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Iran's Dangerous Power Play / Pakistan

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    Posted: April 20 2009 at 6:04pm
From the LA Times-
 
 
 

Hezbollah presence in Venezuela feared

Hezbolloah_in_venezuela

Western anti-terrorism officials are increasingly concerned that Hezbollah, the Lebanon-based Shiite Muslim militia that Washington has labeled a terrorist group, is using Venezuela as a base for operations, report Chris Kraul and Sebastian Rotella.

Linked to deadly attacks on Jewish targets in Argentina in the early 1990s, Hezbollah may be taking advantage of Venezuela's ties with Iran, the militia's longtime sponsor, to move "people and things" into the Americas, as one Western government terrorism expert put it.

article continued here-
 
 
 
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.
 

Iran Is Too Close, Clerics Walk Narrow Line

Iran Keeps America Busy in Afghanistan, Sneaks in S. American Back Door
............................................................................................................................................
Talk about bold. 
 
 - 6 hours ago
 
 
Intel. Report: Iran Will Use Latin America to Attack US, Israel ...
 
 
(...U.S. intelligence and military officials expressing concern )
 
Apr 20, 2009 ... Iran will utilize this developing relationship to challenge the ... through intelligence and terror networks in South American countries. ...
 
 
 
Hezbollah builds a Western base - Americas- msnbc.comMay 9, 2007 ... From inside South America’s Tri-border area, Iran-linked militia targets ... to book passage to the United States through Brazil and then ...

 
 
Iran's Latin American Power Play - inFocus Quarterly Journal
 
Since coming to power in 1998, Chávez has pursued increased cooperation with Iran. ... Iran has cemented this relationship through investment, with bilateral ... As South America's poorest country, despite having the second largest ...
 
 

 
 
Israel News: Iranian danger in South America
 

Monday, October 20, 2008

Iranian danger in South America

http://zionism-israel.com/israel_news/2008/10/iranian-danger-in-south-america.html

Gabriel Calabrese points out the increasing danger for Israel and the United States emanating from the alliance between Venezuela's Hugo Chavez and Iran. Actually, Iran has been subverting South American countries for a while. Their Hezbollah bases in South America made possible the attack on the Buenos Aires Jewish Center and on the Israeli embassy. They have converted a large group of Indians to Shia Islam as well.
Actually, Iran has been subverting South American countries for a while. ... doors to Iran's fundamentalist regime, sealing the alliance through 11 meetings ...
 
 
 
 
A problem a few years back...and today?  (map)
 
Islamist Terrorist Threat in the Tri-Border Region
 
Jeffrey Fields, Research Associate,
Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS)
Monterey Institute of International Studies
October 2002
 
 

 
 
and....
 
 
Hezbollah builds a Western base

From inside South America’s Tri-border area, Iran-linked militia targets U.S.

By Pablo Gato and Robert Windrem
Telemundo and MSNBC.com
updated 9:29 a.m. ET, Wed., May 9, 2007
 
CIUDAD DEL ESTE, Paraguay - The Iranian-backed Hezbollah militia has taken root in South America, fostering a well-financed force of Islamist radicals boiling with hatred for the United States and ready to die to prove it, according to militia members, U.S. officials and police agencies across the continent.
 
 
 
 
................................................
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Mary - do not make me smile.. you will produce weird lines on my face that aren't usually there. This is a piece to be sure.

Mary our president is scaring me. Should I contemplate this.

He is trying to be friends to really bad and dangerous people. These are not people we want to be buddies with. These guys play really low ball and are dictators, incredibly corrupt, and I cannot see how we can play in their fire, and not get burnt.

First he disturbs me with "Muslims are our friends." Now he hugs Hugo.. was that a hug.. maybe I just imagined it.  Then we move on to well- let the Boys Down the Hall in Iran sock it to Israel- but we don't like it. We won't approve.

Six months ago I was posting of Russian sub encounters with an embargo in the Gulf over Iran and its nukes- now we want to be friends?

I did go over your let's go sit and talk to 9 year olds in the middle of a Taliban raid video and found it- disturbing. Most of all because of the slant of the Axis of Evil spin thing-
Let's face it. Are the Taliban brain dead that they would not know a journalist was creeping around. After all, first the girl sees a soldier headless with his head in a bad place- and then she is risking their 9 year old lives and whole families for a news story.

The truck yelling slogans may as well have been saying "It is useless to resist."

Now we want to be friends with the Venezuela who are working with the Hizbollah and Iran and did war exercises with Russia who prowled our shores with nuclear submarines while the exercises went on.

Bizarre.

Mr. President - you scare me when you get too friendly with the Muslims. After years of worrying about Cuba so close- now we are going to be buddies. Didn't they just join the exercise with the largest nuclear flagship of Russia Peter the Great with enough nukes to wipe most of the east coast out?

We sit with the Turks who cannot be trusted and tried to blackmail us when we were invading Iraq and finally we had to abandon our northern assault.

So maybe- am I missing something here? This guy saying you know.. the new Prez is smarter than Bush.

How do you make people thinkyou are smart? Agree with them.

I don't trust people who call our leaders the devil as much as when we call others the same. It seems just a little too obvious.

I don't love Hugo.

Medclinician
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hi.... the friendly stuff makes me cringe a bit.  But I have to think that perhaps the Pres. is going down to smile at the bully.  Hugo has to feel smaller after a greeting from the USA, he knows what's behind Obama.

Nothing like a little... "We know whatt's Up Down Here"  to unsettle.  There isn't a lot they can do that we do not see. (we'are so Spacey now)

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Middle East studies in the News

Carnegie Corp of NY's Scholarships Promote Sharia Law, Islam

[incl. Denise Spellberg]

Creeping Sharia Blog
April 17, 2009
http://creepingsharia.wordpress.com/2009/04/17/carnegie-corp-of-nys-scholarships-promote-sharia-law-islam/
http://www.campus-watch.org/article/id/7285

Since the United States was attacked by Muslim terrorists on September 11th, the Carnegie Corporation, and many others, believe that concocting theoretical doctrines on how to live with selective aspects of Islam and sharia law will create a world in which jihadist intentions are eliminated under a grandiose vision of peace and tolerance.

Unfortunately, all this research typically does is ignore or obfuscate reality and reinforce the aspirations of jihadists by falsely suggesting that Islam is compatible with Western ideals, and should be incorporated into Western societies. Rather than shedding the ideology that led many Muslims to flee their native countries, "scholars" are doing their dhimmi best to rewrite history and ensure the West allows the oppressive ideology to flourish unscathed.

To that end, in the last five years Carnegie has funded a total of 117 scholarships to research and promote Islam and sharia law at universities across the U.S. To be expected, it is Americans and the West who must understand and submit to Islam and sharia law while Muslims keep on waging various forms of jihad against us.
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Originally posted by Mary08 Mary08 wrote:


Unfortunately, all this research typically does is ignore or obfuscate reality and reinforce the aspirations of jihadists by falsely suggesting that Islam is compatible with Western ideals, and should be incorporated into Western societies. Rather than shedding the ideology that led many Muslims to flee their native countries, "scholars" are doing their dhimmi best to rewrite history and ensure the West allows the oppressive ideology to flourish unscathed.


It is highly unlikely, however one would like to love all peoples, that Islam and Christianity can exist in harmony or peace. Both seek to take over the world, both wish to convert everyone to their system of beliefs. Both are a threat to each other.

Of course, that brings us to some sort of ultimate conflict which is probably not avoidable. The Western civilization cannot stop itself from trying to stop the Muslims. What is ironic on this site, is that the pale horseman may not be a Muslim with a sword- it might be a virus. While we become wrapped up in our death struggle, the virus continues to mutate and prepare itself for a rather deadly assault.

As a pragmatist, I feel that the opposing religions will still be fighting in the heaps of bodies and rubble, if not the opposing ideologies. We have nothing in history to lead us to any other conclusion. The fight will only weaken when there are far less fighters and distances much more difficult to travel.

Perhaps the trip to Venezuela is like a new boyfriend with his arm around a girl staring confidently at the ex-boyfriend- or the lone wolf, having overcome the pack leader, standing upon its body. The people of Venezuela want peace. It is the leaders who work them up and continue to fuel the hatred. This is always the way it is when any country is against another.

The final question is, is this naivety, or an American president standing confident in a South American dictator's power center without flinching or being called the devil?

With all the words, all the smiles, and all the political posturing, the threats remain and are still present which are a major barrier to any lasting world peace.

MC
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At this point we are living with a false sense of security,I feel, the 2 are  totally not compatable.  As long as there is no reason to rise up, all is well.  But change the scenario to  2050 and the population shift will determine a lot.  Our Hispanic population is growing, love those Christians :).  Anyone who can get along and be part of the mix is welcome.  How long that will last... English should be the first language.  I see Spanish, French on products, when will we see Arabic?  Why not Hindi? there may not be room on the packaging....so make the language a so called neutral one, Engllish.  Let's start small, right there.  Let's keep what we can.  an aside...I will be looking for signs that Pres. Obama and Co. is toning down big Govt.  and... Absolutely no public funding for (2) language/ religious schools.   Our Military is on guard, the Pres. can smile all he likes.  His job is PR.  I like the new puppy.   (ps...I have Canadian family :)
 
 
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File:Swat%20NWFP.svg
 
 
 
Pray for the people of the Beautiful Swat Valley
................................................................................
 
 
 
The Swat Valley is located 100 miles from Islamabad  (capital of Pakistan)
In the Hindu Kush range of Pakistan. The capital of Swat is Saidu Sharif.
Mingora is a main town there. It was a princely state until disolved in 1969,
a place of great natural beauty, a popular tourist area, "Switzerland of Pakistan."
In December 2008 most of the area was captured by the Taliban insurgency and is now too dangerous for tourism.[3]
Islamist militant leader Maulana Fazlullah and his group Tehreek-e-Nafaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi
have banned education for girls and have bombed or torched "more than 170 schools ... along with other government-owned buildings."[4]
 
 
source
wikipedia
 
.................................................................
 
 
Picture Gallery
..........................
 
 
 
Morina  Provincial Flower
...........................................
North-West Frontier Province
 
File:Morina%20longifolia%203.jpg
 
 
 
 
File:Islamia.jpg
 
Islamia College at the University of Peshawar
 
 
Arrival of Islam  (was Hindu, was Buddhist)
...........................................................................

