Revival of the Lebanese Shiite Community and Hezbollah’s Beginnings (1982-1990)
March 6, 2019
Lebanon Report – March
April 3, 2019

Latin America: A Key Part of Hezbollah’s Global Network

Introduction

”The resistance support association must significantly energize its activities. It must provide an opportunity for jihad by money. The sanctions are a form of war… we should deal with them as if they are a war.” – stated Hezbollah’s Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah in a televised speech in March 2019. This comes at a time of financial pressure for Hezbollah amid tight US sanctions against the organization’s primary backer, Iran. While a significant portion of the organization’s funding comes from Tehran, it maintains a wide financial network spanning several continents, one of which is Latin America.[1] Amid an increasing need for a certain degree of self-sufficiency, Hezbollah is expected to divert focus and ramp up operations in such networks. Thus, this paper examines Hezbollah’s operations in Latin America, its motives, the reasons driving its success, the strategic importance of the region, and the expected developments resulting from rising US-Iranian tensions.

Brief Hezbollah Background

Primarily backed by Iran and Syria, Hezbollah is a Shia Muslim political party in Lebanon with an armed wing, far-reaching security apparatus, television and radio stations, and social services network.[2] Initially formed with the direct support of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and with the publicly stated goal of liberating Southern Lebanon from Israeli occupation,[3] Hezbollah came to be seen as a legitimate resistance group by both the Arab public and Lebanese government.[4] This situation began to change gradually following the 2000 Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon[5] as internal calls for disarmament increased and culminated with Hezbollah’s military support of the Assad regime in the Syrian war.[6] In spite of being a key component of Lebanese parliament and government, it is designated as a terrorist organization by the United States (US)[7] and United Kingdom while the European Union (EU) distinguishes between the party and its armed wing as it only designates the latter.[8]

Activity in the Tri-Border Area and Beyond

Increasingly over the past decade and a half, illicit networks have converged with armed factions looking to diversify their sources of income. While crime used to be classified as a domestic security problem and dealt with by local law enforcement, this is no longer the case as it increasingly overlaps with transnational armed factions. A notable exemplification of this phenomenon is Hezbollah[9], as heavy suspicions are present of it drawing support and building networks with local criminal organizations to facilitate its operations in the region.[10]

Building on a significant Lebanese diaspora in Latin America[11], part of whom are Shia coreligionists, Hezbollah became active in the relatively ungoverned Tri-Border Area (TBA) of Latin America, bordering Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay, starting from the mid-1980s, early 1990s.[12] Tens of thousands of Lebanese arrived to the TBA as the Lebanese Civil War intensified during the 1970s, and formed a tight-knit community.[13] Thus, it comes as no surprise that the organization’s financial structure in Latin America, resembles the one in Africa: a family/clan based structure.[14] Visits of Hezbollah’s Chief Logistics Officer at the time, Imad Mughniyyah, to the TBA are documented.[15] Activities reach beyond the TBA[16] to a variety of Latin American areas[17] such as: money laundering practices in the Iquique free trade zone in Northern Chile[18]; partnering and investing $50,000 in legitimate businesses in diaspora Shia enclaves in Sao Paulo in return for a share of the profit[19]; transfer of 10-30% of income of residents of the town of Maicao in Columbia[20]; false documents production in Isla Margarita and safe haven for operations in Iran-allied Venezuela[21]; allegedly forging relations with drug cartels in Mexico through money laundering, drugs trafficking, weapons smuggling,[22] and providing access to distant markets[23]; and the Colon free trade zone in Panama.[24]

Considered to be one of the “best organized and most business savvy terrorist organization”[25], Hezbollah has woven close relations with drugs, arms, counterfeiting, piracy, and money laundering networks.[26] It is estimated that Hezbollah receives between 120 and 200 million dollars a year from Iran, and since the eruption of the Syrian war, it is believed that the estimate more than tripled to reach around $700 million a year.[27] However, increased Western sanctions against Tehran have limited the Iranian money inflow and forced to party to diversify its revenues.[28] A 2004 study by the Naval War College estimated that Hezbollah’s revenues from illicit TBA activities amounted to $10 million annually while a 2009 Rand Corporation report estimated revenues at $20 million a year.[29] These figures are expected to have increased significantly[30], with a senior official from one of the TBA countries estimating a figure of around $600 million per year from the TBA alone.[31] Even though an accurate figure is hard to attain, operations in the TBA bring in a considerable amount of revenues into Hezbollah’s financial structure. Additional sources of funding include private donations, and revenues from businesses, charities, and religious organizations serving as fronts for the organization.[32]

Why the TBA as a Hub?

