The Venezuelan Missile Crisis

Iran's carefully crafted alliance may prove useful sooner than later.

Iran initiated a close relationship with Venezuela when Venezuela’s president, Hugo Chavez, hosted the 2000 OPEC meeting in Caracas. (Shireen T. Hunter, _Iran’s Foreign Policy in the Post-Soviet Era: Resisting the New International Order_ [Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger, 2010], p. 233, not available on line, quoted here.)  Since then, Iran and Venezuela have consorted with Cuba and Colombia to create terrorist havens and missile bases with missiles capable of carrying nuclear payloads in South America that have the southern half of the USA in their range.  Thousands of Arab and Iranian terrorists have infiltrated our southern border for a decade and reside among us, undetected, as sleeper agents.

How have decades of American Presidents allowed this to happen? – not for lack of knowledge.

In July 2003, A Report Prepared under an Interagency Agreement by the Federal Research Division: Terrorist and Organized Crime Groups in the Tri-Border Area (TBA) of South America (Library of Congress, July 2003, now published in e-book form, and summarized here) alerted us to the threat of Arab and Iranian terrorist camps in South America where, since the early 1980s, Arab terrorists have been sending thousands of their cohorts to the almost inaccessible jungle and mountain region between Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay (known as the TBA, Tri-Border Area or La Triple Frontera).

Terror training camps and arsenals have been established, virtually out of the reach of local law enforcement or defense forces; and elements from Hezbollah, al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya, Islamic Jihad, al-Qaeda, Hamas, and the Lebanese drug mafia operate in partnership, freely and openly in conjunction with local organized crime and corrupt government officials.

The TBA has become a virtual haven for Islamic terror groups and a base for terror operations against South American targets. The large and growing Arab population of these states (in excess of 750,000 by local estimates) provides a community highly conducive to the establishment of Islamic terrorist sleeper cells throughout the area.

On October 6, 2003, U.S. News and World Report alerted the world to a rising new star in the galaxy of anti-American terror-supporting nations: Venezuela. Unlike the TBA where Iranian and Arab terror organizations operate despite efforts of the host nations, Middle Eastern terrorists in Venezuela have the full support and collaboration of Hugo Chavez.

Thousands of terrorists now occupy an unknown number of camps in (northwestern Venezuela), and move about with the support and collaboration of the Venezuelan government. President Hugo Chavez plays host to a growing horde of Middle Eastern terrorists from some of the USA’s most notorious enemies, including Libya, Saddam’s Iraq, Syria, Egypt and Pakistan…These terror groups are known to work in conjunction with the Colombian anti-government insurgency group, FARC (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia = Colombian Armed Revolutionary Forces). They offer FARC terrorists safe haven in mountainous and unpatrolled regions of Northeastern Venezuela.

Chavez by then was America’s newest nemesis, with close ties with Cuba’s Castro and alliances with some of America’s most notorious enemies in the Middle East.

In July 2004 a small local Arizona weekly newspaper, the Tombstone Tumbleweed, reported that two groups of Middle Eastern infiltrators were caught by the Border Patrol (originally here. Now no longer available on line, but reproduced here and here).  The Tumbleweed verified that a flood of Middle Eastern males were caught entering Arizona illegally from Mexico.  A Border Patrol officer reported that since October 1, 2003, agents in the Tucson sector apprehended 5,510 illegals from countries other than Mexico, Central or South America, including large groups of non-Spanish speaking males.  About two-thirds of these were of Middle Eastern origin and spoke Farsi or Arabic. A large number of these, and other groups of similar ethnicity, escaped capture and disappeared into the United States.

Legal entry into the USA is very easy for citizens of Saudi Arabia, and normal legal channels are open for citizens of most Arab countries. So why sneak in illegally via Mexico if you are in the USA on legitimate business? It seems more than likely that some are terrorists who, once they have eluded the Border Patrol, can connect with established contacts in the American Muslim community and become sleeper agents preparing for future terror attacks within this country.

In December 2004, US concerns about security south of the border were heightened when a Libyan-flagged cargo ship with an Egyptian captain and Sudanese first officer was seized in Honduras, carrying 900 tons of unreported explosives.  The ship was bound for Venezuela.

