No Isolationism For You, America

 

I sometimes get the feeling that I’m being told–not in so many words–“Claire, come on. Who cares what’s happening in Syria–did you see those unemployment numbers? We can’t worry about anything but the economy right now. We have to get our own house in order first.” 

Unfortunately, the world isn’t going to wait for that. From the LulzSec document drop: Arizona Police Say Hezbollah is in Mexico:

Based on a study done by Georgetown University, the number of immigrants from Lebanon and Syria living in Mexico exceeds 200,000. Along with Iran, Syria is one of Hezbollah’s strongest financial and political supporters, and Lebanon is its country of origin.

In July of this year, Mexican authorities arrested Jameel Nasr in Tijuana, Baja California. Nasr was alleged to be tasked with establishing the Hezbollah network in Mexico and throughout South America. In April of last year, the arrest of Jamal Yousef – in New York City – exposed a weapons cache of 100 M- 16 assault rifles, 100 AR-15 rifles, 2,500 hand grenades, C4 explosives and antitank munitions. According to Yousef, the weapons, which were being stored in Mexico, had been stolen from Iraq with the help of his cousin who was a member of Hezbollah.

With the arrest of Jameel Nasr and Jamal Yousef, obvious concerns have arisen concerning Hezbollah’s presence in Mexico and possible ties to Mexican drug trafficking organizations (DTO’s) operating along the U.S. – Mexico border. The potential partnership bares alarming implications due to Hezbollah’s long established capabilities, specifically their expertise in the making of vehicle borne improvised explosive devises (VBIED’s).

Recent incidents involving the use of VBIED’s in Mexico mark a significant change in tactics employed by DTO’s and conjures images expected to be seen in the Middle East. While no connection has been made, Hezbollah’s extensive use of VBIED’s raises strong suspicion concerning a possible relation to Mexico’s DTO’s.

In other words, if you think what’s happening in Syria is happening to far-away people of whom we know nothing, think again. This can’t be back-burnered, it’s happening now. 

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  1. Profile Photo Inactive
    @CoolHand

    So, are you pressing for us to open a another (fourth, fifth, whatever, I’ve lost count) front in our seemingly infinite middle eastern excursion, or what?

    ‘Cause from where I’m setting, other than Tough Talk™, that seems like the only other option we have.

    Is it your contention that we should fight Assad in Syria so we don’t have to fight him in Arizona? That’s a reasonable suggestion, but I wonder whether Assad is really central to the existence of Hezbollah.

    What I mean by that, is that they’re principally financed by the Iranians, and they obvious do their bidding (as does Assad), so what effect would the loss of what is for all intents and purposes a middle manager have on Hezbollah’s ability to create mischief here or abroad?

    If I were to make a kludgey analogy, sacking the shift supervisor at a Ford plant does not render the men on the line unable to assemble cars, because the managers from the level above the one who was sacked can easily step in and lead in the interim.

    Assad is the shift supervisor, Hezbollah is the line workers, and Iran is upper management.

    • #1
  2. Profile Photo Editor
    @Claire
    CoolHand: Cause from where I’m setting, other than Tough Talk™, that seems like the only other option we have.

    We have a lot of options. Start with former Ambassador Ginsburg’s suggestions. Then consider this. And recognize that “Leave it alone, it’s awful but it doesn’t affect us” is fantasy. It’s not “realism” to say that, it’s ignoring reality. Hezbollah is the foreign-policy arm of the Iran-Syria axis. It’s on our border. The Assad regime is imploding. Hezbollah will go into Apocalypse mode when that happens. So how do we not end up involved in this? I appreciate the argument, “Don’t stir up a hornet’s nest,” but the nest has pretty much been thrown off a cliff already. In between “off the cliff” and “hitting the ground” it might not seem so bad, but it’s not realism to expect that gravity won’t do what it usually does.

    • #2
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    @TheMugwump

    I sincerely hope the CIA has agents over the border in Mexico collecting the appropriate intel. There will come a day when the only solution will be a cross-border incursion by the US military to clean out the drug gangs and terrorist infiltrators. And I don’t give a hoot for the sentiments of Mexican politicians who are up to their elbows in narco-cash. A border without order is no border at all.

    • #3
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    @Schwaibold

    A militarized southern border sounds pretty good right about now.

    • #4
  5. Profile Photo Inactive
    @NickStuart

    Synopsis of Ginsberg’s plan:

    • toss out the door the administration’s increasingly shopworn view that Assad will prevail through the point of a gun in the long run.
    • choke off Syria’s oil exports
    • encirclement by human rights monitors and the UN’s Tribunal,
    • support the Syrian political protest movement

    That’ll work, I especially like the UN Tribunal bit. We’re going to use what, a naval blockade to choke off Syria’s oil exports? It didn’t work against Saddam Hussein.