The TBA has similar conditions to those of Lebanon which allow Hezbollah to establish a strong foothold. Authorities in the TBA are weak and corrupt with limited control on the ground.[33] This resembles the central government in Beirut. Also similar to the Lebanon-Syria border, borders in the TBA are very porous[34] and poorly controlled which enables the irregular flow of goods, people, and money. Furthermore, relations with criminal networks resemble its cohabitation policy, if not support, of drug trading clans in the Bekaa Valley.[35] Despite the absence of shared grievances or ideological beliefs between Hezbollah and these networks, an overlap of specific financial interests provides incentive for some form of alliance.[36]
These factors would not have allowed Hezbollah to prosper in the area if it wasn’t for the significant Lebanese community living there, many of whom are supporters and sympathizers. Modeling on its social services network in Lebanon, Hezbollah established a strong social infrastructure with the Shia community through religious, educational, and social institutions. Mosques, schools, and scouts are key components of its ideological propagation, especially to the youth.[37] Examples of these centers are the Lebanese-Brazilian School and the Lebanese-Brazilian Scout Group which carry national rather than religious names except the Imam Khomeini religious center. The aim of such naming is also a duplicate of its strategy in Lebanon: reframing Lebanese and Shia Muslim identity to fit the “resistance” narrative. For example, the May 25th anniversary of Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon, Lebanese Independence Day, International Quds day, and Ashoura commemorations are all held in the TBA by these centers just like Lebanon. The impact of this propagation is clear as some scout leaders in the TBA became agents and even fought with Hezbollah in Syria. The overall aim of this extensive network is for Hezbollah to be embedded within the community as it provides protection, sustainability, and high chances of revival in case of arrests of certain individuals.[38]

Limited Success for Security Agencies in Spite of High Profile Arrests

Since Hezbollah is not classified as a terrorist organization in Latin America, it is not a crime to transfer funds to the organization. The only time that law enforcement agencies in the region can act is when the sources of such funds are illicit activities; otherwise, it is completely legal for individuals and front businesses to send shares of their profits.[39] This is coupled with the reliance of Hezbollah on the “Hawala” money transfer system. It is an informal money transfer system which connects individuals from the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia. Largely based on honor and verbal agreements, such system bypasses banks and financial institutions thus completing an untraceable and anonymous transaction.[40]

Targeted efforts to combat these illicit operations are pursued by the United Nations, Organization of American States, Inter-American Committee against Terrorism, Mercosur Working Group on Terrorism, and the countries in question.[41] Paraguay has acknowledged Hezbollah’s activities, established specialized units to monitor suspects, and cooperated with Brazil and Argentina on the issue.[42] This led to several high-profile arrests. For instance, Ali Khalil Merhi, a well-known Lebanese TBA businessman, was arrested for selling multi-million dollar worth of pirated software and sending parts of the profits to Hezbollah.[43]

Another example is the arrest of the leading Hezbollah fundraiser in the TBA at the time, Assad Ahmad Barakat, in Brazil in 2002. Based in Paraguay, Barakat oversaw, alongside trusted contacts and family members, a wide network of both legal and illegal financial projects in the TBA such as trafficking of weapons, drugs, money laundering, film piracy, document forgery, and counterfeiting.[44] This also included extortion of money from sympathetic shop owners in the TBA[45]; some were even threatened of having their family members in Lebanon placed on a blacklist if they didn’t pay their quota. Close contacts included Sobhi Mahmoud Fayad, believed to be a weapons expert and Hezbollah’s military representative in the TBA. Fayad’s direct ties to Hezbollah were through his brother, a senior Hezbollah leader in Lebanon. This again highlights the clan-based connections that characterize the network.[46] Seized documents pointed to monthly transfers of approximately $250,000 and included, though with questionable authenticity, a letter of appreciation from Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah.[47]