The Pakhtuns began to convert to Islam following early annexation by Arab empire from Khurasan (in what is today western Afghanistan and northeastern Iran).[18]

File:Swat%20River%20Pakistan.JPG
Alakazou1978 (talk) Original uploader was Alakazou1978
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Taliban in control of Pakistan's Swat Valley - 02 Feb 09
................................................................................................
 
youtube VIDEO
 
 
Struggle To Maintain A Modern Society In Pakistan
................................................................................................
Shaving is not allowed,   Taliban law
 
 
 
 
 
....................................................
 
 
 
 
 
 
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.
 
Too Many Cooks
................................
 
 
Iran and the Future of Afghanistan
.................................................................
 
 
...Iran's influence, however, has not always been welcomed by some local Afghans. CFR Senior Fellow Ray Takeyh writes in his book, Hidden Iran: Paradox and Power in the Islamic Republic, that "fiercely independent Afghan tribes have historically resisted Persian encroachment and have jealously guarded their rights."
 
 
But Iranian cultural and economic expansion continues apace.
 
 
Iranian radio broadcasts fill the airwaves, Iran-funded road and building projects are under way, a new teacher training center is planned for Kabul, and a Herat-Khaf rail link (Pajhwok) is being constructed to connect Afghanistan and Iran by train.
 
 
Iran has also offered humanitarian aid to Kabul in the form of fuel and transport--as much as $500 million since 2001, according to the U.S. Congressional Research Service. CFR's Rubin, who has spent years as a journalist in Afghanistan, says Shiite Afghans are better off financially than most of their counterparts because of aid from Tehran.

 
 
 
..............................
 
Russia's new influence in Afghanistan - 15 Feb 0909
 
VIDEO
 
 
 
......................................................
 
A need For Afghanistan Nationalism
...............................................................................................................
 
VIDEO
 
 
 
......................................
 
 
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Where did that Taliban come from?
...........................................................
 
 
 
Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher named the Clinton administration, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia for creating the Taliban.

Let me repeat that: The Clinton administration, along with Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, created the Taliban…” Rohrabacher 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Involvement with Afghanistan and the Taliban

Rohrabacher had a history of involvement in Afghanistan dating back to the Cold War, when he openly supported the groups that were fighting troops from the Soviet Union in Afghanistan.[26] In late 1988, Rohrabacher went to Afghanistan:

After I left the White House and was elected to Congress, but before I was sworn into Congress, I knew I had that two months between November and January to do things that I could never do once I was elected to Congress. I chose to hike into Afghanistan as part of a small Mujahedin unit and to engage in a battle against the Russian and communist forces near and around the city of Jalalabad.[27]

In the November/December 1996 issue of Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, Rohrabacher was reported as saying that the Taliban were not terrorists or revolutionaries, that they would develop a disciplined society that would leave no room for terrorists, and that the Taliban posed no threat to the United States.[28]

However, in a September 11, 1998 editorial in the The Washington Post, Rohrabacher strongly rebuked the Taliban for providing refuge to Osama bin Laden, mass killings of Shi'ites and ethnic Uzbeks, Turks, and Tajiks, and restrictions on the rights of Afghan women and children:

It has been no secret that bin Laden has been sheltered by the Taliban. The Clinton administration was mute while one of the most violent anti-Western Muslim sects spilled into Afghanistan from their Pakistan-based "religious schools" and took control of the capital. We remained paralyzed while they moved to destroy moderate Muslim forces. While administration officials expressed concern of the Taliban's complete denial of rights for women, it was little more than lip service. Even modest support from the United States for moderate Muslim forces in Afghanistan and serious political pressure on Pakistan could have thwarted the takeover of this strategically important country by these militant extremists. The danger of the spread of fanaticism expressed by the newly independent republics of Central Asia was smugly ignored.

During the summer of 2001, Rohrabacher made a trip to Qatar that was paid for by the Islamic Institute and the Government of Qatar, according to Rohrabacher’s financial disclosure forms. While in Qatar, Rohrabacher, Grover Norquist, and Khaled Saffuri met with Taliban Foreign Minister Mullah Wakil Ahmed Muttawakil. Wakil reportedly asked for help in increasing the amount of foreign aid sent by the United States to Afghanistan, apparently in exchange for U.S. oil company UNOCAL being allowed to construct of an oil pipeline through Afghanistan. If Rohrabacher was conducting diplomacy, he was in violation of the Logan Act, which prohibits citizens from doing so if not in an official capacity. Rohrabacher told wire service reporters who were present in Doha, Qatar at the time that he had discussed a “peace plan” with the Taliban. But Norquist, a close associate of Rohrabacher, said that the meeting happened accidentally and that it included Rohrabacher yelling at them about blowing up the Buddhist statues in Afghanistan.[26]

The Taliban later announced in Kabul that it had rejected what it considered were unreasonable demands by the U.S. side. Rohrabacher’s staff would not answer questions about the Taliban talks.[26]

After the September 11, 2001 attacks, Rohrabacher claimed that the attacks were due to incompetence on the part of the Clinton administration.[29]

 

wikipedia
.............................
.
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.
 
 

Taliban Advance: Is Pakistan Nearing Collapse?

.................................................................................................................

By ARYN BAKER/ISLAMABAD 
 1 hr 12 mins ago

The move by Taliban-backed militants into the Buna district of northwestern Pakistan,

closer than ever to Pakistan's capital of Islamabad, have prompted concerns both within
 
the country and abroad that the nuclear-armed nation of 165 million is on the verge of
 
inexorable collapse.
 
 
article here-
 
 
 
...........................................
 
 VIDEO
 
 
....................
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Truth Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 23 2009 at 9:34am
And what would Hezbollah do in Venezuala other than get a tan?

What a crock.
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Location: San Tropez
hi...Perhaps you could come out of the sun and expand on your...thought.......?
 
 
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.
 
Gates cool to Iran proposal to train Afghan police
....................................................................................
 
6 days ago

ABOARD A US MILITARY FLIGHT (AFP) -

 
US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates on Thursday was cool to an Iranian proposal to train
 
Afghan police, suggesting that Tehran should first stop arming the Taliban.

Iran's police chief on Monday said his force was ready to train its counterparts in

Afghanistan but also said there were no talks with NATO on cooperating with foreign
 
forces in the war-ravaged country.

"I think if the Iranians want to be helpful in Afghanistan the first thing they ought to do is

stop sending weapons to the Taliban, that'd be a good start," Gates told reporters aboard
 
an airplane travelling to Newport Beach, in the eastern US state of Rhode Island.
 
article here-
\YeUml3w
 
................
 
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Truth Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 23 2009 at 10:05am
Originally posted by Mary08 Mary08 wrote:

 

Location: San Tropez hi...Perhaps you could come out of the sun and expand on your...thought.......?

 

 


What would Venezula need with Hizbolla?
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What would Venezula need with Hizbolla?
.....................................................................................
 
absolutely nothing.   but kidding aside.  The common thread throughout is that nearly all
 
(no matter the label) the nuts are Extremist Islamists.   The Religion of Islam dictates that
 
the wealthy (Iran etc,) support the poor, religious warriors etc. ...and likely the nuts come
 
under that heading.  Iran and Russia are coming over to S. America to sword rattle
 
because the USA has like a gazillion (to them) carrier groups floating around in their back
 
yards.  We are now... Space Centered.... that means there is little place for the Extremist
 
Islamists to hide..excepting cover of Rain Forests./caves.  still, activity can be seem coming
 
and going.   If we keep the Extremist Islamists real busy right where they hide it sends a
 
pretty good message of don't mess with us where we live. 
 
Where is a better place to trian than where there is no fear of US bombs?....S. America.
 
 
The US and Pakistan Military have ferreted out the Taliban from their hideouts on the
 
fringe of Pakistan....so now they have decided to go right into Pakistan propper among the
 
people ...they feel we won't level the cities....but the Pakistan Military has leveled a rather
 
large Taliban takeover of a  town on the edge..... and now those people are living in a tent
 
city.
 
 
.......................
 
 
Perhaps you are commenting on an article from the LA Times?
 
They can write whatever they like... you could write to them....
 
It is totally ok if you do not see that writers point, relax, have a cup of herbal tea :)
 
 
 
 
 
......................................
 
 
 

Western anti-terrorism officials are increasingly concerned that Hezbollah, the Lebanon-based Shiite Muslim militia that Washington has labeled a terrorist group, is using Venezuela as a base for operations, report Chris Kraul and Sebastian Rotella.

Linked to deadly attacks on Jewish targets in Argentina in the early 1990s, Hezbollah may be taking advantage of Venezuela's ties with Iran, the militia's longtime sponsor, to move "people and things" into the Americas, as one Western government terrorism expert put it.

As part of his anti-American foreign policy, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has established warm diplomatic relations with Iran and has traveled there several times. The Bush administration, Israel and other governments worry that Venezuela is emerging as a base for anti-U.S. militant groups and spy services, including Hezbollah and its Iranian allies.

Read the full report on Venezuela and Hezbollah here.

For more on Venezuela, click here.

