuela, Colombia, Lebanon and Cuba as well as Curacao. The organisation shipped containers with cocaine from Curacao to the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain and Jordan. From Venezuela, drugs containers went to West Africa and subsequently to the Netherlands, Lebanon and Spain. Couriers smuggled cocaine from Curacao and Aruba to the Netherlands as air passengers.

The suspects invested the drugs profits in property in Colombia, Venezuela, Lebanon, the Dominican Republic and in companies on Curacao. “Large sums of money from the drugs trade have become available in Lebanon via underground bankers. From Lebanon, orders are also placed for weapons, which had to be delivered by the drugs organisation from South America.”

Babalu also posted on this atticle from the Lebanon Daily Star, Police link 17 ‘drug traders’ in Curacao with Hizbullah

BEIRUT: Police from seven nations arrested 17 people in the island of Curacao Tuesday suspected of involvement in an international drug ring with links to Hizbullah, Dutch authorities said. “The organization had international contacts with other criminal networks that financially supported Hizbullah in the Middle East. Large sums of drug money flooded into Lebanon, from where orders were placed for weapons that were to have been delivered from South America,” the Dutch prosecution service said in a statement.

The proceeds were allegedly invested in several countries, said the statement, adding that the suspects were from Curacao, the largest of the Dutch Antilles islands, as well as from Venezuela, Colombia, Lebanon and Cuba.

Yet another instance of the connection of drugs, terrorism and the weapons trade.

What is surprising is that the American media has no reports on this.

UPDATE
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Hezbollah using Mexican drug routes into U.S.

Saturday, March 28th, 2009

Border security is national security. Here’s yet another reason why:
Hezbollah uses Mexican drug routes into U.S.
Works beside smuggler cartels to fund operations

Hezbollah is using the same southern narcotics routes that Mexican drug kingpins do to smuggle drugs and people into the United States, reaping money to finance its operations and threatening U.S. national security, current and former U.S. law enforcement, defense and counterterrorism officials say.

The Iran-backed Lebanese group has long been involved in narcotics and human trafficking in South America’s tri-border region of Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil. Increasingly, however, it is relying on Mexican narcotics syndicates that control access to transit routes into the U.S.

Hezbollah relies on “the same criminal weapons smugglers, document traffickers and transportation experts as the drug cartels,” said Michael Braun, who just retired as assistant administrator and chief of operations at the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

“They work together,” said Mr. Braun. “They rely on the same shadow facilitators. One way or another, they are all connected.

“They’ll leverage those relationships to their benefit, to smuggle contraband and humans into the U.S.; in fact, they already are [smuggling].”

For now,, they appear to be concentrating on human trafficking,

Although there have been no confirmed cases of Hezbollah moving terrorists across the Mexico border to carry out attacks in the United States, Hezbollah members and supporters have entered the country this way.

Whether the Hezbollah operatives members and supporters have “plans” is anyone’s guess.

I’m one of the few bloggers to have been posting on Hezbollah and the tri-border area of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay for several years. The article points out, as readers of this blog know,

Hezbollah is based in Lebanon. Since its inception after the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982, it has grown into a major political, military and social welfare organization serving Lebanon’s large Shi’ite Muslim community.

In 2006, it fought a 34-day war against Israel, which remains its primary adversary. To finance its operations, it relies in part on funding from a large Lebanese Shi’ite Muslim diaspora that stretches from the Middle East to Africa and Latin America. Some of the funding comes from criminal enterprises.

You can read the 2003 (pdf file) TERRORIST AND ORGANIZED CRIME GROUPS IN THE TRI-BORDER AREA (TBA) OF SOUTH AMERICA which was prepared by the Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress for more background. However, bear in mind how the situation has evolved now, which involves the Mexican drug wars:

The DEA thinks that 60 percent of terrorist organizations have some ties with the illegal narcotics trade, said agency spokesman Garrison Courtney.

South American drug cartels were forced into developing stronger alliances with Mexican syndicates when the U.S. closed off access from the Caribbean 15 years ago, Mr. Braun said.

Mexico’s transit routes now account for more than 90 percent of the cocaine entering the U.S., he said. The emphasis on Mexico intensified after the Sept. 11 attacks, when beefed-up U.S. security measures greatly reduced access to the U.S. by air and water, he said.

The shift put Mexico’s drug cartels in the lead and helped them amass billions of dollars and an estimated 100,000 foot soldiers, according to U.S. defense officials.

Hezbollah shifted its trade routes along with the drug cartels, using Lebanese Shi’ite expatriates to negotiate contracts with Mexican crime bosses, Mr. Braun said.

The World Trade Bridge between Nuevo Laredo and its sister city, Laredo, as well as Interstate 35 and Highways 59, 359 and 83, are like veins feeding the Mexican syndicates, running from southern Texas to cities across the U.S. and as far north as Canada, U.S. officials say. In addition, access routes from El Paso, Texas, to San Diego are also high-value entry points.

The Mexican drug wars rage on. We need to recognize that they’re not just about drugs.

