Friday, January 17, 2020

Soleimani’s Latin America Terror

Image: Alexandre Meneghini/Reuters
President Trump’s decision to kill him is good news for the Western Hemisphere.
The death of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani is a blow to the theocracy’s efforts to assert its power across the Middle East. By taking out Soleimani, President Trump also did Latin America a big favor.
As if to make the point, Cuba’s military dictatorship quickly condemned the U.S. action. The dead general was also mourned by the drug-trafficking terrorist group Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, members of the Venezuelan dictatorship, and Iranian proxy networks in Brazil, Peru, Argentina, El Salvador and Mexico.
A hero of hemispheric criminality has been lost, and the gangsters are sad. They may also be worried. It has been a mistake to let Iran’s incursions into the region during the last two decades go unanswered. If the end of Soleimani is the beginning of a more muscular U.S. policy toward Tehran, it’s good news for Latin America.
Iran plays the long game in its effort to undermine U.S. leadership and expand its influence around the world. In the Western Hemisphere, the regime’s Ministry of Intelligence has taken the lead by establishing “cultural centers” in many urban areas, from which it can spread propaganda, proselytize, radicalize converts and recruit locals as spies.
But intelligence gathering has a deeper purpose, which is to support operations that follow. This is where Soleimani, the head of Iran’s Quds Force, came in.
The force handles foreign assignments for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, engaging in asymmetric warfare through weapons trafficking as well as assassinations and attacks on enemy targets. In other words, it exports terrorism.
Iranian terrorism in Latin America began before Soleimani took charge of the force in 1998. The 1992 bombing of the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires killed 29 people; the 1994 bombing of the Jewish cultural center known by its Spanish initials as the AMIA, also in Buenos Aires, took 85 lives. Eventually investigators attributed both attacks to Hezbollah, acting as an Iranian operative.
In the new millennium Iran has extended its operational reach. There is reason to believe, for example, that the 2015 murder of Argentine federal prosecutor Alberto Nisman was an Iranian-backed operation. Nisman had been investigating an alleged Argentine coverup of Iran’s role in the AMIA bombing. On the eve of an Argentine congressional hearing, where he was scheduled to deliver his findings, he was found dead in his apartment.
Read the rest from the WSJ HERE.

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