 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Truth Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 23 2009 at 10:43am
They are there. Just not in Venezuala


EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Islamic Terrorist Groups and Activities in the Tri-Border Area (TBA) This review of the available open-source information on Islamic terrorist group activities in Tri-Border Area (TBA) during the 1999 to 2003 period provides substantial evidence for concluding that various Islamic terrorist groups have used the TBA—where Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay meet—as a haven for fund-raising, recruiting, plotting terrorist attacks elsewhere in the TBA countries or the Americas in general, and other such activities. Islamic terrorist groups with a presence in the TBA reportedly include Egypt’s Al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya (Islamic Group) and Al-Jihad (Islamic Jihad), al Qaeda, Hamas, Hizballah, and al-Muqawamah (the Resistance; also spelled al-Moqawama), which is a pro-Iran wing of the Lebanon-based Hizballah. Islamic terrorist groups have used the TBA for fund-raising, drug trafficking, money laundering, plotting, and other activities in support of their organizations. The large Arab community in the TBA is highly conducive to the establishment of sleeper cells of Islamic terrorists, including Hizballah and al Qaeda. Nevertheless, as many as 11,000 members of the Islamic community in the TBA may have moved since late 2001 to other less closely watched Arab population centers in South America. Hizballah clearly derives a quite substantial amount of income from its various illicit activities in the TBA, in addition to financial support from the government of Iran and income derived from narcotics trafficking in Lebanon’s Al Beqa’a Valley. Reports of Iranian intelligence agents being implicated in Hizballah-linked activities in the TBA since the early 1990s suggest direct Iranian government support of Hizballah activities in the region. Lebanese government political support of the sizeable Lebanese community in the TBA extends to Hizballah members in the region because of Hizballah’s influence in Lebanon’s politics and society. News media reports in recent years of al Qaeda’s presence in the TBA and of cooperation between Hizballah and al Qaeda in the region first surfaced in mid-1999, based on reported identification of al Qaeda operatives in the TBA by Argentine intelligence. The conventional thinking is that the Sunni-oriented al Qaeda and the Shi’ite-oriented Hizballah would never cooperate, but it seems more likely that the reported cooperation is emblematic of a larger
Library of Congress – Federal Research Division Tri-Border Area (TBA)

2strategic alliance between the two organizations.1 News media reports since 1999 of foiled terrorist plots against U.S. embassies and the arrest of several terrorists linked to al Qaeda—including Ali Khalil Mehri, El Said Hassan Ali Mohammed Mukhlis, Marwan ‘Adnan al-Qadi (“Marwan al-Safadi”), and Mohamed Ali Aboul-Ezz Al-Mahdi Ibrahim Soliman (also spelled Mohamad Ali Abao-Ezz El-Mahdi Ibrahim Suliman)—suggest that al Qaeda has a presence in the region. Al Qaeda may have begun to establish a network in the TBA when Osama bin Laden and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed reportedly visited the area in 1995. Al Qaeda’s activities in the TBA are reportedly linked to trafficking of arms, drugs, and uranium, as well as money laundering, in association with Chinese and Russian (Chechen) mafias. If a Cable News Network (CNN) report is correct that an Islamic terrorist summit was held in the TBA in late 2002 to plan terrorist attacks against U.S. and Israeli diplomatic facilities in the South American region, then attacking these targets would appear to be a high priority for al Qaeda, Hizballah, and other Islamic terrorist groups that may have a presence in the TBA. Plotting by TBA-based terrorists linked to Hizballah and al Qaeda to blow up the U.S. Embassy in Asunción began in 1996. The embassy most likely remains one of the primary U.S. targets of Islamic terrorist groups in the region. In 2000-01, TBA-based al Qaeda operatives expanded their targeting to include the U.S. and Israeli embassies in Asunción and the U.S. embassies in Montevideo and Quito (Israel closed its embassy in Asunción in early 2002). The pattern of these foiled plots strongly suggests that TBA-based Hizballah and/or al Qaeda operatives will again attempt to carry out simultaneous terrorist attacks against two or more U.S. embassies or consulates in South America. Targets could also include hotels, tourism centers, airports, or multinational companies, especially those of Israeli, German, French, or U.S. origin.2 Organized Crime Groups and Activities in the TBA In addition to Islamic terrorist groups, the TBA provides a haven that is geographically, socially, economically, and politically highly conducive for allowing organized crime and the
1 Hisham al-Qarawi, “Has Bin-Ladin Made An Alliance With Mughanniyah in Latin America?” Al-Arab al-Alamiyah [London-based Libyan daily providing independent coverage of Arab and international issues with a
strong pro-Libyan, Arab nationalist, and anti-United States editorial line], November 14, 2002, 2, as translated from
the Arabic for FBIS, “Article Views Possibility of Al-Qa'ida-Hizballah Alliance in Latin America,” November 14,
2002, FBIS Document ID: GMP20021114000092. 2 María Luisa Mac Kay, Clarín staff, Clarín (Internet version-www), October 18, 2002, as translated by FBIS Document ID: LAP20021018000021, “Argentina Put on Heightened Security Alert in View of Potential Terrorist
Attack,” October 18, 2002.
Library of Congress – Federal Research Division Tri-Border Area (TBA)

3corrupt officials who accept their bribes or payoffs to operate in a symbiotic relationship that thrives on drug and arms trafficking, money laundering, and other lucrative criminal activities. As of 2001, money laundering in the TBA, aided by special CC-5 accounts for non-residents and other mechanisms, reportedly was averaging US$12 billion a year. Ciudad del Este and Foz do Iguaçu are the region’s principal money-laundering centers. Ciudad del Este was generating US$12 to US$13 billion in cash transactions annually, making it the third city worldwide behind Hong Kong and Miami. However, that figure may have fallen since then as a result of stricter Argentine and Brazilian customs systems. Numerous organized crime groups, including the Lebanese Mafia, are known to use the TBA for illicit activities such as smuggling, money laundering, and product piracy. Although it is unclear whether the Lebanese Mafia and Hizballah are basically synonymous or entirely separate entities, there is probably a close relationship between them. In any case, the Hizballah organization in the TBA is known to collaborate with various mafias, including the Hong Kong Mafia. Indigenous crime groups operating in the TBA include the Argentine, Brazilian, and Paraguayan mafias. Non-indigenous mafias operating in the TBA reportedly include syndicates from Chile, China, Colombia, Corsica, Ghana, Libya, Italy, Ivory Coast, Japan, Korea, Lebanon, Nigeria, Russia, and Taiwan. However, a review of open-source news media found information indicating activities mainly by the Chinese, Korean, Lebanese, and Taiwanese mafias. The thriving business of importing counterfeit Compact Disks (CDs) and CD-ROMs from Asia is linked to organized crime in Korea, Lebanon, Libya, and Taiwan. The Hong Kong Mafia is particularly active in large-scale trafficking of pirated products from mainland China to Ciudad del Este and maintains strong ties with Hizballah in the TBA. Unspecified Chinese mafias in the TBA are reportedly seeking to expand into Argentina in order to establish themselves into the duty-free zone of San Luis Province. At least two Chinese mafia groups in the TBA—the Sung-I and Ming families—engage in illegal operations with the Egyptian al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya (Islamic Group). Efforts to Counter the Use of the TBA by Organized Crime and Terrorist Groups Cooperative and individual national efforts of the Argentine, Brazilian, and Paraguayan security forces to fight illicit activities by organized crime and terrorist groups in the TBA appear
Library of Congress – Federal Research Division Tri-Border Area (TBA)

4Map showing the Tri-Border Area in the circle. Source: Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), October
2002 [http://www.nti.org/e_research/e3_16b.html]. to have constrained these activities since late 2001, but by no means eliminated them. Their efforts have been hindered by endemic corruption within the police, criminal justice systems, and governments of the TBA countries; poor pay; inadequate training, equipment, funding, law-enforcement techniques, and penal codes; poor organization; human rights abuses; weak anti-money-laundering laws and enforcement thereof; and secrecy provisions of banking laws (with the exception of Paraguay, whose problem has more to do with not reporting suspicious financial activities). INTRODUCTION Several free-trade Latin American areas with large Middle Eastern populations allow Islamic terrorist groups, organized crime mafias, and corrupt officials to thrive in a mutually beneficial, symbiotic relationship. These areas include Colombia’s Maicao, Venezuela’s Margarita Island, Chile’s Iquique, and the Tri-Border Area (TBA). This study focuses on the largest and most significant of these areas—the TBA, an enclave adjoining Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay. Estimates of how much organized crime and corrupt officials profit from these duty-free zones are unavailable, but it is estimated that Islamic fundamentalist groups in the TBA and similar areas in Latin America are sending between US$300 million and US$500 million a year in profits from drug trafficking, arms dealing, and other illegal activities, including money laundering, contraband, and product piracy, to radical Islamic groups in the Middle East.3 The TBA’s Islamic extremist support networks include, in addition to Margarita Island and Iquique, various other centers of Arab population in the region, such as the Paraguayan city of Encarnación, on the border with Argentina, and the Uruguayan town of Chuy, on the border with Brazil. 3 “U.S. General: Islamic Rebels Get Cash from Latin America Gangs,” Orlando Sentinel, March 10, 2003, A9, citing General James T. Hill, commander of the U.S. Southern Command in Miami.
Library of Congress – Federal Research Division Tri-Border Area (TBA)

5Hizballah clerics and members of other violent Islamic groups reportedly began planting agents and recruiting sympathizers among Arab and Muslim immigrants in Latin America in the mid-1980s, at the height of the Lebanese civil war. Hizballah cells began to form in the TBA as a result of Hizballah proselytizing in the Lebanese communities. Islamic fundamentalist organizations such as the Islamic Resistance Movement (Harakat al-Muqawamah al-Islamiyya—Hamas), Hizballah, and al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya (Islamic Group) actively use the TBA as a support base, and al Qaeda reportedly has been establishing a presence in the region since at least the mid-1990s. By mid-2000, an estimated 460 Hizballah operatives were thought to be living and working in the TBA.4 Numerous Lebanese and Palestinian extremists arrived in the TBA from Colombia in October 2000.5 With the help of organized crime and corrupt officials, these Islamic terrorist organizations use the TBA to raise revenues through illicit activities that include drug- and arms trafficking, counterfeiting, money laundering, forging travel documents, and even pirating software and music. In addition, they provide haven and assistance to other terrorists transiting the region. Al Qaeda reportedly also does considerable fund-raising in Ciudad del Este.6 Suspected Hizballah terrorists have also used the TBA as a base for carrying out two major terrorist attacks in Buenos Aires in the early 1990s—one against the Israeli Embassy on March 17, 1992; and the other against a Jewish community center on July 18, 1994. Since the 1994 attack, Islamic terrorists in the TBA have largely confined their activities to criminal fund-raising and other activities in support of their terrorist organizations, including plotting terrorist actions to be carried out in other countries. This study has confirmed the likely close interrelation among Islamic terrorist fund-raising and money-laundering activities, organized crime, and corruption of public officials in the TBA. All of the TBA’s terrorist and organized crime activities are facilitated by official corruption, which, in turn, is fueled by the profits of lucrative criminal activities, which are 4 Harris Whitbeck and Ingrid Arneson, “Terrorists Find Haven in South America,” CNN.com, November 8, 2001. [http://www.cnn.com/2001/WORLD/americas/11/07/inv.terror.south] 5 Their names, as published in the Paraguayan press, included: Abadia Abu Sakran, Ayman Taha, Baha El-Khatis, Samer Sweileh, Diban Abu Gamous, Asan Hamaida, Mohamed Minirouwi, Hamad Hamad, Ayman Abu Yin, Salah
Tinme, Wael Nasser, Sharif Tahayna, Abbas Ouweiwi, Nasser Saha Ane, Muhammad Moussa Hassan Gadalah,
Rafat Rahdan Salem Abio, Brahim Un-Karim Bani-Uda, Mahmud Zakar Rages Zatma Adnan, and Mahimud Jabber
Alul. Bartolomé, 11, citing “Antiterroristas remiten las evidencias al fiscal” [Antiterrorists provide the judge with
evidence], Noticias, December 5, 2000. 6 Jeffrey Goldberg, “In the Party of God,” The New Yorker, 79, No. 32, October 28, 2002.
Library of Congress – Federal Research Division Tri-Border Area (TBA)