A third example is the 2011 arrest of Hezbollah financier Moussa Ali Hamdan, dual Lebanese-US citizen, followed by an indictment, along with other defendants, of selling and trafficking stolen and counterfeit goods.[48] In spite of these relative successes, Paraguayan authorities admit how minimal their intelligence, resources, and law enforcement capabilities are in countering such threats.[49] In addition, these arrests and finances are considered to be just the tip of the iceberg of the money being generated in the region.[50] Further examples include the 2005 arrest of Rady Zaiter, head of an international cocaine ring in Ecuador, 2001 arrest of Mohammed Ali Farhad, head of a $650 million cigarette smuggling and money laundering operation between Ipiales, Colombia, and Ecuador, several arrests in Mexico relating to smuggling and financing operations[51], and a drug-trafficking and money laundering ring in the Carribean island of Curacao reportedly financing Hezbollah through the Hawala system.[52]

Operation Titan

Operation Titan, a 2008 joint mission between US and Colombian investigators, broke up an international money laundering and cocaine smuggling ring[53] and led to the arrest of more than 130 suspects. Allegedly, the ring transferred a portion of its profits, around 12%[54], to Hezbollah, through Lebanese kingpin Chekry Harb who was arrested in Bogota. Harb’s organization laundered hundreds of millions of dollars every year for various criminal and militant organizations. He acted as the hub of an alliance between Middle Eastern militants and American cocaine traffickers as evidenced by his extensive travel to Egypt, Lebanon, and Syria, as well as phone conversations with Hezbollah figures. This operation showcased Hezbollah’s (direct or indirect) involvement in the drug trade, and the direct financial support the party receives from supporters abroad.[55] Another high-profile figure is Ayman Joumaa, dual Lebanese-Colombian citizen, who is allegedly at the center of large scale cocaine smuggling and distribution as well as money laundering. Based on US Justice Department and Drug Enforcement Administration estimates, Joumaa smuggled about 85,000 kgs of cocaine to the US and laundered more than $850 million in drug money. Similar to Hareb, shares of the profit are transferred to Hezbollah as well.[56]

Threat or Conspiracy?

While Hezbollah categorically denies being involved in any illegal activities and links all accusations to “Zionist imperialist attempts to slander the party”, the record of arrests and police investigations are not in its favor.[57] It must be pointed out that it is believed the majority of illicit activities are not directly managed by Hezbollah but rather by sympathizers and supporters who donate money to the organization. Those accused of drug trafficking and money laundering for example have some degree of cooperation with the organization rather than being members or operatives.[58]
Furthermore, conflicting reports from US government agencies about the extent of Hezbollah’s activities in Latin America raise questions of credibility. For instance, in 2015, the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), in cooperation with the US Treasury Department and European authorities, dismantled a Hezbollah-run cocaine trafficking operation in Colombia. Former DEA Chief of Operations Michael Braun even stated that Hezbollah has international connections that ISIS and Al Qaeda can only dream of, with a direct reference to the relations Hezbollah has with criminal groups in Latin America, and specifically Colombia.[59] These statements however were more or less discredited by the Bureau of Counterterrorism and Countering Violent Extremism in the US Department of State (DOS) which characterizes Hezbollah as a mild concern in Colombia and didn’t even mention the organization in its 2015 Country Report on Terrorism. Rather, its focus was mostly on the TBA and the possible threat to the financial system of Latin America.[60] The 2017 version of the DOS report again highlighted the fundraising activities in the region, hinted towards possible operational activities, and cast doubt over established bases in Mexico or relations with Mexican drug cartels.[61]
Inconsistencies between the DEA and DOS about Hezbollah’s role in the region leads one to question the motives behind exaggerating or downsizing such threats, perhaps relating to security interventions, funding, negotiations, or strategic interests.[62] Nonetheless, a key takeaway remains that a degree of cautiousness must be adopted when assuming the intensity of Hezbollah’s operations, especially in Colombia and Latin America as a whole.[63]

