Political Risk Latin America Blog @PolRiskLatam

Hezbollah, Radical but Rational

Posted in Political Risk by politicalrisklatam on August 12, 2010

by Scott Stewart for Stratfor, August 12th, 2010.

When we discuss threats along the U.S.  /Mexico border with sources and customers, or when we write an analysis on topics such as violence and improvised explosive devices along the border, a certain topic inevitably pops up: Hezbollah.

We frequently hear concerns from U.S. and Mexican government sources about the Iranian and Hezbollah network in Latin America. They fear that Iran would use Hezbollah to strike targets in the Western Hemisphere and even inside the United States if the United States or Israel were to conduct a military strike against Tehran’s nuclear program. Such concerns are expressed not only by our sources and are relayed not only to us. Nearly every time tensions increase between the United States and Iran, the media report that the Hezbollah threat to the United States is growing. Iran also has a vested interest in playing up the danger posed by Hezbollah and its other militant proxies as it tries to dissuade the United States and Israel from attacking its nuclear facilities.

A close look at Hezbollah reveals a potent capacity to conduct terrorist attacks. The group is certainly more capable and could be far more dangerous than al Qaeda. An examination also reveals that Hezbollah has a robust presence in Latin America and that it uses its network there to smuggle people into the United States, where it has long maintained a presence. A balanced look at Hezbollah, however, shows that, while the threat it poses is real — and serious — that threat is not new and it is not likely to be exercised. There are a number of factors that have limited Hezbollah’s use of its international network for terrorist purposes in recent years. A decision to return to such activity would not be made lightly, or without carefully calculating the cost. (continue reading… )

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