6 Iguassú Falls Source: BBC Mundo.com, September 3,
2002; photo: Convention and Visitors’
Bureau, Iguazú.conducted like business enterprises by organized crime and terrorist groups. In effect, a mutually beneficial nexus exists among these three sectors. The TBA serves as a microcosm for examining this relationship. GEOGRAPHY, SOCIETY, AND ECONOMY Geography The TBA’s porous borders are defined by three closely grouped population centers, one in each of three countries: the Argentine city of Puerto Iguazú, the Brazilian city of Foz do Iguaçu, and the Paraguayan city of Ciudad del Este (formerly Puerto Presidente Stroessner). The region’s most famous landmark is Iguassú Falls (Port., Iguaçu Falls), which straddles the Argentina-Brazil border in Brazil’s Paraná State and Argentina’s Misiones Province. In the early 1970s, when Brazil and Paraguay were seeking to exploit the energy-generating and tourist potential of Iguassú Falls and to promote regional trade, government planners established a free-trade zone in the rapidly growing boomtown city of Ciudad del Este, thereby allowing Argentines and Brazilians to purchase cheap electronic products there.7 The TBA, with already more than half a million inhabitants, soon became a lawless jungle corner of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay. Ciudad del Este Ciudad del Este, located 330 kilometers to the east of Asunción, is the capital of Paraguay’s Upper Paraná Department and the country’s second-largest city. In 2003 Ciudad del Este had an estimated population of 239,500.8 Strategically located, Ciudad del Este is situated 7 Sebastian Junger, “Terrorism's New Geography,” Vanity Fair, No. 508, December 2002, 196, citing Brazilian journalist Jackson Lima. 8Stefan Helders, “Paraguay,” The World Gazetteer, 2003. [http://www.world-gazetteer.com/c/c_py.htm#pl_37]
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7 The tri-border countries can be seen from the landing at Puerto
Iguazú: Argentina to the left, Brazil to the right, and Paraguay in the
background.
Source: Puerto Iguazú Prefecture. From Military Review, Command
& General Staff College, March-April 2002.on the Pan American Highway, which runs from Asunción, Paraguay, to Curitiba, Brazil, located near the port of Paranaguá. Foz do Iguaçu The Brazilian city of Foz do Iguaçu (formerly spelled Foz do Iguassú), Paraná State, has been recently described in news media as having a population of about 300,000. (According to the 1996 census, its population was 231,627.9) Many people leave Ciudad del Este at night and cross the 303-meter-long, concrete bridge, the Friendship International Bridge (Sp., Puente Internacional de la Amistad; or Port., Ponte Internacional da Amizade), to return to Foz do Iguaçu, where the quality of life is better than in Ciudad del Este. Nevertheless, violent crime is a serious problem in Foz do Iguaçu, where 180 homicides were reported in 2000, 243 in 2001, and 275 in 2002.10 (By comparison, the number of homicides in the top-ranking U.S. city in 2002, Washington, D.C., with about 2 ½ times the population, was 262.) Puerto Iguazú Argentina's Puerto Iguazú, with a population of approximately 29,000, is located at the confluence of the Paraná and Iguazú (Port., Iguassú) rivers in the northwest corner of Misiones 9 Demographia: Brasil [Brazil]: Cities (Municipalities) Over 100,000 Population: 1996. [http://www.demographia.com/db-brasil-city96.htm] 10 “Homicide Rate Declines in Foz do Iguaçu,” A Gazeta do Iguaçu [Foz do Iguaçu; independent, largest-circulation daily in the TBA; offers balanced reporting and daily editorial comment], citing data released by the Legal Medical
Institute (IML), as translated by FBIS Document ID: LAP20030606000016, June 5, 2003.
Library of Congress – Federal Research Division Tri-Border Area (TBA)

8Province. The Atlantic Ocean can be accessed from Puerto Iguazú using small freighters. Although Puerto Iguazú is isolated from Ciudad del Este by the Paraná, Puerto Iguazú has access to Brazil’s Foz do Iguaçu across the Iguazú at the 489-meter-long Tancredo Neves International Bridge. The Arab immigrants of Foz do Iguaçu and Ciudad del Este generally avoid visiting Puerto Iguazú because they reportedly do not feel welcome there and are regarded suspiciously by Argentine security officials.11 Society The General Population of the TBA By 2001, the TBA had a highly heterogeneous population of more than 700,000, including the area outside the three cities.12 Foz do Iguaçu’s population includes an estimated 65 different nationalities.13 The three main ethnic communities in Ciudad del Este are the Chinese, Lebanese, and Korean.14 In 2001, the city’s largest ethnic group was the Chinese, with about 30,000 members, of whom only about 9,000 may be registered legally.15 The Portuguese language predominates. Guaraní is generally spoken by the city’s poor Paraguayan residents. Arabic is heard as much as, or perhaps more than, Spanish. Chinese and Korean are also commonly heard.16 Ciudad del Este’s Chinese residents, mostly from China’s southern Canton region, prefer this city over Foz do Iguaçu. 11 Franco Iacomini, “Fronteira sem lei: A divisa com o Paraguai é a dor de cabeça do Mercosul” [Lawless Border: The Division with Paraguay and Mercosul’s Headache], Veja [São Paulo], No. 1541, April 8, 1998.
[http://veja.abril.uol.com.br/080498/p_044.html] 12 Mariano César Bartolomé, Amenzas a la seguridad de los estados: La triple frontera como ‘área gris’ en el cono sur americano [Threats to the Security of States: The Triborder Region as a ‘Grey Area’ in the American Southern
Cone]. Buenos Aires, November 29, 2001 http://www.geocities.com/mcbartolome/triplefrontera1.htm]; reprinted as
Dr. Mariano César Bartolomé, “La triple frontera: Principal foco de inseguridad en el Cono Sur Americano” [The
triborder: Principal focus of insecurity in the American southern cone], Military Review, July-August 2002 (Spanish
edition). [http://www-cgsc.army.mil/milrev/spanish/JulAug02/indxjasp.asp] 13 Bartolomé, 3, citing a 2001 estimate by Brazil’s Federal Police (Polícia Federal―PF). 14 Ricardo Grinbaum, “In Paraguay, Smugglers' Paradise,” World Press Review, January 1996, 43, No.1, 25-6 (reprinted from Veja). 15 Bartolomé, 7. 16 Franco Iacomini, “Fronteira sem lei: A divisa com o Paraguai é a dor de cabeça do Mercosul” [Lawless Border: The Division with Paraguay and Mercosul’s Headache], Veja [São Paulo], No. 1541, April 8, 1998.
[http://veja.abril.uol.com.br/080498/p_044.html]
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9Muslim Population The TBA has one of the most important Arab communities in South America. Of the Arab population in Ciudad del Este and Foz do Iguaçu, an estimated 90 percent is of Lebanese origin.17 Estimates of the size of the Arab community of immigrants in the TBA (mainly in Ciudad del Este and Foz do Iguaçu) range from 20,000 to 30,000, with most residing in Foz do Iguaçu.18 Of these general figures, Foz do Iguaçu’s Arab population accounts for 10,000 to 21,000 Arabs of Palestinian and Lebanese descent.19 The Arab community in the TBA is tightly knit, with its own schools and clubs, making outside penetration very difficult. Most Arab immigrants in Foz do Iguaçu live in gated condominiums.20 The cultural and social demographics of Ciudad del Este and Foz do Iguaçu make an ideal operations base for Arabic-speaking terrorist or criminal groups. A few extremists can get together, form a highly secure cell, carry out their mission, and return with alibis backed up by many in the community. Sympathizers of al Qaeda have allegedly been active in the TBA for these reasons. 17 Bartolomé, 4. 18 The New York Times reports that “more than 20,000 Middle Eastern immigrants, most from Lebanon and Syria, live in the area.” See Larry Rohter, “South America Region Under Watch for Signs of Terrorists,” New York Times,
December 15, 2002, 1A, 32. Jane’s notes that the region’s 629,000 population includes 23,000 Arabs of Palestinian
and Lebanese descent. See John Daly, “The Suspects: The Latin American Connection,” Jane’s Terrorism &
Security Monitor, October 1, 2001. The 30,000 figure is cited by Marc Perelman, U.S. Joining Terrorism Probe
Along Lawless Brazil Border: Hezbollah, Al Qaeda Links Sought. The Lebanese Foundation for Peace (LFP),
December 13, 2002. [http://www.free-lebanon.com/LFPNews/2002/terrorprobe/terrorprobe.html] 19 A Gazeta do Iguaçu [Foz do Iguaçu], “Muslims Prevail Among Small Religions in Foz,” February 3, 2003, as translated for FBIS, “Highlights From the Tri-Border Press for the Week 3-7 February,” February 11, 2003, FBIS
Document ID: LAP20030211000124. 20 “Argentina, Paraguay, Brazil Step Up Search for "terrorists" in Triborder Area,” BBC Monitoring Service [UK], September 15, 2001. A view of a mosque in Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil Source: Istoé [São Paulo], August 11, 2001.
Library of Congress – Federal Research Division Tri-Border Area (TBA)