Hezbollah’s Counter-Intelligence Network

Other than the previously stated obstacles facing law enforcement agencies in the TBA, arguably one of the most important assets for Hezbollah is its counter-intelligence capabilities. Influenced by the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, Hezbollah has been able to remain on equal footing with intelligence agencies. One event showcasing such capabilities is Hezbollah’s prior knowledge of a highly secret FBI operation aiming to surveil the organization’s activities in the TBA.[64] A highly influential figure within Hezbollah’s counter-intelligence operations unit in Latin America is Bilal Mohsen Wehbe. Wehbe is believed to the chief representative of Hezbollah in Latin America, relays orders from Hezbollah’s leadership in Lebanon to operatives, and operates from Brazil with minimal interference from national authorities.[65] Trained in Iran, one of Wehbe’s key efforts have been monitoring government attempts of exposing Hezbollah’s activities.[66]

Where Iran Goes, Hezbollah Follows?

“It is said that wherever Iran goes, Hezbollah is not far behind” stated Roger Noriega, former US Ambassador the Organization of American States.[67] As Iran strengthened its ties to Venezuela, Cuba, Chile, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Nicaragua[68] through investments, aid, loans, development projects, and multi-sector cooperation agreements[69], Hezbollah gained entry and increased its operations there.[70] It is worth noting that many of these deals were not fulfilled, with some serving as fronts for money laundering and drug trafficking.[71] Latin American countries can be divided into two categories in their relations with Iran. On one hand, there are those with longstanding and stable alliances with Iran: Venezuela is a cofounder of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in the 1960s and arguably the hub of Iranian involvement in the region, Cuba shares some form of ideological relationship,[72] and Bolivia is also a close ally under President Evo Morales because of the shared stance against US hegemony.[73] On the other hand, relations with remaining countries such as Uruguay, Paraguay, Argentina, and Brazil fluctuate depending on the party in power. Nevertheless, Iran and Hezbollah’s activity in Latin America intensified in 2009 and 2010 and succeeded in establishing a foothold. This extends beyond the economic, political, social, and cultural levels to reach illicit and subversive activities.[74]

Finance Hub or More?

Hezbollah’s strategic interest from its involvement in Latin America has been and continues to be a primarily financial, rather than an operational, one. It serves as one part of Hezbollah’s global network and complements other income sources spearheaded by diaspora communities in Asia and Africa.[75] Supporters in the region continue to provide key financial support through deep networks of social support, arms and drugs trafficking, counterfeiting, piracy, and money laundering.[76] Finances are not the only interest for Hezbollah. The growing support networks and connections are being used for recruitment purposes among the Lebanese diaspora and other Muslim populations.[77] A key figure in the recruitment network is Iranian Hojjat al-Eslam Mohsen Rabbani, former cultural attaché at the Iranian Embassy in Buenos Aires. In spite of having an Interpol red notice against him, over his alleged involvement in the 1994 AMIA attacks, Rabbani continues to travel in and out of Latin America using fake documents with the assistance of Venezuela.[78] The recruitment process mostly takes place in Islamic centers and mosques where Hezbollah operatives wield influence, coupled with an online and media rhetoric appealing to the populations through a mixture of leftist revolutionary ideas and Shia Islamist beliefs.[79]

