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SouthAmericaTerrorist

 

Expose’ of Hezbollah, Iran, Latin America and Mexico

ABSTRACT
The greatest terrorism threat to America does not come specifically from the Middle East. The twisted, distorted, convoluted relationship of drugs, weapons, fraudulent documents, money laundering and terrorist infiltration from our southern border is currently the greatest threat to the American public.

Iran and Syria have been the most prominent financial supporters of Hezbollah. As Iran’s economy suffered from economic sanctions relative to its nuclear weapons program and Syria experiences its own internal struggles, Hezbollah has been forced to gain funding through increased participation in drug and weapons smuggling, document fraud and money laundering.

A 2011 DEA investigation found that Hezbollah raises up to $200 million a month from cocaine sales from operations in Lebanon, West Africa, Panama and Latin America, but most surprisingly comes from its operations in the Tri-Border Area (TBA) of Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina, and much of Hezbollah’s smuggling takes place on unregulated flights between Iran and Venezuela.

A very recent Treasury Department investigation found that the Lebanese Canadian Bank was directly involved in hiding financing acquired from Hezbollah’s illegal drug smuggling from South America to Europe, the Middle East and West Africa, and involved money laundering through the purchase of used cars in the United States. Cigarette smuggling – reaching even into the U.S. southeast and southwest – also seems to be prominent a venture.

In the U.S., law enforcement officials in the southwest report a rise among imprisoned gang members with Farsi tattoos expressing loyalty to Hezbollah.

A recent assassination attempt on a Saudi Arabian ambassador in the U.S. originated from Mexico – not the Middle East – and very recently, Hezbollah operatives took pictures of FBI agents on a covert mission in South America, then maliciously faxed the pictures to an FBI field office in New York.

Hezbollah and other terrorist organizations have gained an increasing foothold in the TBA at the same time that business relationships between Iran and Venezuela became stronger. Mexican cartels have begun to use car bombs in their attacks – a tactic taught to them by Hezbollah operatives – at the same time Hezbollah operatives are known to be using Mexican cartel smuggling routes into the U.S. Gone is the distinction between drug activity and terrorism and the inherent violence of drug activity is spilling across our southern border at the same time terrorist activity in the U.S. is traceable not only to the Middle East, but to Latin America.

 

TRI-BORDER AREA DEMOGRAPHICS

Tri-Border Area

The Tri-Border Area (TBA) refers to that area where the Parana and Iguanzu rivers meet to form the borders of Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina, and is home to three important cities in Latin America. Ciudad del Este, Paraguay has a population of about 250,000. Its largest ethnic group is Chinese, with many said to be illegal immigrants. Still, the population is very diverse, also including Taiwanese, Korean, Syrian and Palestinian immigrants, and has seen an increase in the number of Shi’a immigrants from Lebanon.
Because of lax governmental controls, much of the economy in Ciudad del Este is said to be “informal” (evading taxes and license) with the Chinese community dealing primarily in the trade of electronics and the Arab community dealing in textiles, arms and information technology. Of the total Arab population in Ciudad del Este, an estimated 90 percent are said to be of Lebanese origin. Cuidad del Este is the busiest city in the TBA, serving as the region’s economic center, and is said to rank third worldwide in cash transactions, averaging some $12 billion annually.

The neighboring city of Foz do Iguacu, Brazil has a population of about 300,000. This city has a large Arab population, the majority of which are of Palestinian and Lebanese descent. The cities of Ciudad del Este and Foz do Iguacu are separated by the Friendship International Bridge, which carries about 20,000 vehicles and 30,000-40,000 people per day, allowing that the economies of these two cities are intricately linked.
In Ciudad del Este and Fuz do Iguacu, “Arabic is heard as much as, or perhaps more than, Spanish.”

The third city of Puerto Iguazu, Argentina – which has a population of only about 30,000 – relies heavily on tourism. Unlike Ciudad del Este and Foz do Iguacu, the population of Puerto Iguazu is fairly homogenous, composed primarily of ethnic Argentineans. As late as 2007, U.S. trade with the Latin America represented about 29 percent of our total trade, about double of that with the European Union (15 percent) and triple that with China.

IRAN IN SOUTH AMERICA

Iran has increased its economic ties – including bank mergers – with several countries in Latin America. Some fear these financial mergers are designed to circumvent sanctions imposed by the U.S. in order to launder drug money and finance terrorist activities.

