At the end of last year, Israel’s Ynet News ran an article headlined ‘Hezbollah’s cocaine Jihad’. Eldad Beck, reporting from Mexico, described Chiapas as ‘a hub of radical Islamist activity’. The piece was quickly taken up by Pamela Geller and other like-minded commentators.
‘Official data suggests that Mexico is home to some 4000 Muslims,’ Beck writes. ‘Theoretically, this is a negligible number, but it is enough to cause concern in the United States – and Israel should be concerned as well.’ (The reason why is taken as read.) What’s more,
US intelligence indicates that Mexico is home to some 200,000 Syrian and Lebanese immigrants – most of them illegal – who were able to cross the border via an extensive web of contacts with drug cartels… These cartel contacts smuggle illegal immigrants – including individuals affiliated with Iran, Hezbollah, al-Qaeda and other radical Islamist groups – into Mexico, placing them a virtual stone’s-throw away from the United States.
According to the Ynet report – a welter of innuendo and non sequitur based variously on information attributed to ‘Western intelligence agencies’, ‘US officials’ and a ‘local businessman’ in Chiapas ‘who asked to remain anonymous’ – Hezbollah’s activities in Mexico include establishing sleeper cells and training bases, ‘helping drug lords improve their bomb-making skills’ and digging tunnels under the Mexico-US border. ‘Satellite images show that they are nearly identical to the maze of tunnels running under the Gaza-Egypt border,’ Beck says, but doesn’t explain how to go about obtaining satellite images of something underground or what Hezbollah has to do with the tunnels between Gaza and Egypt.
Islamic terror outfits are ‘eager to execute attacks against American, Israeli, Jewish and western targets’, but the primary purpose of their partnership with the Mexican cartels is ‘to make money, so they can fund their nefarious aspirations’. Enter Ayman Joumaa, a Lebanese citizen indicted in 2011 by a federal grand jury in Virginia and described by the US Treasury last summer as the head of a network that ‘launders the proceeds of drug trafficking for the benefit of criminals and the terrorist group Hezbollah’. (And no, he wasn’t the CEO of HSBC.) The historian and investigative journalist Gareth Porter told me:
The problem with the kind of declarations issued by US officials vaguely claiming financial links between an alleged drug lord and Hezbollah is that they are completely lacking in transparency. In the absence of more clear-cut evidence, one must suspect that the alleged link is nothing more than having some dealings with the same bank in Beirut.
But then Joumaa (and Hezbollah) may be the least of America’s worries. Beck goes on:
The US’ concern about the smuggling tunnels increased exponentially in 2009, when a Department of Homeland Security wiretap derived a recording of Professor Abdallah Nafisi, a Kuwaiti clergyman and a known al-Qaeda recruiter, boasting about the ease by which nonconventional warfare and weapons of mass destruction can be smuggled into the US, through the Mexican drug tunnels. ‘Ten pounds of anthrax in a medium-size suitcase, carried by a Jihad warrior through the tunnels can kill 300,000 Americans in one hour,’ he said. ‘It will make 9/11 look like peanuts. There’s no need for plans… Just one courageous man, to spread this confetti on the White House lawn.’
One deluded fantasy, it seems, deserves another.