During the 1990s, one of Hezbollah’s reportedly close affiliates, Islamic Jihad Organization (IJO), claimed responsibility[80] for the 1992 attack on the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires. This was followed by another attack in 1994 on the AMIA Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires as well[81]. The degree of control that Hezbollah’s leadership has over the IJO is undetermined as some attribute its direct responsiveness to Iran[82], but reports also point to its possible merger with Hezbollah by morphing into its External Security Organization.[83] After being initially marred by controversy and corruption, the investigation was transferred to Argentina’s Attorney General at the time, Dr. Alberto Nisman, who found links between Hezbollah operatives in the TBA, Imad Mughniyyah the alleged leader of the 1994 attack, and high ranking Iranian officials.[84] Allegedly, Iran took care of the logistics while Hezbollah operatives in the TBA planned the details of the attack.[85] Iran and Hezbollah have both denied the accusations[86], and several US officials, including the US Ambassador to Argentina at the time of the bombing, have cast doubts over Iranian involvement.[87]  Nisman also launched an investigation into Argentinean President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and Foreign Minister Hector Timerman for their possible role in covering up Hezbollah and Iran’s role in the 1994 AMIA bombing in return for a political deal between both governments. One day prior to presenting his case to the Argentinean parliament in 2015, Nisman was found dead.[88] The timing of the attacks is worth examining as the 1992 attack occurred one month after the Israeli assassination of Hezbollah leader Abbas al-Mussawi and the 1994 attack occurred in the same year as the Israeli kidnapping of Mustafa Diraini, head of security of the Amal movement.[89] Some even link the 1992 attack to Argentina’s suspension of nuclear cooperation with Iran.[90]

Despite of the occurrence of the attacks more than two decades ago, news about possible cells continue to make the headlines. Unconfirmed reports state that, in 2010, Mexico uncovered a Hezbollah plot, led by Jameel Nasr, to establish a network in Latin America. The network reportedly aimed at pursuing Israeli and Western targets and relied on Mexican nationals who have familial ties to Lebanon.[91] This cannot be separated from previously stated reports of developing relations between Hezbollah and Mexican drug cartels.[92] A second plot was uncovered in 2014 by Peruvian counterterrorism police that arrested Mohammed Amadar, a reported Hezbollah operative. Amadar had explosive-making substances in his house, and his targets included areas associated with Jews and Israelis.[93] A third similar report alleges that Hezbollah established cells in Cuba for plotting attacks on Jewish targets in the West.[94] A fourth plot was uncovered by Bolivian security forces who found Hezbollah-linked materials used for manufacturing explosives in 2017.[95] A fifth plot involving reconnaissance missions of the US and Israeli embassies in Panama was uncovered following the 2017 arrest of Samer el-Debek.[96] Other reports also indicate that Hezbollah conducted training for Venezuelans both in Venezuela and South Lebanon in preparation for possible attacks against the US in case of a confrontation. In relation to these accusations, in 2008, the US Treasury Department froze the assets of Ghazi Nasr al-Din, a Venezuelan diplomat of Lebanese origin who facilitated movement and funding operations of Hezbollah. Nasr al-Din was allegedly cooperating with the Venezuelan Minister of Interior, Tayek al-Ayssami, to recruit Venezuelans of Arab origins into these training camps.[97]

Based on the above reports and arrests, the presence and attempted formation of Hezbollah operational cells in Latin America is evident. Nevertheless, based on conclusions of the US DOS in 2013, there are no active operational cells in the Western hemisphere but rather financial and ideological networks of support.[98] However, history has shown that the strong infrastructure that Hezbollah has in Latin America may be used, whether directly or through an affiliate, for military purposes.[99] Looking at the 1994 AMIA attack, if Hezbollah was responsible, it did not necessarily have sleeper cells ready to launch an attack. Instead, the unit in charge of executing the attack arrives shortly before implementation and merely relies on the logistical and operational network already in place for support.[100] As a result, the use of this support network to facilitate military operations suitable for Hezbollah or Iran’s interests is possible[101]; however, despite much speculation in the media and among some experts, the probability remains low as Hezbollah is aware of the consequences of a major attack on US interests.[102] The possibility of such attacks would only rise in the unlikely event of a direct confrontation between the US and Iran during which chances of Hezbollah involvement are considerable.[103]