Iran has purchased control of at least one gold mine in Bolivia that is “reported to produce uranium” (Bailey, 2011; Brookes, 2001) and has long been providing “diplomatic training” to government employees from Venezuela, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Ecuador and El Salvador for some time. The training is said to actually involve courses on “intelligence, counterintelligence and crowd control.”

In March 2007, Iran and Venezuela began international flights connecting Tehran (Iran), Damascus (Syria) and Caracas (Venezuela). Upon arrival in Venezuela, passengers from Iran are not subject to immigration and customs inspections. In addition, Bolivia has also reportedly lifted flight restrictions on passengers arriving from Iran.

In 2008, a shipment of 22 containers traveling from Iran to Venezuela was intercepted by Turkish authorities. Though the containers were marked “tractor parts,” they actually contained bomb making materials.

 

HEZBOLLAH AND TBA

Hezbollah’s most infamous attacks include the 1983 bombing of the Marine Barracks and U.S. embassy in Lebanon; kidnapping U.S. citizens in Lebanon to trade during the Iran-Contra affair; the bombing of the Israeli Embassy in Argentina 1992 and the Argentina Jewish Center in 1994; and the bombing of the Khobar housing complex in Saudi Arabia in 1996

Surprising to many, the first Islamist attack in the Americas actually occurred in Argentina in 1992 – before even the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993 – when Hezbollah operatives bombed the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires, killing 30 people.

Two years later they were responsible for bombing the Argentine-Israeli Mutual Association (AMIA), which killed 85. It was later reported that Iran offered (then) Argentina President Carlos Menem a bribe of $10 million to keep quiet Iran’s involvement. In 2013, former President Menem was sentenced to seven years in prison for illegally smuggling weapons to Ecuador and Croatia.  It is known that Iranian support for Hezbollah activities in the TBA goes back to the 1990s. Although, not much information is known about Hezbollah activities in the TBA because, as Miryekta (2010) notes, there are few actual experts on Hezbollah, and fewer still on Hezbollah activities in Latin America.

It is no secret that the modus operandi of Hezbollah is to launch, “young, bright operatives into many foreign countries with no money and no assistance. They are expected to establish a network as well as funds to ship back to Lebanon, conduct surveillance, and map out and practice operations which can be launched shortly after the decision is made to do so.”

In the lawless area of the TBA, Hezbollah members are free to generate revenue and recruit new members with little fear of reprisal. Reports are that Hezbollah operatives in the TBA are said to raise about $10,000,000 a year and the wearing of Hezbollah T-shirts is very common among young men in the TBA. It has been widely reported that both Osama bin Laden and Khalid Sheikh Mohammad spent some 20 days in the TBA in 1995. In 1996, Brazilian police found Marwan al Safadi – an explosives expert accused of participating in the first U.S. World Trade Center attack in 1993 – living in the TBA. In 1999, a raid by authorities in the TBA uncovered a Hezbollah/Al Qaeda plan coordinated by Osama bin Laden and Hezbollah leader Imad Mounniagh to stage simultaneous attacks on Jewish targets in Buenos Aires, Cuidad del Este and Ottawa.
In 2000, authorities uncovered a plot to attack U.S. and Israeli embassies in Ascuncion, the capital of Paraguay. The plan involved over two dozen other terrorists who were to carry out diversionary attacks elsewhere in the city.
On September 12, 2001, a Paraguayan SWAT team raided Assad Ahmad Barakat’s closet-sized shop and confiscated more than 60 hours of videotapes and CD-ROMs which showed military marches and attacks with explosives in various parts of the world, as well as professional training courses for suicide bombers. In 2013, Brazilian police arrested his brother – who the U.S. had listed as a Hezbollah operative – under suspicion of operating fraudulent clothing schemes.

Moussa Ali Hamdan – a naturalized U.S. citizen from Lebanon who fled the U.S. in 2005 – was apprehended in Ciudad del Este for attempting to purchase 1200 machine guns for Hezbollah.

In 2006, authorities discovered two explosives devices in Caracas. Claiming responsibility for the devices – and threatening more attacks – was a group called the “Venezuela Hezbollah” – whose members are primarily from the Native American “Wayuu tribe” in northern Colombia and western Venezuela. The tribal members had just recently converted to Islam in the last few years. A stunning example of the intelligence and surveillance capabilities of Hezbollah – and why they are so dangerous – was displayed very recently. Just minutes after FBI agents arrived by plane in the TBA on a covert mission, Hezbollah operatives faxed photos of the agents departing their plane to the FBI Field Office in New York.

