Jon Perdue reports on The perils of peripheral warfare: Iran & Venezuela share the tactics of asymmetric war
Analysts in the region speculate that Chávez is searching for friends on the border with Colombia because he considers Colombian President Alvaro Uribe an enemy and a threat.
Peruvian President Alan Garcia actually won the 2006 presidential race against the Chavez-backed candidate, Ollanta Humala, by aggressively denouncing Chavez’s meddling in Peruvian politics and by properly portraying his opponent as a Chavez proxy. Prior to the election, Chavez had been infiltrating parts of Peru by opening “ALBA houses” – supposed medical centers for the poor that also serve as propaganda mills and recruiting centers for budding left wing revolutionaries. 
A more recent incident in the Amazon town of Bagua, Peru ended in a blood bath last June, when members and supporters of a far-left “indigenous rights” group slit the throats of police officers that had been sent to end the group’s roadblock that had closed the city’s only highway for over a month. Leaders of the group AIDESEP (Interethnic Association for the Development of the Peruvian Rainforest), had ties to Chavez and Bolivia’s Evo Morales, and had previously traveled to Caracas to participate in a meeting of radical indigenous groups. 
This method of utilizing proxies and perimeter footholds has also been the modus operandi of Iran in its arms-length war with Israel. Since Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was elected in 2005, he has consolidated power in Iran by utilizing the Basij militia to suppress opposition while embedding the Revolutionary Guard Corps in positions within the government and the bureaucracies. This was part of the basis for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s recent comments that Iran is “becoming a military dictatorship.” 
Since the end of the Iran-Iraq War, Iran decided not to develop a conventional force structure, but to focus instead on missile capacity to harass its neighbors and naval capacity to be able to cause problems in the Persian Gulf. More importantly, Iran has invested heavily in supplying and training its international subversive forces via Hezbollah.
Similarly, after narrowly surviving a coup in 2002, Chávez first purged his military of any soldiers that appeared supportive of the coup, and soon after began to indoctrinate his military in “asymmetric warfare.” At the “1st Military Forum on Fourth Generation War and Asymmetric War” in 2004, Chavez instructed his soldiers to change their tactical thinking from a conventional style to a “people’s war,” which glorified the tactics used by revolutionary Islamists. 
Chávez then had a special edition of La Guerra Periferica y Islam Revolucionaria (Peripheral Warfare and Revolutionary Islam: Origins, Rules and Ethics of Asymmetric Warfare by Jorge Verstrynge) printed in Spanish and distributed to the Venezuelan Army to replace the U.S. Army training manual.
Verstrynge’s book idolizes Islamic terrorism, calling it, “the ultimate and preferred method of asymmetric warfare because it involves fighters willing to sacrifice their lives to kill the enemy.”  The manual also contains instructions for making and deploying a “dirty bomb.” Verstrynge, a Spanish socialist, is now a hired consultant to Chavez’s army, whose members must also now recite the Cuban-style pledge “Fatherland, Socialism or Death.” 
“Peripheral Warfare” strategy was recently tested by Iran in its proxy war with Israel, when two of its surrogate forces, Hezbollah and Hamas, utilized specialized missile crews to bomb Israeli civilians, as well as to cause a distraction while it fired upon Israeli border patrols in 2006 to start the Israel-Hezbollah War. Even prior to the decision to remove Saddam Hussein in 2003, Iran was perfecting the use of peripheral warfare by supplying and training Shiite groups in Iraq. 
One big difference between the two:
The major difference between Iran’s use of peripheral warfare in the Middle East and Venezuela’s is that the latter can much more easily find allies in the region willing to overtly offer support. Whereas Iran must maintain some semblance of plausible deniability in its subversive activities, the correspondingly lesser scrutiny and import given to Latin America allows Chavez to openly tout his “Bolivarian Socialism” throughout the region.
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