Moving Forward

As part of the Obama administration’s efforts to advance nuclear negotiations with Iran, a Politico investigation discovered that Obama halted a key DEA operation targeting Hezbollah’s drug trafficking network into the US and Europe. This laissez-faire policy began to change under the Trump administration. “Hezbollah Financing and Narcoterrorism Team” and a “Transnational Organized Crime Task Force” have been established to counter Hezbollah’s operations. These go along with Trump signing into law the “Hezbollah International Prevention Amendments Act” of 2018.[104] Rooted in the 2015 “Hezbollah International Financial Prevention Act” which targeted financial institutions facilitating transactions on behalf of or anyone related to Hezbollah,[105] the amendments introduced new sanctions against the organization’s financial networks, known backers, and related associations such as the Islamic Resistance Support Association, Foreign Relations Department, and TV station Al Manar. In spite of this, doubts were cast by experts such as Joseph Bahout from Carnegie Endowment and Hanin Ghaddar from the Washington Institute about the degree of impact on Hezbollah’s finances because of the advanced capabilities of navigating through such sanctions.[106]

Hezbollah’s financial activities in the TBA were also highlighted by Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorist Financing, Marshall Billingslea. This renewed focus on Hezbollah’s operations abroad can be linked to the organization’s growing revenues from Latin America, the funneling of the money through the US financial system,[107] and high willingness among the tri-border countries, Paraguay, Brazil, and Argentina, to combat transnational crime. The three countries’ change in stance is directly related to the election of new Presidents willing to take action,[108] and the results have begun to show.

In May 2018, Nader Farhat, a Lebanese businessmen who owns a money-exchange service and accused of being a major money launderer for drug and illicit organizations, was arrested in Paraguay in a joint operation between Paraguayan authorities and the DEA.[109] In spite of pressure from the Lebanese Embassy on Paraguayan officials to reject the extradition request to the US, Farhat is expected to be extradited this month, March 2019. Because of the difficulty in tracking the circulation of money eventually reaching the organization in Lebanon, the US is increasing its use of money laundering laws to crack down on Hezbollah’s financial network in the TBA and Latin America. The size of the network run by Farhat reveals the extent of Hezbollah’s financial operations in the region while the reported pressure by the Lebanese embassy to prevent extradition verifies to a large extent his connection to Hezbollah. Some of Farhat’s customers are Mahmoud Ali Barakat, charged with money laundering, drug trafficking, wire fraud, and unlicensed money transmission, Enayatullah and Abdulrahman Khwaja charged with money laundering, and Ali Nasr el-Din Kassir who pled guilty in November 2018 for passport fraud and conspiring to commit money laundering.[110] Even though Paraguay’s new President is adopting a change in policy towards crime networks in the TBA, corruption within the police and judiciary, along with senior officials benefiting from these networks, will be a challenge.[111]
In July 2018, Argentina froze the assets of 14 Lebanese nationals residing in the TBA with alleged links to money laundering through Argentinian casinos and transferring funds to Hezbollah. A terrorist financing national risk assessment is also being developed.[112] Also in Brazil, Assad Ahmad Barakat was arrested in September 2018 (also arrested in 2002 for tax evasion as stated in a previous paragraph).[113]

Amid rising pressure from the US and the tri-border countries, Hezbollah might opt to divert some of its focus towards what has been dubbed as TBA 2.0, the region between Chile (Arica and Iquique), Bolivia (El Alto to La Paz), and Peru (Tacna and Pun). As Hezbollah already has a certain level of operations in these areas, they could become a new hub in Latin America. The social infrastructure among Muslim populations in Chile and access to sea ports, anti-Americanism shared with the Bolivian leadership, and poverty and crime in Peru are all suitable conditions. Whether a replication of the original TBA is practically viable or is being considered as an alternative among Hezbollah’s leadership remains to be seen.[114]

As demonstrated by the latest US push against Hezbollah-linked businessmen in Latin America, US sanctions against Iran, and the resulting financial crisis Hezbollah is going through which prompted Hezbollah’s Secretary General to go as far as asking for donations from its support base[115], the financial networks established in Latin America are only growing in importance as the organization begins resorting more and more to self-sufficiency.[116] Because Hezbollah is passing through the most financially sensitive moment in its history, it will avoid any actions which might increase US or Israeli pressure against it.[117] As a result, it appears that current priorities for Hezbollah lie in avoiding any form of escalation, staying afloat during the ongoing crisis, maintaining or least limiting damage to its support base among the Lebanese Shia constituency, and preserving its worldwide financial network to bankroll its activities in various Middle Eastern countries such as Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, and Iraq.