 

COLOMBIA, VENEZUELA AND FARC

Among the closest allies the U.S. has in Latin America is the nation of Colombia. Unfortunately, Colombia is surrounded by not-so-friendly states – specifically Venezuela to its east and Ecuador to its south.

By the 1990s – as a result of the guerilla operations of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia, or FARC) – Colombia degenerated into lawlessness, terrorism and violence because of cocaine and insurgency.

FARC has long been suspected of having support from Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez and close working relationships with Hezbollah drug operations in the TBA.

In the mid-2000s, Venezuela purchased 100,000 AK-47 assault rifles from Russia and agreed to begin producing AK-47s in Venezuela.
In March 2008, the Colombian military attacked a FARC jungle camp near the Ecuadorian border, killing several FARC operatives including the group’s second in command, Luis Edgar Devia Silva (a.k.a. Paul Reyes). As a result of the operation, the military seized computer hardware belonging to Reyes which authorities say proved that Venezuelan President Hugo Chaves was directly supporting FARC.

It is important to note that once Chavez’s relationship with FARC was exposed, Chavez himself issued a statement denouncing FARC presence in Latin America, but many think this was only a guise.

As a result of Iran’s strategic financial and other dealings with Venezuela, several groups have prospered in the area, including FARC, the Zetas (professional assassins in the Mexican cartels), the very prominent criminal gangs of Central America, a number of other violent Latin American criminal gangs, as well as the infiltration and partnerships of Hezbollah in Latin America, and even the Chechens working with Hezbollah in the TBA.

As source put it, “terrorist attacks are much greater threats to hemispheric security than are conflicts between (nations)… terrorism is alive and well in the Americas and operating in different guises. Ungoverned spaces, porous borders, weak institutions, uncooperative regimes, and widespread corruption compound the problem.”

MEXICO

By the 2000s, drug violence in Mexico included the assassinations of several police officials and even the head of Mexico City’s police department. It is no secret that both drugs and violence originating in Mexico have already spilled into the U.S.

Growing evidence shows that Hezbollah has a very close relationship with Mexican drug cartels, including benefitting from their smuggling routes into the U.S.

On October 10, 2001, a group of ten terrorists belonging to a Lebanese Hezbollah cell were intercepted in Mexico City on their way to carry out a dual-pronged attack to assassinate (then) Mexican President Vicente Fox and attack the Mexican Senate. Reports are that they made their way to Mexico by way of the TBA.

In 2007, Mohsen Rabbani – who masterminded Hezbollah’s attacks in Argentina in the 1990s – assisted in the failed plot to bomb New York’s JFK airport.

In April 2009, Jamal Yousef – a former member of the Syrian military and senior agent of Hezbollah – was arrested in New York accused of acquiring U.S. arms stolen from U.S. forces in Iraq. The charges were that he was engaged in dealings with FARC to exchange the arms for drugs which would be carried into the U.S. by Mexican drug smugglers.

It was later discovered that Yousef had a cache of some 100 M-16 rifles, 100 AR-15 rifles, 2,500 grenades, C4 explosives, rocket-propelled grenades, and anti-tank weaponry, stored in Mexico. It was also discovered that Hezbollah in Mexico had been conducting explosives training for members of Mexican drug cartels.

In July 2010, Moussa Ali Hamden – a naturalized American citizen and known Hezbollah operative – was arrested in Mexico and indicted for passport fraud, counterfeiting, and financing weapons smuggling between the U.S. and Syria, including plans to smuggle 1,200 America-manufactured Colt M4 rifles to the Middle East.

A report in 2010 noted that, Al “Jamal” Basie – a Mexican national of Lebanese descent – was arrested in Tijuana. Interestingly, the source was a Kuwaiti news report, but both Mexican and U.S. officials would not confirm the report.

In 2011, Iran attempted to hire what it thought was a Mexican drug trafficker to assassinate the Saudi Arabian ambassador in Washington, D.C. The would-be assassin turned out to be a U.S. undercover agent.

In September 2012, Raffic Labboun – a Lebanese naturalized U.S. citizen who attended the University of California, received a degree in Mathematics and was considered to be the San Francisco Bay Area Hezbollah leader – was arrested in Mexico for committing some $102,000 in bank fraud. Multiple open source accounts show the growing use of Improvised Explosives Devices (IEDs) among Mexican drug cartels, which they had not previously used to any significant degree. This new IED tactic among Mexican cartels is directly credited to the interaction between Hezbollah and Mexican drug cartels as Hezbollah is well known for its perfection in the use of IEDs.

