Iran’s threat to retaliate over the U.S. precision strike to eliminate Quds Force Gen. Qasem Soleimani should increase attention on the vulnerability of our southern border, and the nefarious long-standing alliance between Mexican cartels and terrorist organizations.
The Judicial Watch investigative documentary, “The Sun City Cell,” uncovered a narco-terror truck bomb plot based out of Juárez, Mexico and El Paso, Texas against Chicago landmarks. The investigation exposed the ease of movement by terror operatives across the U.S./Mexican border and their ability to prepare and launch attacks from within the United States.
In 2017, Americans learned of an Obama administration decision to shut down an aggressive and successful DEA program against drug trafficking by the Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah. “Project Cassandra” was thwarted by the Obama White House, which was determined to broker a nuclear deal with Iran at any cost. The Hezbollah-cartel alliance generated more than $1 billion a year from drug and weapons trafficking, money laundering, human smuggling and other criminal acts.
Blind political ambitions for an Obama foreign policy “legacy” shutdown a successful law enforcement operation and delivered $1.7 billion to Iran — the world’s state-sponsored terror leader and drug cartel ally — including $400 million cash in Euros, Swiss francs and other currencies (also known as “ransom”) by jumbo jet landing in Tehran on Jan. 17, 2016.
In another case dating back to 2011, the DEA recorded meetings between a known Los Zetas cartel member and Quds Force operative Manssor Arbabsiar, planning an explosives attack on Saudi Ambassador to the U.S. Adel al-Jubeir at a Washington D.C. restaurant. Other meetings between the Los Zetas and Quds force plotters included bombing the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C. and the Saudi and Israeli embassies in Argentina. (RELATED: FARRELL: Mexican Cartels Qualify As Foreign Terrorists — Let’s Treat Them Accordingly)
As recently as October 2019, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) published a report warning, “Iran has cultivated relations with leaders in Latin America that share Iran’s distrust of the United States, and it has sought to position IRGC-QF [Quds Force] operatives and Hezbollah members in Latin America to potentially carry out terrorist attacks there.” The “there” may now be here.
Further, Iran has long made use of South America’s “tri-border” region. The CRS report states, “U.S. counterterrorism officials also have stated that the tri-border area of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay is a ‘nexus’ of arms, narcotics and human trafficking, counterfeiting, and other potential funding sources for terrorist organizations, including Hezbollah.”
The elimination of Soleimani, a key Iranian figure with the blood of thousands of Americans on his hands, was a bold move by President Trump and an important victory for the United States. Soleimani’s international network and his web of criminality and terror are no doubt disrupted. We must not pause or let up on prosecuting every available lead, either by military, intelligence or law enforcement means to further interdict and destroy both the residual activities of Soleimani’s scheming and whatever dreams of retaliation the Iranian government is plotting.
Bearing that in mind, we must look south to the vulnerability of our border, without neglecting resident, domestic “sleeper” elements in the United States – or, for that matter, any activity that might emanate from expatriate communities in places like Toronto (“Tehranto”), Canada.
President Trump is the first president to truly take border security seriously since Woodrow Wilson dispatched Brigadier Gen. John J. “Blackjack” Pershing on the Mexican Punitive Expedition. President Trump has been attacked and stalled for every new initiative he has sought to secure the border. His opponents had no problem with Obama infusing terrorist sponsors with $1.7 billion in cash, but any effective measures to secure the American border are unacceptable to them. Hope is not a valid strategy for border security. (RELATED: FARRELL: Obama Wanted To Know Everything His Trump Spies Were Doing, And It Looks Like He Did)
God-forbid another terror attack starts with a U.S./Mexico border crossing but, should that play out, President Trump’s opponents — the Benghazi Democrats and Obama ransom-payers — will no doubt vilify him, as the political amnesiacs they have proven to be for decades. Trump-hate apparently knows no limits.
Now is the time for President Trump to move forward with the designation of Mexican cartels as “foreign terrorist organizations,” as he announced on Nov. 26. His initiatives to secure our borders and protect both the lives and property of Americans should be fully implemented and supported.
Chris Farrell is director of investigations and research for Judicial Watch, a nonprofit watchdog group. He previously worked as a counterintelligence case officer.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.