    We lack the conviction to police our own border, what are we really going to do about Syria?

    • #5
  6. Profile Photo Inactive
    @NickStuart

    Besides, it’s those evil plutocrats riding around in tax-breaked corporate jets who are causing all our problems.

    • #6
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    @EllieP
    What about the camp that pushes MORE isolationism (bring military home from middle-east and put them on the borders) as the answer?The migration of Hezbollah over our southern borders – even up from Venezuelan training camps – is at least a three-year-old problem. I agree with those who say no ‘defense’ will happen except in answer to a really big explosion. As Paul Ryan and others say of the debt, this is a most predictable catastrophe about which nothing is being done.
    • #7
  8. Profile Photo Member
    @Sisyphus

    But, the border is more secure now than at any time in history!

    Clearly, America needs gun control so that only the drug cartels and Islamist militias that get their weapons from Uncle Sam are armed. That can’t go wrong.

    487 days until the experts all say they knew Bachmann had the stuff to win all along.

    • #8
  9. Profile Photo Editor
    @Claire
    Nick Stuart: going to use what, a naval blockade to choke off Syria’s oil exports? It didn’t work against Saddam Hussein.

    Although there are some similarities in the situations, there are some very significant disanalogies, too. I’ll return to this–you’re asking a good question, but I’m going to wait to answer it, because this weekend I’ll be interviewing some Syrian refugees who may be able to give me a more up-to-date perspective than we’re getting in the news. Maybe. Let’s see.

    • #9
  10. Profile Photo Inactive
    @CoolHand

    There’s been a running series on Big Peace about this very thing.

    A group of ex US military guys have been hiking up and down the border doing a general recon of the area and getting a first hand look at what is really happening down there.

    The picture is not pretty.

    Remote manned spotting posts with high powered glass and long range shooters, highly skilled and well trained scouts that precede the drug mules, way points on their side and ours where camp is made and provisions are cached, arabic writing spray painted on rocks at these way points, pamphlets in arabic found in the garbage dumps of the way points, and an overall lack of ability for LE on our side to do anything about any of it.

    Essentially, we have a private version of Mexican Special Forces occupying large areas inside three US states. They are well trained, well equipped, disciplined, and have no compunction about using deadly force. They also have in their number at least one person who reads/writes arabic and knows how to use a copy machine and a spray can. It also appears that others who read arabic use those routes as well (why write anything in big type on a rock if it’s just for your own use).

    All this is happening and yet, LE is basically unable/unwilling (I’m not sure which) to respond in any meaningful way.

    If/when another major attack happens, this will be how they got into the country.

    • #10
  11. Profile Photo Member
    @

    Claire, for the first time, I have absolutely no idea what point you’re trying to make.

    • #11
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    @JohnGrant

    Claire,

    You make a very powerful case for why what is happening in Syria is of very real importance to us.

    But the Ginsburg plan, which is the most sane thing I have seen yet, is really not useful. I don’t see how it is wise to take action to remove the Assad regime with no plan in place for the future. It seems to me we have to start defining victory clearly. We have avoided doing that since at least 1945.

    There is nothing good about the Assad regime. That being said, how do we know that the next regime will be better and not worse for us or for the Syrian people? I am not saying that it is impossible to know, but I have yet to see an argument from anyone with a plan about what _better_ is in this situation and how we get there.

    • #12
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    @AaronMiller

    As I said months ago when Hezbollah’s presence in Mexico was first reported, our enemies in the Middle East would benefit from the emergence of a de facto narco-terrorist state along the Rio Grande. It doesn’t matter if Mexico and the United States refuse to formally recognize that independent state (which simply buys off border officials, rather than makes them wear snazzy cartel uniforms).

    Hezbollah gets loads of money, fresh recruits and a Trojan horse (Tijuana burro, if you prefer). The cartels get weapons, training and powerful political allies. The OIC, South American dictators, China, Russia and North Korea gain a strategic military advantage against the U.S., should they ever need it.

    Everybody wins!

    That said, how does trouble in Syria make that situation worse? If anything, wouldn’t troubles for Hezbollah in Asia mean Hezbollah operatives in Mexico might become more independent, and so more likely to assimilate into the cartels and prefer making blood money to killing infidels?

    • #13
  14. Profile Photo Member
    @
    Aaron Miller: As I said months ago when Hezbollah’s presence in Mexico was first reported, our enemies in the Middle East would benefit from the emergence of a de facto narco-terrorist state along the Rio Grande. It doesn’t matter if Mexico and the United States refuse to formally recognize that independent state (which simply buys off border officials, rather than makes them wear snazzy cartel uniforms).

