Issued by CEMO Center - Paris
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Iran, Hezbollah use porous Latin America borders to gain presence

Tuesday 13/August/2019 - 01:13 PM
The Reference
Nahla Abdelmonem

Latin America was for years an important center for Iranian policy implementation. It was also an important arena for the activities of Hezbollah.

In this, Iran and the Lebanese movement used political and social conditions that created an environment totally appropriate for them in the countries of the continent.

The New York-based Center for Migration and Refugee Studies published a research paper recently on relations between porous security conditions on the borders of Latin American countries and the ability of terrorist organizations to have presence in these countries.

The influx of migrants in the border area between Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay, which is known as the Tri-border area, has allowed terrorists from Hezbollah and the Islamic State (IS) group to masquerade as migrants and enter these countries, the study says.




Iran, Hezbollah use
It refers to the arrest of two Egyptian nationals in Nicaragua. The two men, 26 and 33, were arrested together with two Iraqi men.

The four men succeeded in entering Nicaragua to carry out an attack at the order of IS leadership. However, they were arrested on July 26, 2019.

According to the same study, the same border region has been used since the 1960s in the smuggling of drugs and precious metals from Latin American states to Iran and Lebanon. The same metals were used in bankrolling Hezbollah's activities after it lost its funding sources with Iran suffering under US sanctions.
Iran, Hezbollah use
The three states have taken measures to tighten security on their shared borders. On July 18, Argentina labeled Hezbollah a "terrorist group". It also froze the assets of some of the leaders of the group. The decision coincided with the 25th anniversary of an attack on a center of the Jewish community in Buenos Aires. The attack left 85 people dead and dozens of others injured. It was blamed on Hezbollah.

The United States also joined in the three states with the aim of stopping the expansion of Iranian activities to it and preventing IS militants from infiltrating it. On July 22, Washington joined a security mechanism of the three states to prevent the entry of radicals to them.