Hezbollah members have actively recruited Mexican nationals to set up Latin American networks to attack Israeli and American interests and Hezbollah operatives have already been placed in the drug smuggling corridors on the U.S./Mexican border.

INTO THE UNITED STATES

Cigarettes “are the most profitable of the smuggled goods in the TBA” and “account for 20% of the world’s cigarette market.” Smuggling routes from Ciudad del Este reach “north to the U.S.’s East Coast and Indian reservations in the American southwest” and across the Atlantic to Europe.

South America’s drug networks – very substantially involving Hezbollah – have expanded into Venezuela, Colombia, Guatemala, Panama, Costa Rica and Mexico, and Hezbollah’s wing of drug smuggling has partnered with Mexican drug cartels using Mexican smuggling routes into the U.S.

While perhaps not inherently Hezbollah-related, in 2006 two Trinidad and Tobago citizens were jailed in Canada for being involved in acts of terrorism. Both subjects were believed to belong to the Pakistani-based terrorist group Jamaat ul-Fuqra – the parent organization of Muslims of America (which has a compound in York, S.C. and some 22 other sites across the U.S.).

In one investigation in the Carolinas that began in 2009, Nasser Alquza – from the Central Mosque in Charleston, linked to the Muslim Brotherhood – was found to have links to cigarette smuggling, buying cigarettes below market price then selling them in other states to avoid paying taxes. Along with ten others – including members from Charlotte, N.C. – he paid $7.5 million to an undercover government agent for almost 7,000 boxes of cigarettes, which would have sold for over $15 million. The group used legitimate businesses to hide the money.

In 2011, Mohammed Yousef Hammoud – dispatched by Hezbollah to Charlotte when he was 21 years old, and lived in the U.S. by way of three sham marriages – was sentenced to 30 years for providing material support to Hezbollah, as well as conspiracy, cigarette smuggling, money laundering and immigration fraud.

Lastly, law enforcement officials are reporting an increase in Hezbollah-sympathetic tattoos among prison inmates in the southwestern U.S.

CONCLUSIONS

The prominence of drug activity and violence in Mexico and the TBA has occurred simultaneously with the increased infiltration of Hezbollah in Latin America. Hezbollah, FARC and Mexican drug cartels have formed tripartite partnerships to send drugs north into the U.S. in exchange for weapons – some of which are sent to the Middle East.

As a result, Hezbollah has access to Mexican drug smuggling routes into the U.S. and both Mexican and South American drug cartels have acquired expertise in Hezbollah bomb making applications and deployment. The ramification, of course, is that Hezbollah – and its parent Iran – is poised to insert Mexican drug runners and its own operatives into the U.S. with car bomb and IED expertise.

This occurs as Inspire magazine – Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s English-language magazine targeted specifically at U.S. audiences – has very recently called on “Lone Wolf” attackers and small groups in the U.S. to independently construct their own bombs and attack targets in the U.S.

Equally important is that the Muslim extremist/Latin American drug cartel relationships allow Iran a direct avenue of approach to U.S. targets, should it feel the need to use them.

This information has been made available by The Prepper Journal: Our Greatest Terrorism Threat is not The Middle East

 

 About the Author:

KeithPoundsKeith Pounds is a Lebanon/Grenada-era veteran having served as a corpsman (medic) in the U.S. Navy and with the Marines. He holds an MBA with a concentration in organizational psychology and now serves as the president and CEO of Countercon – a S.C.-based counterterrorism consulting company that provides consultations, inspections and training to companies and private groups across the southeast. In 2012, he was designated as an Honorary Green Beret by the S.C. Chapter of the Special Forces Association.

Saudi Arabia - Photo by Keepscases

By Michael Snyder

Someone wants to get the United States into a war with Syria very, very badly.  Cui bono is an old Latin phrase that is still commonly used, and it roughly means “to whose benefit?”  The key to figuring out who is really behind the push for war is to look at who will benefit from that war.  If a full-blown war erupts between the United States and Syria, it will not be good for the United States, it will not be good for Israel, it will not be good for Syria, it will not be good for Iran and it will not be good for Hezbollah.  The party that stands to benefit the most is Saudi Arabia, and they won’t even be doing any of the fighting.  They have been pouring billions of dollars into the conflict in Syria, but so far they have not been successful in their attempts to overthrow the Assad regime.  Now the Saudis are trying to play their trump card – the U.S. military.  If the Saudis are successful, they will get to pit the two greatest long-term strategic enemies of Sunni Islam against each other – the U.S. and Israel on one side and Shia Islam on the other.  In such a scenario, the more damage that both sides do to each other the happier the Sunnis will be.