    Hezbollah gets loads of money, fresh recruits and a Trojan horse (Tijuana burro, if you prefer). The cartels get weapons, training and powerful political allies. The OIC, South American dictators, China, Russia and North Korea gain a strategic military advantage against the U.S., should they ever need it.

    Everybody wins!

    That said, how does trouble in Syria make that situation worse? If anything, wouldn’t troubles for Hezbollah in Asia mean Hezbollah operatives in Mexico might become more independent, and so more likely to assimilate into the cartels and prefer making blood money to killing infidels? · Jul 8 at 9:44pm

    You ask a profound and important question. And I’m sure the ATF and the FBI are right on top of it.

    • #14
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    @StevenZoraster

    A reader of B Traven novels will remember that Lebanese have been traders in Mexico for over 80 years. How many recent immigrants are seriously Islamic is unknown. Many may be Christians driven out of Lebanon.

    Doing nothing about Syria is reasonable because we can not predict the results or blowback from any particular policy choices. Claire: Any idea what Israel hopes the Syrian outcome will be?

    If we want to get involved in another war in that part of the world, help Southern Sudan. A shocking rollback for Arab Islam is a good thing. I think this could be achieved at a cost much lower than our libyan adventure. But I could be convinced that it would only get us in the middle of more civil strife far from home.

    • #15
  16. Profile Photo Member
    @

    This sounds much like the Bill Ayers Prairie Fire adaption with Arabs in place of the Vietnamese.

    If you don’t already own a gun, get one.

    • #16
  17. Profile Photo Inactive
    @JohnMarzan

    Nothing will happen until something happens. This will be ignored by the press and Obama until something explodes…

    • #17
  18. Profile Photo Inactive
    @CoolHand
    Aelreth: If you don’t already own a gun, get one.

    I’ll offer an oft used phrase in the prepping community: Two is one, one is none.

    At a bare minimum you need a rifle and a pistol, preferably both semi-auto and in fairly large common calibers. You also need ammunition and magazines for both, about three times what seems prudent initially.

    Then you gotta learn how to use them. That’s the fun part. Killing boxes and sodie cans is a hoot, and a real stress buster.

    And again (though it pains me) I’ll agree with Kenneth, in that I don’t see how Syrian civil war makes Hezbollah on our border better or worse.

    As far as I’m concerned, it bad either way, and yet more proof that we should not cast our gaze so far afield that we miss the things happening around our ankles.

    • #18
  19. Profile Photo Editor
    @Claire
    Kenneth: Claire, for the first time, I have absolutely no idea what point you’re trying to make. · Jul 8 at 9:15pm

    Glad it’s only the first time. My point is that we can’t just say, “Well, that’s Syria’s problem, we wash our hands of it, we’re broke.” Syria’s militias are on our border, and the Syrian regime is melting down. Have a look at the way we’re talking about this and tell me if you think we’re dealing in reality.

    • #19
  20. Profile Photo Editor
    @Claire

    (Continued … )

    QUESTION: Sorry. Yeah. One more. I mean, we keep asking the same question again and again, and I don’t think we have a satisfactory answer so far about what exactly do you – what is the policy at the moment towards Syria? I mean, you say that the U.S. has made very clear that it supports the Syrian people’s right to express their views freely, that President Asad has to lead the transition or get out of the way, but this has been going on for months. I mean, how much longer is this going to go on? How much longer is it okay for the Syrian authorities to kill their people?

    MS. NULAND: Well, it’s obviously not okay, and we’ve made clear that it’s not okay. In terms of what we’re looking to see, we’re looking to see an end to the violence, we’re looking to see troops return to their barracks, we’re looking to see peaceful protestors wherever they are in Syria allowed to express their views, and we’re looking to see a real dialogue in Syria about a democratic transition.

    • #20
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    @JosephEagar

    I do believe we’ll be seeing American nation-building in Mexico in a year or two. Great. See what open borders and protectionism gets you? Drug cartels ruling half the country, and now Hezbelloh is getting in the act.

    I’ll be surprised if this doesn’t end in an American military intervention and occupation.

    • #21
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    @StevenZoraster
    Joseph Eagar: ….

    I’ll be surprised if this doesn’t end in an American military intervention and occupation. · Jul 9 at 5:20pm

    I fear you are right. God help us if you are. There are more people in Mexico than in Iraq and Afghanistan combined. A hard country and a hard people.

    • #22
  23. Profile Photo Editor
    @Claire
    Steven Zoraster: Doing nothing about Syria is reasonable because we can not predict the results or blowback from any particular policy choices.

    Doing nothing is a policy choice.

    • #23
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