[1] Haines-Young, J. (2019, March 9) Hezbollah Leader Calls for Donations as Group Feels the Pinch. Retrieved from The National: https://www.thenational.ae/world/mena/hezbollah-leader-calls-for-donations-as-group-feels-the-pinch-1.834807

[2] Costanzam W. (2012) Hizballah and Its Mission in Latin America. Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, 35(3), p.193; Caudill, S. (2008) Hizballah Rising Iran’s Proxy Warriors. Joint Force Quarterly, 49, pp. 128-129; Byman, D. (2016, October 17) Is Hezbollah Less Dangerous to the United States. Retrieved from Lawfare: https://www.lawfareblog.com/hezbollah-less-dangerous-united-states

[3] Jiang, C. (2015) Hezbollah in the Tri-Border Region. Council on Hemispheric Affairs, 35(4), p. 7; Costanzam W. (2012) Hizballah and Its Mission in Latin America. Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, 35(3), p.193; Caudill, S. (2008) Hizballah Rising Iran’s Proxy Warriors. Joint Force Quarterly, 49, pp. 128-129

[4] Costanzam W. (2012) Hizballah and Its Mission in Latin America. Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, 35(3), p.193; Caudill, S. (2008) Hizballah Rising Iran’s Proxy Warriors. Joint Force Quarterly, 49, pp. 128-129; Byman, D. (2016, October 17) Is Hezbollah Less Dangerous to the United States. Retrieved from Lawfare: https://www.lawfareblog.com/hezbollah-less-dangerous-united-states

[5] Costanzam W. (2012) Hizballah and Its Mission in Latin America. Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, 35(3), p.193; Caudill, S. (2008) Hizballah Rising Iran’s Proxy Warriors. Joint Force Quarterly, 49, pp. 128-129; Byman, D. (2016, October 17) Is Hezbollah Less Dangerous to the United States. Retrieved from Lawfare: https://www.lawfareblog.com/hezbollah-less-dangerous-united-states

[6] Astih, P. (2019, January 12) Hezbollah’s Gains from Syria War Equal Its Losses. Retrieved from Asharq al-Awsat: https://aawsat.com/english/home/article/1542841/exclusive-hezbollah’s-gains-syria-war-equal-its-losses; Byman, D. (2016, October 17) Is Hezbollah Less Dangerous to the United States. Retrieved from Lawfare: https://www.lawfareblog.com/hezbollah-less-dangerous-united-states

[7] Realuyo, C. (2014). The Terror-Crime Nexus: Hezbollah’s Global Facilitators. Institute for National Strategic Security, National Defense University, 5(1), p. 118

[8] Middle East Monitor (2019, March 8) Hezbollah Calls on Supporters to Donate as Sanctions Pressure Bites. Retrieved from Middle East Monitor: https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20190308-hezbollah-calls-on-supporters-to-donate-as-sanctions-pressure-bites/

[9] Realuyo, C. (2014). The Terror-Crime Nexus: Hezbollah’s Global Facilitators. Institute for National Strategic Security, National Defense University, 5(1), p. 117; Newsweek Staff (2001, November 18) There Are No Terrorists Here. Retrieved from Newsweek: https://www.newsweek.com/there-are-no-terrorists-here-149631

[10]Gonzalez-Perez, M. (2006). Guerrilleras in Latin America: Domestic and International Roles. Journal of Peace Research, 43(3), p. 324; Karmon, E. (2010) Iran Challenges the United States in its Backyard, in Latin America. American Foreign Policy Interests, 32(5), p. 287

[11] Jiang, C. (2015) Hezbollah in the Tri-Border Region. Council on Hemispheric Affairs, 35(4), p. 7