There would be other winners from a U.S. war with Syria as well.  For example, it is well-known that Qatar wants to run a natural gas pipeline out of the Persian Gulf, through Syria and into Europe.  That is why Qatar has also been pouring billions of dollars into the civil war in Syria.

So if it is really Saudi Arabia and Qatar that want to overthrow the Assad regime, why does the United States have to do the fighting?

Someone should ask Barack Obama why it is necessary for the U.S. military to do the dirty work of his Sunni Muslim friends.

Obama is promising that the upcoming attack will only be a “limited military strike” and that we will not be getting into a full-blown war with Syria.

The only way that will work is if Syria, Hezbollah and Iran all sit on their hands and do nothing to respond to the upcoming U.S. attack.

Could that happen?

Maybe.

Let’s hope so.

But if there is a response, and a U.S. naval vessel gets hit, or American blood is spilled, or rockets start raining down on Tel Aviv, the U.S. will then be engaged in a full-blown war.

That is about the last thing that we need right now.

The vast majority of Americans do not want to get embroiled in another war in the Middle East, and even a lot of top military officials are expressing “serious reservations” about attacking Syria according to the Washington Post

The Obama administration’s plan to launch a military strike against Syria is being received with serious reservations by many in the U.S. military, which is coping with the scars of two lengthy wars and a rapidly contracting budget, according to current and former officers.

Having assumed for months that the United States was unlikely to intervene militarily in Syria, the Defense Department has been thrust onto a war footing that has made many in the armed services uneasy, according to interviews with more than a dozen military officers ranging from captains to a four-star general.

For the United States, there really is no good outcome in Syria.

If we attack and Assad stays in power, that is a bad outcome for the United States.

If we help overthrow the Assad regime, the rebels take control.  But they would be even worse than Assad.  They have pledged loyalty to al-Qaeda, and they are rabidly anti-American, rabidly anti-Israel and rabidly anti-western.

So why in the world should the United States get involved?

This war would not be good for Israel either.  I have seen a number of supposedly pro-Israel websites out there getting very excited about the prospect of war with Syria, but that is a huge mistake.

Syria has already threatened to attack Israeli cities if the U.S. attacks Syria.  If Syrian missiles start landing in the heart of Tel Aviv, Israel will respond.

And if any of those missiles have unconventional warheads, Israel will respond by absolutely destroying Damascus.

And of course a missile exchange between Syria and Israel will almost certainly draw Hezbollah into the conflict.  And right now Hezbollah has 70,000 rockets aimed at Israel.

If Hezbollah starts launching those rockets, thousands upon thousands of innocent Jewish citizens will be killed.

So all of those “pro-Israel” websites out there that are getting excited about war with Syria should think twice.  If you really are “pro-Israel”, you should not want this war.  It would not be good for Israel.

If you want to stand with Israel, then stand for peace.  This war would not achieve any positive outcomes for Israel.  Even if Assad is overthrown, the rebel government that would replace him would be even more anti-Israel than Assad was.

War is hell.  Ask anyone that has been in the middle of one.  Why would anyone want to see American blood spilled, Israeli blood spilled or Syrian blood spilled?

If the Saudis want this war so badly, they should go and fight it.  Everyone knows that the Saudis have been bankrolling the rebels.  At this point, even CNN is openly admitting this

It is an open secret that Saudi Arabia is using Jordan to smuggle weapons into Syria for the rebels. Jordan says it is doing all it can to prevent that and does not want to inflame the situation in Syria.

And Assad certainly knows who is behind the civil war in his country.  The following is an excerpt from a recent interview with Assad

Of course it is well known that countries, such as Saudi Arabia, who hold the purse strings can shape and manipulate them to suit their own interests.

Ideologically, these countries mobilize them through direct or indirect means as extremist tools. If they declare that Muslims must pursue Jihad in Syria, thousands of fighters will respond. Financially, those who finance and arm such groups can instruct them to carry out acts of terrorism and spread anarchy. The influence over them is synergized when a country such as Saudi Arabia directs them through both the Wahhabi ideology and their financial means.

And shortly after the British Parliament voted against military intervention in Syria, Saudi Arabia raised their level of “defense readiness” from “five” to “two” in a clear sign that they fully expect a war to happen

Saudi Arabia, a supporter of rebels fighting to topple President Bashar al-Assad, has raised its level of military alertness in anticipation of a possible Western strike in Syria, sources familiar with the matter said on Friday.