10Argentina’s total Muslim population is known to be approximately three times as large as its Jewish population. Estimates of the former range from 700,000 to 900,000, with the lower figure considered by some researchers to be more likely.21 The number of Jews living in Argentina is estimated to be about 250,000, of whom about 80 percent live in Buenos Aires.22 Argentina’s Jewish population has been the target of terrorism by Islamic fundamentalists and neo-Nazis. Foz do Iguaçu reportedly has Brazil’s second-largest Arab community (São Paulo may have the largest).23 Nevertheless, Foz do Iguaçu’s Arab population seems relatively small in comparison with a reported 1 million Muslims who have Brazilian citizenship and live in Brazil. Most Brazilian Muslims came from Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, Egypt, and other countries, but those in Foz do Iguaçu are mostly of Lebanese and Palestinian descent. Many members of the Arab population of Foz do Iguaçu and its surrounding hinterlands maintain commercial outlets in Ciudad del Este. Economy Ciudad del Este is an oasis for informants and spies; peddlers of contraband (largely cheap East Asian goods) and counterfeit products; traffickers in drugs, weapons, and humans (prostitutes, including women and children forced into prostitution); common criminals; mafia organizations; and undocumented Islamic terrorists. In Ciudad del Este, street merchants sell not only cheap trinkets and counterfeit products, but also items such as an AK-47 for US$375.24 Despite its seedy appearance, Ciudad del Este is a world-class center of commerce in terms of cash transactions. Thanks to the presence of organized crime, the city’s retail economy ranked third worldwide—behind Hong Kong and Miami—in volume of cash transactions, peaking at 21 Pedro Brieger and Enrique Herszkowich, “The Muslim Community of Argentina,”The Muslim World [Hartford], 92, Nos. 1/2, Spring 2002, 157-68. 22 Jacob Kovadloff, Crisis In Argentina. American Jewish Community [New York], circa June 2002. [http://www.ajc.org/InTheMedia/PublicationsPrint.asp?did=555] 23 Gazeta do Iguaçu [Foz do Iguaçu], “Muslims Prevail Among Small Religions in Foz,” February 3, 2003, as translated for FBIS, “Highlights From the Tri-Border Press for the Week 3-7 February,” February 11, 2003, FBIS
Document ID: LAP20030211000124; and “Palestinian Community in Brazil,” Jornal do Iguaçu [Foz do Iguaçu],
September 27, 2002, as translated for FBIS, “Highlights: Brazil - Paraguay Triborder Press 23-27 Sep 02,”
September 30, 2002, FBIS Document ID: LAP20020930000045. 24 Jeffrey Goldberg, “In the Party of God,” The New Yorker, 79, No. 32, October 28, 2002.
Library of Congress – Federal Research Division Tri-Border Area (TBA)

11An estimated 40,000 people cross the Friendship Bridge (Ponte da
Amizade) daily.
Source: Claudio Rossi, Veja [São Paulo], No. 1541, April 8, 1998. US$12 billion in 1994.25 In 2001 the estimated annual turnover in Ciudad del Este made the city’s economy larger than that of the rest of Paraguay.26 The relatively small Arab community in Ciudad del Este is among Latin America’s most prosperous and influential. The region’s main economic dynamic is business between Ciudad del Este and Foz do Iguaçu. On normal days, an estimated 30,000 to 40,000 people and 20,000 vehicles cross the Friendship Bridge between Brazil and Paraguay. Residents and tourists in Ciudad del Este also regularly cross between Paraguay and Brazil on foot, often without documents. Border checks by authorities have generally been limited to simple spot-checks, and less than 10 percent of personal baggage or vehicle loads are checked. The traditional status of the TBA as a source of cheap goods has been severely restricted, however, by new regulations issued by Argentina and Brazil. After Brazil implemented an integrated customs system to combat smuggling, commerce between Ciudad del Este and Foz do Iguaçu reportedly decreased by 90 percent.27 However, according to Mauro de Brito, head of the Federal Revenue Secretariat office in Foz do Iguaçu, it will take several years for the customs integration between Paraguay and Brazil to yield the expected 25Sebastian Rotella, “Jungle Hub for World's Outlaws,” Los Angeles Times, August 24, 1998, 1; and Ricardo Grinbaum, “In Paraguay, Smugglers' Paradise,” World Press Review, January 1996, 43, No.1, 25-6 (reprinted from
Veja). 26 Larry Rohter, “Terrorists Are Sought in Latin Smugglers' Haven,” New York Times, September 27, 2001, A3. 27 “Commerce between Ciudad del Este and Foz do Iguacu Drops by 90 Percent,” Vanguardia [highest circulation daily in Ciudad del Este; aligned with the national daily ABC Color, it offers moderate and balanced reporting and
editorial comment, but is occasionally sensationalistic], December 3, 2002, as translated for FBIS, “Brazil-Paraguay
Triborder Press Highlights: November 25-29, 2002,” December 3, 2002, FBIS Document ID: LAP20021203000105.
Library of Congress – Federal Research Division Tri-Border Area (TBA)

12results. Referring to Paraguay’s “bribe culture,” de Brito attributed this delay to differences in legislation and in “culture” of customs agents.28 In an attempt to curb the loss of tax revenues, Argentina imposed limits of US$100 per month on nondurable merchandise and US$150 per month on durables that can be purchased in the region. In a similar measure, Brazilian authorities reduced from US$500 to US$150 the monthly amount that the sacoleiros (small-time Brazilian importers) can spend in the region.29 As a result of these and other measures, such as increased security, commercial activity in Ciudad del Este has declined considerably.30 Although Argentina’s Puerto Iguazú traditionally has had the least economic activity of the three TBA cities, the greatly reduced traffic across the Tancredo Neves Bridge during the 1999-2000 period is also indicative of the economic downturn.31 From 3.4 million people crossing in 1999, the number dropped to 1.4 million in 2000, while total vehicle passages declined from 350,751 in 1999 to 242,669 in 2000.32 Argentine sources estimated in October 2001 that 120,000 people annually, or 4,000 daily, were crossing the Tancredo Neves Bridge.33 ILLICIT ACTIVITIES BY ISLAMIC TERRORIST GROUPS IN THE TBA Background The TBA cities of Ciudad del Este and Foz do Iguaçu have served as a base and a haven for Islamic terrorists for plotting and occasionally succeeding in carrying out terrorist attacks elsewhere in the Americas. Among the various Islamic fundamentalist groups reported to have a presence in the region are extremist cells tied to al Qaeda, Hizballah, Al-Jihad (Egyptian Islamic Jihad), and al-Muqawamah. 28 “Brazil, Paraguay Border Customs Integration Facing Problems,” Vanguardia, April 11, 2003, as translated by FBIS, “Highlights: Argentina-Brazil- Paraguay Triborder Media, April 11, 2003, FBIS Document ID:
LAP20030411000098. 29 Bartolomé, 2. 30 Bartolomé, 2. 31 Bartolomé, 4, citing “Em Puerto Iguazú, a segurança é reforçada” [In Puerto Iguazú, Security Is Reinforced], O Estado de São Paulo, September 17, 2001. 32 Mendel, William W., Foreign Military Studies Office (FMSO). “Paraguay's Ciudad del Este and the New Centers of Gravity,” Military Review,” 82, No. 2, March-April 2002, 51-58. 33 Bartolomé, 2.
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13 Aftermath of the AMIA bombing in
Buenos Aires, July 18, 1994
Source: AP, BBC Mundo, December
23, 2000. The bombing of the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires on March 17, 1992, followed by the bombing of a Jewish community center, the Argentine-Israeli Mutual Association (Asociación Mutual Israeli-Argentina—AMIA), a Jewish community center, in Buenos Aires on July 18, 1994, focused the attention of the TBA countries, Israel, and the United States on the TBA because the investigation into both attacks led back to Hizballah operatives in the TBA.34 Since the Israeli Embassy bombing in 1992, Imad Mughniyah (also spelled Mughanniyah or Mugniyeh; alias ‘Hajji’), a Lebanese national and the head of the security service of Al-Jihad (Egyptian Islamic Jihad), which is linked to the pro-Iranian Party of God, or Hizballah, has been a fugitive. In May 2003, Argentine prosecutors linked both Ciudad del Este and Foz do Iguaçu to the AMIA bombing and issued arrest warrants for two Lebanese citizens, Assad Ahmad Barakat (see Barakat, Assad Ahmad Mohamad, Appendix) and Imad Fayed Mugniyah, who at the time of the bombing were living in Ciudad del Este.35 According to the investigators handling the AMIA case in Buenos Aires, Barakat played a crucial role in financing the bombing because he reportedly had a cell that made arrangements to import all of the materials related to the attack into the TBA. In the years since then, investigators have identified Barakat as not only Hizballah’s military operations chief in the TBA, but also as its chief Southern Cone fund-raiser.36 It is not known what connection, if any, al Qaeda may have had with the AMIA attack, an action usually associated with Hizballah. Whether the AMIA bombing was collaboration 34 Mario Daniel Montoya, “Israel Takes Special Interest in Triple Border Area,” Jane’s Intelligence Review, 13, No. 12, December 2001, 13-14; and Jack Epstein, “Where Tourism Meets Terrorism,” U.S. News & World Report, 117,
No. 6, August 8, 1994, 38. 35 ABC Color [Internet version-www], May 28, 2003, as translated by FBIS Document ID: LAP20030528000104, “Argentine Prosecutors Link Tri-Border Hizballah Leaders to AMIA Attack,” May 28, 2003. 36 “Government Keeps Watchful Eye on Paraguay’s Arab Community,” October 13, 2001, EFE News Services (FBIS Rec. No. OEF2C4F9D99922F0).
Library of Congress – Federal Research Division Tri-Border Area (TBA)