[12] Realuyo, C. (2014). The Terror-Crime Nexus: Hezbollah’s Global Facilitators. Institute for National Strategic Security, National Defense University, 5(1), p. 120; Costanzam W. (2012) Hizballah and Its Mission in Latin America. Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, 35(3), p. 194; Gonzalez-Perez, M. (2006). Guerrilleras in Latin America: Domestic and International Roles. Journal of Peace Research, 43(3), p. 324; Caudill, S. (2008) Hizballah Rising Iran’s Proxy Warriors. Joint Force Quarterly, 49, p. 131; Brice, A. (2013, June 4) Iran, Hezbollah Mine Latin America for Revenue, Recruits, Analysts Say. Retrieved from CNN: https://edition.cnn.com/2013/06/03/world/americas/iran-latin-america/index.html

[13] Newsweek Staff (2001, November 18) There Are No Terrorists Here. Retrieved from Newsweek: https://www.newsweek.com/there-are-no-terrorists-here-149631; Levitt, M. (2015) Iranian and Hezbollah Operations in South America Then and Now. PRISM, 5(4), p. 120

[14] Costanzam W. (2012) Hizballah and Its Mission in Latin America. Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, 35(3), p. 195

[15] Farah, D. (2011) Iran in Latin America: Threat or ‘Axis of Annoyance’. Wilson Center Report on the Americas, 23, p. 19

[16] Realuyo, C. (2014). The Terror-Crime Nexus: Hezbollah’s Global Facilitators. Institute for National Strategic Security, National Defense University, 5(1), p. 121; Karmon, E. (2010) Iran Challenges the United States in its Backyard, in Latin America. American Foreign Policy Interests, 32(5), p. 287

[17] Newsweek Staff (2001, November 18) There Are No Terrorists Here. Retrieved from Newsweek: https://www.newsweek.com/there-are-no-terrorists-here-149631; Karmon, E. (2010) Iran Challenges the United States in its Backyard, in Latin America. American Foreign Policy Interests, 32(5), p. 287

[18] Costanzam W. (2012) Hizballah and Its Mission in Latin America. Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, 35(3), pp. 198-199

[19] Costanzam W. (2012) Hizballah and Its Mission in Latin America. Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, 35(3), p. 199

[20] Pickell, S. (2010) Hezbollah and Hugo Chavez: Radical Islam’s Western Foothold. ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global, p. 44

[21] Costanzam W. (2012) Hizballah and Its Mission in Latin America. Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, 35(3), pp. 199-200; Pickell, S. (2010) Hezbollah and Hugo Chavez: Radical Islam’s Western Foothold. ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global, p. 45; Noriega, R. (2011) The Mounting Hezbollah Threat in Latin America. American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, 3, pp. 2-3

[22] Ruehl, J. (2017, September 1) Why is Hezbollah Involved in Mexico’s Drug War. Retrieved from Medium: https://medium.com/@johnruehl/why-is-hezbollah-involved-in-mexicos-drug-war-ee64e6c902b9

[23] Meinderts, H. (2018, May 5) Hezbollah’s Footprints in Latin America How the Wars on Drugs and Terror Coincide. Retrieved from Checks and Balances University of Groningen: http://checksbalances.clio.nl/2018/05/hezbollahs-footprints-in-latin-america-how-the-wars-on-drugs-and-terror-coincide/

[24] Costanzam W. (2012) Hizballah and Its Mission in Latin America. Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, 35(3), p. 195

[25] Realuyo, C. (2014). The Terror-Crime Nexus: Hezbollah’s Global Facilitators. Institute for National Strategic Security, National Defense University, 5(1), p. 119; Caudill, S. (2008) Hizballah Rising Iran’s Proxy Warriors. Joint Force Quarterly, 49, p. 128

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Jimmy Matar
Jimmy Matar
Jimmy Matar is a researcher about Middle Eastern politics, with a special interest in identities. He holds a BA in International Affairs and Diplomacy from Notre Dame University in Lebanon and an MA in International Relations from Leiden University in the Netherlands. He is currently the Research and Administrative Officer at the Middle East Institute for Research and Strategic Studies. Alongside his work in research, he was and continues to be involved in various civil society organizations focusing on human rights.