The United States has been calling for punitive action against Assad’s government for a suspected poison gas attack on a Damascus suburb on August 21 that killed hundreds of people.

Saudi Arabia’s defense readiness has been raised to “two” from “five”, a Saudi military source who declined to be named told Reuters. “One” is the highest level of alert.

And guess who has been supplying the rebels in Syria with chemical weapons?

According to Associated Press correspondent Dale Gavlak, it has been the Saudis

Syrian rebels in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta have admitted to Associated Press correspondent Dale Gavlak that they were responsible for last week’s chemical weapons incident which western powers have blamed on Bashar Al-Assad’s forces, revealing that the casualties were the result of an accident caused by rebels mishandling chemical weapons provided to them by Saudi Arabia.

“From numerous interviews with doctors, Ghouta residents, rebel fighters and their families….many believe that certain rebels received chemical weapons via the Saudi intelligence chief, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, and were responsible for carrying out the (deadly) gas attack,” writes Gavlak.

And this is someone that isn’t just fresh out of journalism school.  As Paul Joseph Watson noted, “Dale Gavlak’s credibility is very impressive. He has been a Middle East correspondent for the Associated Press for two decades and has also worked for National Public Radio (NPR) and written articles for BBC News.”

The Voice of Russia has also been reporting on Gavlak’s bombshell findings…

The rebels noted it was a result of an accident caused by rebels mishandling chemical weapons provided to them.

“My son came to me two weeks ago asking what I thought the weapons were that he had been asked to carry,” said Abu Abdel-Moneim, the father of a rebel fighting to unseat Assad, who lives in Ghouta.

As Gavlak reports, Abdel-Moneim said his son and 12 other rebels died in a weapons storage tunnel. The father stated the weapons were provided to rebel forces by a Saudi militant, known as Abu Ayesha, describing them as having a “tube-like structure” while others were like a “huge gas bottle.”

“They didn’t tell us what these arms were or how to use them,” complained a female fighter named ‘K’. “We didn’t know they were chemical weapons. We never imagined they were chemical weapons.”

“When Saudi Prince Bandar gives such weapons to people, he must give them to those who know how to handle and use them,” she warned. She, like other Syrians, do not want to use their full names for fear of retribution.

Gavlak also refers to an article in the UK’s Daily Telegraph about secret Russian-Saudi talks stating that Prince Bandar threatened Russian President Vladimir Putin with terror attacks at next year’s Winter Olympics in Sochi if Russia doesn’t agree to change its stance on Syria.

“Prince Bandar pledged to safeguard Russia’s naval base in Syria if the Assad regime is toppled, but he also hinted at Chechen terrorist attacks on Russia’s Winter Olympics in Sochi if there is no accord,” the article stated.

“I can give you a guarantee to protect the Winter Olympics next year. The Chechen groups that threaten the security of the games are controlled by us,” Saudi Prince allegedly told Vladimir Putin.

Yes, the Saudis were so desperate to get the Russians to stand down and allow an attack on Syria that they actually threatened them.  Zero Hedge published some additional details on the meeting between Saudi intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan and Russian President Vladimir Putin…

Bandar told Putin, “There are many common values and goals that bring us together, most notably the fight against terrorism and extremism all over the world. Russia, the US, the EU and the Saudis agree on promoting and consolidating international peace and security. The terrorist threat is growing in light of the phenomena spawned by the Arab Spring. We have lost some regimes. And what we got in return were terrorist experiences, as evidenced by the experience of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and the extremist groups in Libya. … As an example, I can give you a guarantee to protect the Winter Olympics in the city of Sochi on the Black Sea next year. The Chechen groups that threaten the security of the games are controlled by us, and they will not move in the Syrian territory’s direction without coordinating with us. These groups do not scare us. We use them in the face of the Syrian regime but they will have no role or influence in Syria’s political future.”

It is good of the Saudis to admit they control a terrorist organization that “threatens the security” of the Sochi 2014 Olympic games, and that house of Saud uses “in the face of the Syrian regime.” Perhaps the next time there is a bombing in Boston by some Chechen-related terrorists, someone can inquire Saudi Arabia what, if anything, they knew about that.