14between Hizballah and another group is unclear. Argentina’s foreign ministry disclosed on October 18, 2001, that its embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, had received a telephone call on October 26, 2000, claiming responsibility for an unspecified “explosion” in Argentina. Argentine judicial sources believe that the callers to the Riyadh embassy were referring to the July 18, 1994, attack on the AMIA.37 In late January 2003, Argentina’s Secretariat for State Intelligence (Secretaría de Información del Estado—SIDE) presented President Eduardo Duhalde with a 500-page report on the AMIA bombing that confirms Hizballah’s use of C4 plastic explosive, which arrived from Ciudad del Este along with the two or three suicide bombers, who came from Lebanon.38 As of mid-2003, Argentine courts had resumed the investigation of the attacks on the AMIA and the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires and had determined that Assad Ahmad Barakat made suspicious trips to Teheran, Iran, between 1990 and 1991, and that he had also reportedly met with high-ranking officials of the Islamic Republic of Iran. On the same occasion, Barakat also traveled to Lebanon.39 The Islamic Terrorist Presence in the TBA, 1999-June 2003 There appears to be general agreement among U.S. counterterrorism officials that Islamic terrorist groups have a presence in the TBA, although some may be more skeptical than others that al Qaeda is included among these groups, much less cooperating with Hizballah in the region. Francis X. Taylor, the Department of State’s coordinator for counterterrorism, told Congress on October 10, 2001, that the TBA has “...the longstanding presence of Islamic extremist organizations, primarily Hizballah, and, to a lesser extent, the Sunni extremist groups, such as the al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya (Egyptian Islamic Group) and Hamas.”40 Taylor noted that the activities of these organizations include fund-raising and proselytizing among the zone’s Middle Eastern population, as well as document forging, money laundering, contraband 37 “Al-Qaeda and Argentina,” Jane’s Intelligence Digest, October 26, 2001; Ed Blanche, “Al-Qaeda Link to Buenos Aires Bombings Emerges; Phone Call to Embassy in Riyadh Opens Can of Worms,” The Daily Star [Beirut; Internet
version-www], October 29, 2001, an transcribed by FBIS Document ID: GMP20011030000033,
“Al-Qa'ida Link to Argentine Bombings Seen; Mughniyah ‘Ordered out of Iran’,” October 29, 2001. 38 Raul Kollmann, “Report on Interview with an Unidentified ‘Government Spokesman,’” Pagina/12 [Buenos Aires; Internet version-www], January 19, 2003, as translated for FBIS, “Responsibility for Argentine-Jewish Center
Bombing Attributed to Iran,” January 19, 2003, FBIS Document ID: LAP20030119000009. 39 ABC Color [Internet version-www], June 9, 2003, as translated by FBIS Document ID: LAP20030609000051, “Paraguay: Argentine Courts Link Barakat to Iranian Leaders,” June 9, 2003 40Anthony Faiola, “U.S. Terrorist Search Reaches Paraguay; Black Market Border Hub Called Key Finance Center for Middle East Extremists,” Washington Post, October 13, 2001, A21.
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15Osama bin Laden spent three
days in Foz do Iguaçu.
Source: Reuters, from Veja,
March 19, 2003. smuggling, and weapons and drug trafficking. The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) apparently shares that assessment. In the same hearing, a U.S. Congressman pointed out that “Open-source reporting indicates that the FBI claims that Islamic extremist cells linked with Hizballah, Islamic Jihad, and al Qaeda are operating in Paraguay, Uruguay, and Ecuador.”41 Mark Davidson, spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Asunción, affirmed on May 22, 2002, that the TBA is indisputably an area from which Islamic terrorist groups are financed by means of money derived from illicit activities, but he, like Taylor, omitted mention of al Qaeda. Al Qaeda reportedly has had an interest and a presence in the TBA since at least the mid-1990s. Osama bin Laden reportedly visited Foz do Iguaçu in 1995 (the specific month is unclear), according to Veja, a leading Brazilian newsweekly. Veja, citing an anonymous high official of the Brazilian Intelligence Agency (Agência Brasileira de Inteligência—Abin), reported that a 28-minute videotape shows bin Laden participating in meetings at a mosque in the area during his visit.42 Al Qaeda’s Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is also believed to have visited the TBA that December.43 Mohammed also reportedly returned to the Foz do Iguaçu area in 1998.44 There have been indications that terrorist elements with possible al Qaeda connections have used mosques in the TBA for plotting or recruitment purposes. CNN reported that two 41 “Prepared Statement of Representative Cass Ballenger, Chairman, Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, U.S. House of Representatives.” Transcript of House Western Hemisphere Subcommittee Hearing, October 10,
2001. Center for International Policy, Columbia Project. [http://www.ciponline.org/colombia/101001.htm] 42 “Bin Laden Reportedly Spent Time in Brazil in '95,” Washington Post, March 18, 2003, A24; “Bin Laden esteve em Foz do Iguaçu e até deu palestra em mesquita [Bin Laden Was in Foz do Iguaçu and Even Gave A Lecture in A
Mosque], O Estado de São Paulo, March 16, 2003. [Estadao.com: http://www.estado.estadao.com.br/editorias/2003/03/16/int026.html]; and Policarpo Junior, “Ele esteve no Brasil” [He Was in Brazil], Veja on-line, no. 1,794, March 19, 2003. [http://veja.abril.com.br/190303/p_058.html] 43 Reuters, “Bin Laden Reportedly Spent Time in Brazil in ’95,” Washington Post, March 18, 2003, A24; and O Estado de São Paulo [Internet version-www], March 9, 2003, as translated for FBIS, “Brazil: Terrorist Khalid
Sheikh Mohamed's Passage Through Brazil Reported,” FBIS Document ID: LAP20030308000052, March 9, 2003;
and A Gazeta do Iguaçu, March 10, 2003, 2, as translated by FBIS, Document ID: LAP20030311000123 “Brazilian
Police: Khalid Shaykh Visit to Tri-border in 1995 Unconfirmed,” March 10, 2003. 44 Kevin G. Hall, “Accused al-Qaida Terrorist Spent time in Brazil, Police Say,” Knight Ridder Tribune News Service [Washington], March 13, 2003, 1.
Library of Congress – Federal Research Division Tri-Border Area (TBA)

16mosques in Foz do Iguaçu and one in Ciudad del Este are reportedly suspected by international and regional intelligence sources of involvement in terrorist activity and serving as revolving doors for Islamic extremists.45 Argentine intelligence documents show links between the mosques and various terror groups, including Hizballah and Egypt's al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya and Islamic Jihad.46 Argentine security forces have identified Sheik Mounir Fadel, spiritual leader of Ciudad del Este's main mosque, as a senior Hizballah member.47 By mid-1999, the SIDE (Secretariat for State Intelligence) was investigating Islamic extremist groups in the TBA that allegedly were operating under the orders of Osama bin Laden.48 The SIDE investigation resulted from a shared belief that Iran was no longer the only concern in regard to terrorist cells operating in Ciudad del Este and Foz do Iguaçu. That conviction was based on information from the SIDE’s own files and from other intelligence services, which reported that bin Laden’s al Qaeda had gained ground in the TBA as a result of Iran’s partial withdrawal from the important Arab community in the area, thanks to Iranian President Mohamed Khatami.49 In 1999 SIDE agents began taping telephone calls made by Islamic extremists in Ciudad del Este and Foz do Iguaçu to the Middle East and secretly filming meetings of the Shi'ite and minority Sunni groups who were part of the huge Moslem population in the TBA.50 As a result of this surveillance, the SIDE reported that al Qaeda agents had been identified in the TBA.51 Coordinated police operations conducted in the three TBA cities on December 22, 1999, reportedly thwarted a plot by TBA-based terrorists under the control of Osama bin Laden and Hizballah leader Imad Mouniagh to stage simultaneous attacks on Jewish targets in Ciudad del Este, Buenos Aires, and Ottawa, Canada, in an attempt to undermine the Middle East peace 45 Harris Whitbeck and Ingrid Arneson, “Sources: Terrorists Find Haven in South America,” CNN, November 7, 2001. [http://www.cnn.com/2001/WORLD/americas/11/07/inv.terror.south/index.html] 46 Whitbeck and Arneson. 47 Peter Hudson , “There Are No Terrorists Here,” Newsweek, November 19, 2001. 48 Daniel Santoro, Clarín [Buenos Aires; an Independent, tabloid-format daily; highest-circulation newspaper, Internet version], July 18, 1999, as translated for FBIS, “Bin Laden's Followers in Triborder Area Probed,” July 19,
1999 (FBIS, WA1907180899). 49 Santoro, Clarín. 50Daniel Santoro, Clarín, September 16, 2001, 8-9, as translated for FBIS, “Argentine Intelligence Services' 1999 Report on Usamah Bin-Ladin's Agents in Triborder Area Viewed,” September 16, 2001 (FBIS
LAP20010916000021). 51 Mario Daniel Montoya, “War on Terrorism Reaches Paraguay’s Triple Border,” Jane’s Intelligence Review, 13, No. 12, December 2001, 12; and Daniel Santoro, Clarín, September 16, 2001, 8-9, as translated for FBIS,
“Argentine Intelligence Services' 1999 Report on Usamah Bin-Ladin's Agents in Triborder Area Viewed,”
September 16, 2001 (FBIS LAP20010916000021).
Library of Congress – Federal Research Division Tri-Border Area (TBA)

17process.52 Individuals rounded up but later released included operatives of Hamas and Hizballah, as well as a suspected Iranian intelligence agent. In order to escape the SIDE investigation, the top alleged Hizballah and al Qaeda agents involved—Hezballah’s Assad Ahmad Barakat and the Muslim Brotherhood’s or Al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya’s Mohamed Ali Aboul-Ezz Al-Mahdi Ibrahim Soliman—reportedly left Ciudad del Este and Foz do Iguaçu, but both were later arrested.53 The SIDE also reported a significant shift in the Muslim terrorist groups in the TBA after 1999.54 Pro-Iranian Shi’ite terrorist organizations, such as the Islamic Jihad and the Lebanese Hizballah faction, who had normally worked separately from the orthodox Sunnites and followed instructions from Iran, had begun to cooperate and maintain contact.55 This shift appeared to follow factional infighting among moderate and radical Hizballah adherents in the TBA and perhaps suggested that al Qaeda had taken advantage of the tensions to recruit new acolytes.56 As some of the influence of the Iranians and Hizballah on the various Islamic groups in the TBA faded, the smaller groups, according to the SIDE, began supporting bin Laden by collecting funds, indoctrinating others, giving refuge to fugitives, and offering basic military training, such as how to build homemade bombs.57 The SIDE’s reports reportedly were received with skepticism by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Israel’s Mossad.58 One of the smaller Shi’ite extremist groups operating in the TBA is Al-Muqawamah al-Islamiyah, or Islamic Resistance. The shadowy Al-Muqawamah appears to be a principal pro-Iran section of Hizballah whose members live normal lives in sleeper cells but become 52 Special Correspondents Vladimir Jara Vera and Dany Ortiz, ABC Color [Asunción; Internet version; major daily, opposed to the González Macchi administration; owner Aldo Zuccolillo is an influential Oviedo Supporter of former
General Oviedo], December 23, 1999, as translated for FBIS, “Police Conduct Operation to Intimidate Islamic
Extremists,” FBIS ID: FTS19991223001521, December 23, 1999. 53 Jara Vera and Dany Ortiz, ABC Color. 54 Tânia Monteiro, DPA, EFE, and France Presse, “Tríplice fronteira tinha agentes sauditas, diz "Clarín" [TriBorder has Saudi agents, Clarín says], Estadão Website, September 17, 2001. 55Daniel Santoro, Clarín [Internet version], July 18, 1999, as translated for FBIS, “Bin Laden's Followers in Triborder Area Probed,” July 19, 1999 (FBIS, WA1907180899). 56 Comp. A. William Samii, “Competition Among South American Hizballah Resumes,” Iran Report [RFE/RL], July 17, 2000, 3, No. 27, citing ABC Color, July 12, 2000; Iran Report [RFE/RL], January 10, 2000; and
“Competition Among South American Hizballah,” RFE/RL, February 6, 2002, translating ABC Color, January 5,
2002; URL: http://www.rferl.org/iran-report/2000/01/2-100100.html. 57 Daniel Santoro, Clarín, September 16, 2001, 8-9, as translated for FBIS, “Argentine Intelligence Services' 1999 Report on Usamah Bin-Ladin's Agents in Triborder Area Viewed,” September 16, 2001 (FBIS
LAP20010916000021). 58 Santoro.
Library of Congress – Federal Research Division Tri-Border Area (TBA)