Concerns were ratcheted even higher when an al-Qaeda agent, captured in 2004, revealed an al-Qaeda plot to move nuclear materials into cooperative South American countries for future nuclear attacks on the USA.  In chilling corroboration of this report was the theft, just a month earlier, of a crop-duster in Mexico, which disappeared into the United States.  The suspected thief, Adnan ash-Shukrijumah, is one of the world’s most wanted terrorists and a high-ranking official in al-Qaeda.  He trained as a pilot in flight schools in Florida and Oklahoma, and shortly after 911 he trained as a nuclear technician, along with three other al-Qaeda sleeper agents, at McMaster University (Hamilton, Ontario, Canada).  While there he stole 180 pounds of nuclear waste from McMaster’s nuclear reactor.  Nuclear waste can be used to create nuclear “dirty bombs.”  Later he was singled out by bin Laden to serve as the field commander for the next terrorist attack on U.S. soil, a nuclear attack code-named “the American Hiroshima.“  Attempts by American law enforcement agencies to access information on him from McMaster University have been rebuffed on the basis of student confidentiality. The latest “FBI Most Wanted” reports (1/19/2012) indicate that he is still at large, with his crop-duster.

Spanish language analysts and journalists have been much more illuminating about the real threat south of our border than have been our own mainstream media. Luis A. Villamarin Pulido’s detailed study of al-Qaeda’s nuclear capabilities (Conexion Al-Qaeda: Del islamismo radical al terrorismo nuclear [Al-Qaeda connection: from radical Islam to nuclear terrorism], 2005, Madrid, not available on line) vividly recounts the development of al-Qaeda’s nuclear capacity over the past decade and explains the likelihood of a nuclear terror attack against the USA from South American Islamist terrorists.

The Miami Spanish-language newspaper _El Nuevo Herald_ informed us in September, 2006, that Venezuela is rapidly developing its own uranium mines, hiding the mine adits beneath fake bicycle manufacturing plants.  The author of the article points out that Venezuela, the fifth largest exporter of oil in the world, has no need for enriched uranium; but Iran does.

In a later Herald article we learn that Colombia’s anti-American terrorist organization, FARC, is selling uranium to Venezuela.  With no economic or technological need for uranium, why is Chavez both expanding his country’s search for local sources, and buying additional supplies from a neighboring terrorist organization? Perhaps to pay Iran for the missiles and subterranean missile bases, and terror agents that are now in Venezuela.

In addition, Venezuelan sources (Caracas, April 18, 2006) published an unproven account of a secret agreement in April of 2006 with Venezuela, Cuba and Iran for the transfer of Iranian ground-to-ground missiles into Venezuela, having the capacity for underwater launch from submarines.  To maintain secrecy, these missiles were to be shipped to Venezuela inside of oil tankers, hidden in a manner that would avoid the prying eyes of American satellites and spy planes.  Five years later, Spanish investigative journalism confirmed the account.

By the end of 2006, it was clear that Iran’s involvement with Venezuela had created a base for conventional and nuclear terrorism that could target the entire south of the USA, from San Diego to Sarasota, with Iranian Shihab missiles engineered to carry nuclear warheads and capable of a range of up to 3000 kilometers.  Fearing an American or Israeli attack on its nuclear facilities, Iran bought itself the critical leverage of nuclear missile bases in South America to be used as a powerful deterrent to any attack against Iran by the USA or its ally.

And this strategy seems to be working.  Chavez has threatened to suspend crude oil exports to the United States if it attacks Iran, and has offered to supply Iran with F-16 fighter jets. Security cooperation extends well beyond the nuclear.  Iran has reportedly entered into more than 150 energy, development, commercial, and financial agreements with Venezuela.  It has also invested billions of dollars in joint projects including the production of an unmanned military aircraft similar to the U.S. Predator, and exploration in remote areas for additional uranium deposits. It looks very much like Venezuela is helping Iran circumvent U.N. and U.S. sanctions meant to prevent Iran from achieving WMD capabilities.

What happened to the Monroe Doctrine?

Where is a national leader with the spunk and courage of JFK during the Cuban missile crisis of 1962?

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