But the piece de resistance is what happened at the end of the dialogue between the two leaders. It was, in not so many words, a threat by Saudi Arabia aimed squarely at Russia:

As soon as Putin finished his speech, Prince Bandar warned that in light of the course of the talks, things were likely to intensify, especially in the Syrian arena, although he appreciated the Russians’ understanding of Saudi Arabia’s position on Egypt and their readiness to support the Egyptian army despite their fears for Egypt’s future.

The head of the Saudi intelligence services said that the dispute over the approach to the Syrian issue leads to the conclusion that “there is no escape from the military option, because it is the only currently available choice given that the political settlement ended in stalemate. We believe that the Geneva II Conference will be very difficult in light of this raging situation.”

At the end of the meeting, the Russian and Saudi sides agreed to continue talks, provided that the current meeting remained under wraps. This was before one of the two sides leaked it via the Russian press.

Are you starting to get the picture?

The Saudis are absolutely determined to make this war happen, and they expect us to do the fighting.

And Barack Obama plans to go ahead and attack Syria without the support of the American people or the approval of Congress.

According to a new NBC News poll that was just released, nearly 80 percent of all Americans want Congress to approve a strike on Syria before it happens.

And according to Politico, more than 150 members of Congress have already signed letters demanding that Obama get approval from them before attacking Syria…

Already Thursday, more than 150 members of Congress have signaled their opposition to airstrikes on Syria without a congressional vote. House members circulated two separate letters circulated that were sent to the White House demanding a congressional role before military action takes place. One, authored by Rep. Scott Rigell (R-Va.), has more than 150 signatures from Democrats and Republicans. Another, started by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), is signed by 53 Democrats, though many of them also signed Rigell’s letter.

But Obama has already made it perfectly clear that he has no intention of putting this before Congress.

He is absolutely determined to attack Syria, and he is not going to let the U.S. Congress or the American people stop him.

Let’s just hope that he doesn’t start World War III in the process. – The Economic Collapse

By Michael

War Between Israel And Syria?War is a horrible thing.  Just ask anyone that has ever been in the middle of it.  And in this day and age governments around the world possess weapons of such incalculable power that war should be unthinkable.  In future wars, we could literally see millions of people killed on a single day.  Nobody should want that or look forward to that.  Unfortunately, the next major regional war in the Middle East appears to be closer than ever.  But nobody should want it to actually happen.  During the next major regional war in the Middle East we will likely see death on a scale that is unprecedented.  It won’t be like the wars of 1967 or 1973.  It will likely be a fight to the death where nothing is held back.  You see, the truth is that most Americans have no idea what is really going on in the Middle East.  There are ancient grudges and ancient hatreds that go back for thousands of years.  There is no “peace plan” that is going to suddenly make everything okay.  The Middle East is a simmering volcano of hate and resentment that could erupt at any moment.  That is why what is happening in Syria right now is so important.  An Israeli airstrike in Damascus that reportedly was attempting to destroy a shipment of Fateh-110 missiles that Iran was sending to Hezbollah has brought Israel and Syria to the brink of war.  In fact, Syria is calling the airstrike a “declaration of war” and is vowing retaliation.  The Syrian government is saying that “Israeli aggression opens the door to all possibilities“, but they have not provided any specifics about what they plan to do.  Meanwhile, Israel has made it very clear that they will do whatever is necessary to keep Fateh-110 missiles from getting into the hands of Hezbollah.  With those missiles, Iranian-backed Hezbollah would have the capability of striking the heart of Tel Aviv with a very high degree of accuracy.  So it is definitely understandable why Israel would not want Hezbollah to have those missiles.  Just think about it – would you want Russia or China to deploy highly advanced missile systems in northern Mexico which could rain down hell on Los Angeles and Dallas in less than five minutes?  Unfortunately, this gives Iran the perfect way to provoke a war between Israel and Syria.  All they have to do is keep rolling trucks loaded with Fateh-110 missiles through war-torn Syria toward Hezbollah bases in Lebanon.  Israel will feel forced to intervene, and the rest of the Islamic world will get angrier and angrier.

The explosions that rocked northern Damascus on Sunday were absolutely massive.  It is being reported that they registered about two or three on the Richter scale, and enormous balls of fire that lit up the sky could be seen from all over Damascus.

The following is how the Washington Post described the attack…

Israeli warplanes bombed the outskirts of Damascus early Sunday for the second time in recent days, according to Syrian state media and reports from activists, signaling a sharp escalation in tensions between the neighboring countries that had already been exacerbated by the conflict raging in Syria.