18 Salah Abdul Karim Yassine
under arrest in Uruguay
Source: Cromos [Bogotá],
September 24, 2001 combatants when mobilized.59 In early 2000, Brazilian and Paraguayan experts obtained photographs of Arab extremists taken at the Al-Mukawama training camp (see Fayad, Sobhi Mahmoud, Appendix), possibly located at a farm outside Foz do Iguaçu.60 The men in the photos included several businessmen. They were photographed beside an Iranian flag and a flag from al-Muqawamah, a shadowy pro-Iran wing of Hizballah. Another photograph is said to show a Hizballah leader reading a letter from Imad Mounigh, presumably wanted Hizballah activist Imad Mughniyah.61 Argentine intelligence officials reportedly believe that Hizballah runs weekend training camps on farms in the remote jungle terrain near Foz do Iguaçu, where young adults are recruited and given weapons training and children are indoctrinated in Hizballah ideology.62 In late 2000, at least one known TBA-based terrorist was involved in a plot to attack the U.S. and Israeli embassies in Asunción along with 30 other Islamic terrorists, who would carry out diversionary attacks elsewhere in the city in order to distract security forces.63 On November 28, 2000, Paraguayan authorities arrested Salah Abdul Karim Yassine, a Palestinian and suspected Hamas explosives expert who had entered the country using false documents and was living in Ciudad del Este.64 Yassine was being investigated for his suspected affiliation with an Egyptian terrorist organization.65 It was found that he was involved in the plot, and he was sentenced 59 Sami G. Hajjar, Hizballah: Terrorism, National Liberation, or Menace? Carlisle, Pennsylvania: Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army Wall College, August 2002. [http://216.239.57.100/search?q=cache:l1y-v-
VhCqYJ:www.carlisle.army.mil/ssi/pubs/2002/hizbala/hizbala.pdf+al-Muqawamah&hl=en&ie=UTF-8] 60 ABC Color [Internet version-www], January 16, 2002, as translated for FBIS, “Paraguay: Court Investigates Hizballah Base Photos” (FBIS, LAP20020116000091). 61 London Bureau Roundup of Terrorism Issues/Developments in the Mideast/Islamic World and the Aegean derived from sources monitored by FBIS, “Latin America: Islamic Fundamentalists in Colombia, Paraguay,”
January 10, 2002 (FBIS GMP20020109000400). 62 Jeffrey Goldberg, “In the Party of God,” The New Yorker, 79, No. 32, October 28, 2002. 63 Bartolomé, 11, citing “Un presunto jefe de grupo terrorista árabe fue detenido” [A presumed head of an Arab terrorist group was detained], Noticias, November 30, 2000. 64 Patterns of Global Terrorism, 2000, Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism, April 30, 2001; Nelson Fredy Padilla, “Los hombres de Osama bin Laden en Colombia” [The Men of Osama bin Laden in Colombia] Cromos, No.
4, 364, September 24, 2001; and Pedro Doria, “Terrorismo aqui no lado” (Terrorism Here Next Door),
www.No.com.br, November 30, 2000. 65 Bartolomé, 11.
Library of Congress – Federal Research Division Tri-Border Area (TBA)

19 Intelligence sources say this mosque in Ciudad
del Este is a revolving door for extremists.
Source: CNN.com, November 8, 2001 to a four-year prison term on charges of possessing false documents and entering the country illegally. Despite increased surveillance by security forces in the region, the TBA is probably still used by Islamic terrorist groups as a fund-raising center and as a base for plotting, coordinating, or otherwise supporting terrorist attacks against U.S. and Israeli targets in the Americas. Al Qaeda operatives in the TBA reportedly were connected to a foiled al Qaeda plot to simultaneously attack the U.S. embassies in Montevideo, Uruguay, and Quito, Ecuador, in April 2001.66 On October 10, 2001, a group of ten terrorists identified as belonging to a Lebanese Hizballah cell was reportedly caught in Mexico City on its way to assassinate President Vicente Fox and carry out a terrorist attack in the Mexican Senate.67 The terrorists reportedly reached Mexico from the TBA, following a training session. The description of one of the instructors resembled Imad Mughniyah, who, working from his bases in Iran and Hizballah-controlled areas of Lebanon, reportedly directs the activities of Islamic terrorists in South America, including the TBA, in coordination with al Qaeda.68 U.S. authorities expressed concern in late 2001 over the possibility that lax immigration procedures in various Latin American countries have allowed terrorist “sleepers” to adopt new identities and to infiltrate into the United
66 Jose Meirelles Passos, "The Shadow of Bin Ladin in Latin America,” O Globo [Rio de Janeiro; Internet version-www], October 29, 2001, as translated for FBIS, “Brazil: Daily Notes US Views Triborder as Al-Qa'idah Center for
L.A.,” October 29, 2001 (FBIS LAP20011029000036). 67 DEBKAfile Exclusive, “New Direction in Search for Anthrax Culprit” [Jerusalem; DEBKAfile www], November 11, 2001, as transcribed by FBIS Document ID: MP20011111000147, “DEBKA Sources Say Iraqi Nuclear Devices
Ready for Arming, View Bin Ladin Threat,” November 11, 2001. 68 Mike Boettcher, “South America’s ‘Tri-border’ Back on Terrorism Radar,” CNN, November 8, 2002, citing “coalition intelligence sources.” [http://www.cnn.com/2002/WORLD/americas/11/07/terror.triborder/] For
discussions of al Qaeda-Hizballah links, see Yael Shahar, ICT Researcher, “Al-Qa'ida Links to Iranian Security
Services,” Herzliyya International Policy Institute for Counterterrorism [Tel Aviv; Internet version-www], January
20, 2003; and Lenny Ben-David, “Sunni and Shiite Terrorist Networks: Competition or Collusion?” Jerusalem Issue
Brief, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs [Jerusalem; Internet version-www], December 18, 2002, as transcribed by
FBIS Document ID: GMP20021225000066, “Israeli Expert Says International Terror Breaches Secular-Religious
Divide,” December 18, 2002.
Library of Congress – Federal Research Division Tri-Border Area (TBA)

20States, especially from Argentina. By 2001, investigators had come to believe that numerous Islamic terrorist “sleeper cells” had been established in Ciudad del Este and Foz do Iguaçu, as well as Uruguay’s Chuy since the 1990s.69 Based on an examination of telephone records, Argentine investigators in 2002 found “evidence of coordination between the TBA and sleeper cells in Buenos Aires.” Two main centers of activity were cited: the principal mosque in Foz do Iguaçu and a travel agency there.70 Paraguay’s Vice Interior Minister Mario Agustin Sapriza affirmed on May 3, 2001, that the TBA serves as a base of operations for dormant Islamic extremist cells linked to international terrorism.71 Sapriza explained that Hizballah, Hamas, and other terrorist organizations use this region to plan their actions, to obtain supplies, and to live for a certain period of time before launching new attacks in other countries. Argentina and Brazil have been less forthcoming in acknowledging the existence of sleeper cells in the TBA. Brazil’s Justice Minister José Gregori said in October 2001 that he had no “conclusive information” on al Qaeda cells in Brazil.72 However, Judge Walter Fanganiello Maierovitch, a money-laundering expert affiliated with the Giovanni Falconi Brazilian Criminal Sciences Institute, expressed an opposite viewpoint regarding al Qaeda in making the following points in a September 2001 O Globo interview:73 al Qaeda is establishing a base in the Arab community near Ciudad del Este. bin Laden is attempting to establish a presence in the TBA because al Qaeda’s terrorist activities are linked with the trafficking of arms, drugs, and uranium, as well as money laundering, in association with the Russian and Chinese mafias. bin Laden’s goal is to use religious entities as fronts for training terrorists and provide a hiding place for Islamic fugitives. 69 Bartolomé, 10, citing “Divergencias nas relações Brasília-Washington” (Differences in relations between Brasilia and Washington], Zero Hora, September 19, 2001; and La Nación [Buenos Aires], October 3, 2001, as translated for
FBIS, “National Border Guard Commander: Tri-Border Area Hotbed of Sleeper Cells,” October 3, 2001, FBIS
LAP20011003000015. 70 Larry Rohter, “South America Region Under Watch for Signs of Terrorists,” New York Times, December 15, 2002, 1A, 32. 71 ABC Color [Internet version-www], May 4, 2001, as translated for FBIS, “Paraguay: Vice Interior Minister Confirms Presence of ‘Dormant Islamic Terrorist Cells’,” FBIS Document ID: LAP20010505000002. 72 José Meirelles Passos, "The Shadow of Bin Ladin in Latin America,” O Globo [Internet version-www], October 29, 2001, as translated for FBIS, “Brazil: Daily Notes US Views Triborder as Al-Qa'idah Center for L.A.,” October
29, 2001 (FBIS, LAP20011029000036). 73Germano Oliveira, O Globo, September 19, 2001, as translated for FBIS, “Brazil’s Former Drug Czar: Bin-Ladin Establishing Al-Qa’idah Cell on Triborder,” September 19, 2001 (FBIS Document ID: LAP200109119000051).
Library of Congress – Federal Research Division Tri-Border Area (TBA)