Ace tells what happened with Hitchens

Thursday, February 19th, 2009

Rumors have been flying about Hitchens’s mugging in Lebanon. Now Ace tells What Happened With Hitchens

First of all, there weren’t ten goons, but around six.

Second, the goon squad, and not just the look-out man, did in fact get to Hitchens. They knocked him down to the ground, kicked him while he was down, and stamped on his writing hand (which I’d known). I had thought they escaped the gang, but they didn’t, not quite; they got roughed up by them before a cabbie got them away.

Here’s what I know word-of-mouth about the Syrian Nazis: They’re actual Nazis, first of all, having taken inspiration from Hitler and sporting a modified swastika on their posters and flags. They’re a small party, I’m told. They had been banned years ago but are back, but not in force. There are about 300 of them (again, this is what I am told) and are more of a street-gang of bullyboys than an actual party. However, they have the backing of Syria, and they do, when called upon, murder people.

This was no “brawl”, this was an assault.

Lawrence Osborne has more at Forbes.

UPDATE
Mary, cross-posting at Solomonia, has photos of the area.

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Moral Clarity in Gaza

Friday, January 2nd, 2009

Dr Charles Krauthammer in today’s Washington Post:
Moral Clarity in Gaza

At war today in Gaza, one combatant is committed to causing the most civilian pain and suffering on both sides. The other combatant is committed to saving as many lives as possible — also on both sides.

Which includes sending sending hundreds of trucks for humanitarian aid into Gaza.

It’s a recurring theme. Israel gave similar warnings to Southern Lebanese villagers before attacking Hezbollah in the Lebanon war of 2006. The Israelis did this knowing it would lose for them the element of surprise and cost the lives of their own soldiers.

That is the asymmetry of means between Hamas and Israel. But there is equal clarity regarding the asymmetry of ends. Israel has but a single objective in Gaza — peace: the calm, open, normal relations it offered Gaza when it withdrew in 2005. Doing something never done by the Turkish, British, Egyptian and Jordanian rulers of Palestine, the Israelis gave the Palestinians their first sovereign territory ever in Gaza.

What ensued? This is not ancient history. Did the Palestinians begin building the state that is supposedly their great national aim? No. No roads, no industry, no courts, no civil society at all. The flourishing greenhouses that Israel left behind for the Palestinians were destroyed and abandoned. Instead, Gaza’s Iranian-sponsored rulers have devoted all their resources to turning it into a terror base — importing weapons, training terrorists, building tunnels with which to kidnap Israelis on the other side. And of course firing rockets unceasingly.

The grievance? It cannot be occupation, military control or settlers. They were all removed in September 2005. There’s only one grievance and Hamas is open about it. Israel’s very existence.

Nor does Hamas conceal its strategy. Provoke conflict. Wait for the inevitable civilian casualties. Bring down the world’s opprobrium on Israel. Force it into an untenable cease-fire — exactly as happened in Lebanon. Then, as in Lebanon, rearm, rebuild and mobilize for the next round. Perpetual war. Since its raison d’etre is the eradication of Israel, there are only two possible outcomes: the defeat of Hamas or the extinction of Israel.

Little Green Footballs has graphics on mortar shelllings and rocket attacks fired into Israel for the past eight years since Hamas took over. Who in the media is showing this information?

Who in the media is familiar with the Covenant of hate?

UPDATE
Victor Davis Hanson writes on Surreal Gaza

Hamas with its serial rocket attacks on Israel interprets all of the above not as an opportunity for prosperity, but as a stage one for the great accomplishment of its generation—the absolute destruction of the Jewish state. Its agenda is clear and unambiguous, and apparently shared by millions of elites in the West itself, without whose support Hamas could not exist. The common theme of Western press coverage is the misery of Gaza, never the misery of Gaza as a product of the garrison-state mentality of Hamas’s radical Islamic vows to wage perennial war against Israel.

More information on humanitarian aid,

  • Today (Wed.), 93 truckloads with 2,500 tons of food and medical supplies were transferred to Gaza.
  • Since the beginning of the operation in Gaza Saturday, 6,500 tons of food and medicine were transferred to Gaza.
  • The World Food Program has informed Israel that they will not be resuming shipment of food into Gaza becausetheir warehouses are at full capacity, with enough supplies for at least 2 weeks.
  • 12 Palestinians from Gaza entered Israel today (Wed.) for medical treatment.

Secretary of State Condeleezza Rice is on a televised press conference right now. “We are working on a cease fire that would not allow… Hamas to continue firing rockets.”

In the media, a Fox reporter calls Palestinian legal adviser Diana Buttu on her lies:

Political Vindication posts a 1974interview of Golda Meier by Oriana Fallaci that resonates even more today.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit told the press that the Hamas terrorists are not allowing the wounded out of Gaza to be treated:

Eternity Road looks at Article 11 of the Hamas Charter.

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Hugo {Hearts} Hamas

Monday, December 29th, 2008

My latest post at Real Clear World Blog, Hugo {Hearts} Hamas is up. Please read it, and leave a comment.

The Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean will be up later today.

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Colombia smashes drug ring with Hezbollah ties

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008

Extraordinary news from Colombia:
Colombia smashes drug ring with Hezbollah ties

Colombian authorities said on Tuesday they broke up a drug and money-laundering ring in an international operation that included the capture of three people suspected of shipping funds to Hezbollah guerrillas.

More than 100 suspects were arrested in Colombia and overseas on charges they trafficked drugs and laundered cash for Colombia’s Norte del Valle cartel and for outlawed paramilitaries in a network that stretched from South America to Asia, the attorney’s general office said.

“The criminal organisation used routes through Venezuela, Panama, Guatemala, Middle East and Europe, bringing in cash from the sale of these substances,” the statement said.

Among those arrested in Colombia were three people suspected of coordinating drug smuggling to send some of their profits to groups such as Hezbollah, the office said.

Those suspects — Chekry Mahmoud Harb, Ali Mohamad Abdul Rahim and Zacaria Hussein Harb — used front companies to send drug cash overseas, it said without providing further details.

Also among the arrested, Guatemalan drug kingpin Otto Roberto Herrera García one of the 40 most wanted criminals in the world.

In addition to Venezuela, Panama, Guatemala, Middle East and Europe, the cartel transacted in the US, Canada, Africa, and Asia, which is unsual, considering that Asian countries involved are also drug producers. Not unsual, however, would be that the international drug rings may be using similar money laundering processes and resources.

Also arrested were members of paramilitary groups in Colombia.

Here’s the official Colombian government press release on the raid (in Spanish). I’m not sure why the WaPo finds it necessary to title their Reuters reprint as “Colombia says smashes drug ring with Hezbollah ties.”

This is an extraordinary mission indeed.
First of all, the Colombian armed forces have performed another hugely successful operation this year. The US training and technology are well used, and the military have proved themselves trustworthy. This alone is a tremendous improvement from the condition they were in eight years ago.

This was an international operation: Colombia’s seeking out and cooperating with international law enforcement agencies. This particular operation had been in the works for two years,

A statement from the [Colombian] attorney general’s office said the international police operation, codenamed Titan, had been under way for more than two years.

Its aim was to break up a drug-trafficking and money-laundering ring that operated globally, from Colombia to the US, Canada, Europe and the Middle East.

Ninety people were detained overseas, while raids in the cities of Bogota, Cali, Medellin and Pereira led to 21 further arrests.

From the internal security standpoint, Colombian law enforcement is also going after the paramilitaries. Are you paying attention, Obama and the House Democrats?

Last but not least: International terrorism, Islamists (in this case, Shi’ite Hezbollah), crime, kidnapping, money laundering and the drug trade are not separate elements in South America; they are the threads from which one fabric is woven. American policymakers need to recognize that fact.

The US must show its support of Colombia in every way. Passing the FTA would be a good start.

Recent archived posts on Hezbollah in Latin America here, including the story on the Venezuelan Minister of the Interior‘s ties with Hezbollah.
See also November 2007: Piracy, the Tri-Border Area and terrorism and July 2006: Hezbollah in Latin America

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Michael Totten’s primer on Lebanon’s Third Civil War

Sunday, May 11th, 2008

Very few people understand Lebanon as well as Michael Totten, who loves the country. Here’s his article in Commentary:
Lebanon’s Third Civil War

The first war was a short one. Sunni Arab Nationalists in thrall to Egyptian dictator Gamal Abdel Nasser wanted to attach Lebanon to the United Arab Republic – a brief union of Egypt and Syria. An even larger bloc of Maronite Christians resisted. A nation cannot hold itself together when a large percentage of its population – roughly a third – wish to be annexed by foreign powers.

The second war was a long one. This time, Yasser Arafat’s Palestinian Liberation Organization formed a state-within-a-state in West Beirut and South Lebanon and used it as a launching pad for terrorist attacks against Israel. Again, Lebanon’s Christians resisted, as did Lebanon’s Shias. The second civil war was actually a series of wars that were merely triggered by that first fatal schism.

The third civil war resembles both the first and the second. With Iranian money and weapons, Hezbollah has built its own state-within-a-state in South Lebanon and South Beirut which is used as a base to wage war against Israel. Hezbollah also wishes to violently yank Lebanon from its current pro-Western alignment into the Syrian-Iranian axis. Roughly one-fourth of the population supports this agenda. No country on earth can withstand that kind of geopolitical tectonic pressure. For more than a year members of Hezbollah have tried unsuccessfully to topple the elected government with a minimal use of force, but their patience is at an end and they have turned to war.

Michael concludes,

There may be lulls in the violence, but there will be no real peace in Lebanon until Hezbollah is disarmed or destroyed.

Hezbollah is not going to disarm.

Yid With Lid thanks France for Hezbollah’s takeover of Lebanon.

We talked about Lebanon in last Friday’s podcast – and we’re not optimistic.

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