Videos posted on the Internet by activists showed a huge fireball erupting on Mount Qassioun, a landmark hill overlooking the capital on which the Syrian government has deployed much of the firepower it is using against rebel-controlled areas surrounding the city.

So why did Israel do this?

Despite what the anti-Israel crowd is suggesting, Israel did not do this just to be mean.  As Reuters is reporting, Israel was specifically targeting Fateh-110 missiles that were on their way to Hezbollah…

Israel does not confirm such missions explicitly – a policy it says is intended to avoid provoking reprisals. But an Israeli official told Reuters on condition of anonymity that the strikes were carried out by its forces, as was a raid early on Friday that U.S. President Barack Obama said had been justified.

A Western intelligence source told Reuters: “In last night’s attack, as in the previous one, what was attacked were stores of Fateh-110 missiles that were in transit from Iran to Hezbollah.”

These missiles would significantly change the balance of power if they got into the hands of Hezbollah.  According to the Times of Israel, Fateh-110 missiles would be a very serious threat not only to Tel Aviv – these missiles would also threaten cities all the way down to Beersheba…

Uzi Rubin, a missile expert and former Defense Ministry official, told the Associated Press that if the target was a consignment of Fatah-110 missiles, then such weaponry did constitute a “game-changer”: Fired from Syria or south Lebanon, these missiles, he said, could reach almost anywhere in Israel with high accuracy.

Rubin emphasized that he was speaking as a rocket expert and had no details about the reported strikes.

“If fired from southern Lebanon, they can reach Tel Aviv and even [the southern city of] Beersheba,” Rubin said. He said the rockets are much five times more accurate than the Scud missiles that Hezbollah has fired in the past. “It is a game-changer because they are a threat to Israel’s infrastructure and military installations,” he said.

So that is why Israel carried out these airstrikes.  They feel like they simply cannot allow Hezbollah to have these weapons.  And with Hezbollah’s track record, that is very understandable.

Unfortunately, these airstrikes have also brought the Middle East much closer to the next war.

According to the Jerusalem Post, Syria is positioning units for a potential conflict with Israel…

Syria has stationed missile batteries aimed at Israel in the aftermath of alleged Israeli air strikes in the country, the website of Lebanon’s Al Mayadeen TV, considered close to the regime of President Bashar Assad, quoted a top Syrian official as saying on Sunday.

In response, Israel has deployed two Iron Dome batteries to northern Israel, they have closed off airspace in northern Israel to commercial traffic, and Israeli embassies around the world have been put on high alert.

But Syria may choose not to retaliate against Israel directly.  According to WND, Syria may decide to allow jihadist groups to carry out their vengeance for them…

The Syrian government will soon declare it is opening its borders with Israel for Palestinian and other jihad groups to carry out attacks against the Jewish state, a senior Syrian official told WND.

Separately, informed Middle Eastern security officials said the Syrian army held a meeting Sunday afternoon with the leaders of the military wing of the Iranian-backed Islamic Jihad terrorist group to discuss retaliation against Israel for the recent air strikes near Damascus.

According to those officials, Islamic Jihad and the Iranian-backed Hezbollah are coordinating a possible reaction to Israel’s reported strikes.

In any event, things are definitely becoming more unstable over in the Middle East.

So what would a war between Israel and Syria do to the already fragile global economy?

Well, a war between Israel and Syria would likely paralyze the entire region.  Hezbollah and Hamas would almost certainly jump into the war on the side of Syria, and there is the potential that nations such as Iran, Egypt and even Jordan could get involved as well.

In such a scenario, the flow of oil from the Middle East could become interrupted for an extended period of time, and that would have serious consequences for the global economy.

But the bigger threat to the global economy would be the fear that a regional war in the Middle East would create.  Global financial markets respond very badly to fear, and right now the world economy is already teetering on the brink of disaster.  Much of Europe has already descended into a full-blown economic depression, and there are signs that the greatest debt bubble in the history of the planet is starting to burst.

The next major wave of the economic collapse is rapidly approaching, and a major regional war in the Middle East would greatly accelerate our economic problems.

Unfortunately, it appears that such a conflict is inevitable.

I don’t believe that it will happen yet though.  For the moment, I believe that cooler headers will prevail.

But as tensions continue to rise, I believe that we will see tempers boil over and the Middle East will descend into full-blown warfare at some point within the next several years.

Of course I could always be wrong about this.  We will just have to wait and see what happens.

So what do you think?

Do you believe that we will see a regional war in the Middle East soon?

Please feel free to post a comment with your thoughts below… – The Economic Collapse