21Mohamad Ali Aboul-Ezz Al-Mahdi Ibrahim Soliman
being arrested on April 15, 2002, in Foz do Iguaçu Source: ABC Color, July 8, 2002. bin Laden is recruiting members of the Hizballah group that bombed the Jewish community center (AMIA) in Buenos Aires in 1994. In early 2002, further suggesting al Qaeda’s presence in the TBA, the Paraguayan press reported that al Qaeda and other Islamic terrorist groups had established training camps and were talking of holding a secret terrorist summit meeting in the TBA.74 In early February, Paraguayan and foreign security forces as well as Brazilian, Argentine, Israeli, and U.S. agents searched the TBA, especially Ciudad del Este and Foz do Iguaçu, for five Afghan citizens who allegedly belong to the Taliban and are linked to al Qaeda, either as supporters or members.75 Each of the individuals allegedly was carrying three or four sets of different identity documents. Adding to concerns that Osama bin Laden's operatives were among those operating in the TBA, a map of the TBA was recovered from an al Qaeda safehouse in Kabul, Afghanistan in 2002.76 One individual suspected of being linked to Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda is Egyptian citizen Al-Mahdi Ibrahim Soliman, who was arrested on April 15, 2002, in Foz do Iguaçu, where he had been 74 Larry Rohter, “South America Region Under Watch for Signs of Terrorists,” New York Times, December 15, 2002, 1A, 32 75ABC Color Website, February 5, 2002, as cited by “International Security Forces Search for Five Afghan Fugitives in Paraguay,” BBC Monitoring Service [UK], February 5, 2002. 76 Larry Rohter, “South America Region Under Watch for Signs of Terrorists,” New York Times, December 15, 2002, 1A, 32
Library of Congress – Federal Research Division Tri-Border Area (TBA)

22living for seven years.77 He was arrested under charges filed by the Egyptian government that he is a member of a terrorist faction, namely Al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya, that carried out deadly attacks in several countries. Soliman earlier had been arrested in Foz do Iguaçu in 1999 on charges of dealing in contraband merchandise.78 In April 2002, Paraguayan reporters linked Assad Ahmad Barakat to Osama bin Laden by pointing out that Barakat was the owner of the Mondial (World) Engineering and Construction company, with offices in Ciudad del Este and Beirut. This company was suspected of having made contributions to al Qaeda, using money obtained from real estate fraud.79 Barakat was allegedly using the company to collect funds for al Qaeda by selling apartments in Beirut.80 For example, unidentified intelligence sources cited an authorization by Barakat, dated February 14, 2002, in Foz do Iguaçu ordering the transfer of an apartment for US$120,000 in Lebanon.81 Other unspecified front businesses created by Barakat are reportedly designed to channel funds to Osama bin Laden, under the pretext of charitable contributions to orphanages. Journalist Sebastian Junger, citing unidentified Argentine intelligence sources, reported in late 2000 that Ramzi bin al-Shibh, the al Qaeda leader who was arrested in Pakistan in 2002, “has known, confirmed contacts with a Lebanese businessman working in Ciudad del Este, Paraguay, and in Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil.”82 Whether Ramzi bin al-Shibh, who is in U.S. custody, has identified this businessman as Assad Ahmad Barakat is not known. In July 2002, the Paraguayan police arrested a pair of Lebanese men, Ali Nizar Darhoug, owner of two shops in Ciudad del Este, and his nephew, Muhammad Daoud Yassine, who were said to be raising funds for al Qaeda. Ali Nizar Darhoug’s name was reportedly found in an address book belonging to Abu Zubaydah, one of the highest-ranking al Qaeda officials to be 77 Mauri Konig, “Egípcio preso em Foz do Iguaçu” [Egyptian Arrested in Foz do Iguaçu], O Estado de São Paulo, April 16, 2002 [http://www.estado.estadao.com.br/editorias/2002/04/16/int002.html]; and Miriam Karam, São Paulo
Valor [financial daily, published jointly by the Folha and Globo media conglomerates; Internet version-www], May
20, 2002, as translated for FBIS, “Brazil: Federal Police Denies Presence of Terrorist Cells in Foz do Iguaçu,” FBIS
Document ID: LAP20020520000040. 78 AJB, “Terrorismo: Egípcio é capturado pela PF” [Terrorism: Egyptian Is Captured by PF], Correiro Braziliense [Brasília], April 16, 2002. [http://www2.correioweb.com.br/cw/EDICAO_20020416/pri_ult_160402_259.htm] 79 Bartolomé, 16, citing “Triple frontera: Empresa sería de Al-Qaeda” [Triborder: Company is linked to al Qaeda], Ámbito Financiero, April 30, 2002, 14. 80 “Barakat Continues To Collect For Hizballah,” Última Hora [Asunción], May 1, 2002, as translated by FBIS Document ID: LAP20020501000022, “Highlights: Paraguay Press,” May 1, 2002. 81 “Barakat Continues To Collect For Hizballah,” Última Hora [Asunción], May 1, 2002. 82 Sebastian Junger, “Terrorism's New Geography,” Vanity Fair, No. 508, December 2002, 196.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Truth Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 23 2009 at 10:48am
CIUDAD DEL ESTE, Paraguay (CNN) -- Deep in the heart of South America, the region where Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay meet has some of the most porous borders -- and busiest black markets -- in the world.

But more than just bootlegging is going on there, according to international intelligence sources.

Sources told CNN they believe the tri-border area is being used as a haven and source of funding for terrorists linked to Iran's Party of God and to organizations that work closely with Osama bin Laden.

In Ciudad del Este, on the Paraguayan side of the Parana River, the commercial district is a mosaic of businesses owned mostly by Arab merchants. International and regional intelligence sources said those businesses and a mosque in the city serve as a revolving door for Islamic extremists.

Across the river in Foz do Iguacu, Brazil, two more mosques are suspected of involvement in terrorist activity.

Argentine intelligence documents obtained by CNN map out what the intelligence sources said are links between the mosques and a laundry list of terror groups.



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They include Egypt's Al-Gama'at al-Islamiyya and Lebanese Hezbollah, both identified by the U.S. State Department as terrorist organizations linked to Osama bin Laden, and Egyptian Islamic Jihad, linked to Iran's Imad Mughniyah, who is on the U.S. list of most wanted terrorists.

Alleged front for Hezbollah

Argentine and Paraguayan prosecutors have identified another man, Assad Ahmad Barakat, as the regional operative for the Shiite extremist organization Hezbollah.

The prosecutors believe Barakat, who is on the run after an international warrant was issued against him last month, is a major player in the 1992 bombing of the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires and in the 1994 bombing of the Jewish Community Center in the Argentine capital.

Barakat is co-owner of Galeria Page, one of Ciudad del Este's biggest shopping malls, which intelligence sources said they believe he has used as a front for raising funds and recruiting volunteers for Hezbollah.

And Argentine police are seeking one of his tenants in the mall, Samuel Salman Al Reda Reda, for his alleged involvement in the Buenos Aires embassy bombing.

Ten days after the September 11 attacks, Paraguayan police raided several businesses in Ciudad del Este, rounding up 20 suspects, 14 of whom were later released.

On a second raid in October, Paraguayan police attempted to capture Barakat, who evaded arrest and is believed to be hiding in Brazil or to have escaped to Lebanon.

Link between pirated CDs, terrorism alleged


Authorities identify Assad Ahmad Barakat as the regional operative for Hezbollah.     
Two of his associates, Mazen Ali Saleh and Saleh Mahoud Fayoud, were arrested and charged with falsifying immigration documents and dealing in pirated compact discs.

In the raid of their Ciudad del Este apartment, the police found more than 60 hours of videotapes, propaganda for Hezbollah and copies of speeches referring to Al Moqawama -- a Party of God cell active on the Brazilian side of the tri-border.

And a brother of Mazem Saleh was arrested in February in the United States for pirating compact discs. He was convicted October 25.

Prosecutor Carlos Calcenas said he believes the pirate CD business is underwriting terrorist activities and that Barakat is just one of dozens of Arab merchants who operate fronts in the tri-border region for terrorism-related activities.

To make their case, prosecutors pointed to hundreds of millions of dollars of transactions that they said are used to support terrorism. Bank documents obtained by CNN show money transfers made by Barakat's associates to banks in New York.

Spokesman: Arabs 'unfairly targeted'

Leaders of the local Arab community denied the businesses are fronts for terror organizations and said they are unfairly targeted because they are Arabs.

The spokesman for the Arab community in Ciudad del Este, Samir Jebai, insisted his community has nothing to do with international terrorism.

"We came here fleeing the war in 1973 in Lebanon," he said, noting he wanted to be in a country where he could study, work and raise a family in peace.

"This is a very small community, where we all know each other, and if there was some activity, we would know about it. We trust the investigation and are ready to help in any way we can."

Sheik Munir Fahdel is the leader of Ciudad del Este's Prophet Mohamed Mosque, one of the mosques accused by Argentine intelligence of being associated with Hezbollah. He said he is angry at the accusations and said Hezbollah is a legitimate religious and political organization.

Paraguayan intelligence sources said they had been warning the United States about the activities of Middle East terror groups in the tri-border region for more than a year. In July 2000, the Paraguayans warned that 460 Hezbollah operatives may be living and working in the region.
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Pakistani Forces Deploy in New Region Infiltrated by Taliban

By Barry Newhouse
Islamabad
23 April 2009

Militants in Pakistan have ambushed paramilitary forces who were being rushed to a region near the capital that was recently overrun by Taliban forces from the nearby Swat valley. Witnesses say gunmen in Buner district, killed at least one of the paramilitary troops. Despite the latest clashes, political leaders say they continue to favor diplomacy in dealing with the militants.

Troops take up key positions

Locals in Buner district, which is only about 100 kilometers from the Pakistani capital, say security forces began arriving Wednesday, taking up positions around government buildings and key roads. It is unclear how many additional forces have been ordered to Buner. Local officials say as many as eight platoons, or about 400 paramilitary troops have arrived in the mountainous region.

Sher Akbar, a retired lawmaker who represented Buner in parliament, tells VOA that Taliban fighters are now patrolling parts of the district and local police have not been seen in public.

Taliban controls Buner

continued here
 
 
 
 
After control in Malakand division, now Taliban are close to capital city of Islamabad..!!! A report from ARY OneWorld TV
 
 
VIDEO
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