[News] Israel and Paraguay: Two Peas in a Counterterror Pod?

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Wed Sep 21 11:39:35 EDT 2016


http://www.telesurtv.net/english/opinion/Israel-and-Paraguay-Two-Peas-in-a-Counterterror-Pod-20160920-0008.html 



  Israel and Paraguay: Two Peas in a Counterterror Pod?

September 20, 2016

Israel and Paraguay are working together to fight Hezbollah – in South 
America's Tri-Border Area?

While attending the 2009 General Assembly of the Organization of 
American States in Honduras, then-Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny 
Ayalon sounded the alarm 
<http://mfa.gov.il/MFA/PressRoom/2009/Pages/Deputy_FM_Ayalon_interviews_Latin_America_3-Jun-2009.aspx>: 
“We know that there are flights from Caracas via Damascus to Tehran.”

Although flight routes by now have presumably been altered on account of 
the war in Syria, the possibility of air travel between Latin America 
and Iran continues to serve as one of the pillars of alleged evidence 
that the Islamic Republic has “penetrated 
<https://www.amazon.com/Irans-Strategic-Penetration-Latin-America/dp/0739182668>” 
the Western Hemisphere with its usual aims of bringing destabilization 
and terror to the United States’ “doorstep 
<http://www.foreignpolicyi.org/content/fpi-bulletin-iran-renews-ties-latin-america>.” 


Other bits of “proof” of nefarious meddling include the fact that Iran 
happens to maintain various embassies 
<http://english.aawsat.com/2016/08/article55357188/joseph-humire-irans-embassies-latin-america-function-intelligence-centers> 
and cultural centers in the region. Never mind that the Iranians are not 
the ones penetrating Organization of American States meetings — or that 
Ayalon himself proclaimed in regard to Israel’s diplomatic history: 
“(We) have had embassies in Latin America, more embassies here than we 
had in many other parts of the world, even though the distance is great.”

A few years back I paid a visit to the Iranian embassy in La Paz, 
Bolivia, portrayed in traditional propaganda as a terror command and 
control center guarded by 
<http://www.washdiplomat.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=8197:is-irans-latin-tour-of-tyrants-just-a-desperate-flyby-for-friends&catid=1483&Itemid=428> 
the Quds Force, an elite division of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard 
Corps. As of 2012, it consisted of a house with a yard and a female 
Bolivian receptionist. The Quds Force had managed to disguise itself as 
a solitary Bolivian policeman.

And while the Israelis and their backers in the U.S. insist on casting 
as potentially apocalyptic in nature each and every diplomatic and 
economic maneuver in the hemisphere by Iran and other Shia entities, 
Israel barges ahead with its own perfectly acceptable forms of 
hemispheric conquest.

In early September, the Jerusalem Post announced 
<http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Jlem-acknowledges-cooperation-with-Paraguay-against-Hezbollah-operating-in-tri-border-area-467141> 
the opening of a new-and-improved Israeli embassy in the Paraguayan 
capital of Asunción. “After Colombia,” the article notes, “Paraguay is 
considered Israel’s closest friend in South America,” having persevered 
by Israel’s side during tough times such as the summer 2014 Israeli 
assault on the Gaza Strip known as Operation Protective Edge.

According to the United Nations, the 50-day affair killed 2,251 
Palestinians 
<https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2015/06/22/the-u-n-report-on-israels-gaza-war-what-you-need-to-know/>, 
among them 551 children. Of course, regular bouts of slaughter haven’t 
propelled Israel onto the list 
<http://www.state.gov/j/ct/list/c14151.htm> of U.S.-designated “state 
sponsors of terrorism,” an honor reserved for places like — you guessed 
it — Iran.

The Jerusalem Post goes on to mention other instances of Paraguayan 
solidarity with the Jewish state, as in “a very significant vote in the 
(International Atomic Energy Agency) last September that would have 
forced Israel to open its nuclear facilities to international inspectors.”

*What was that about Iranian nuclear obstinacy? *

But back to Asunción. An Israeli Foreign Ministry press release 
<http://mfa.gov.il/MFA/PressRoom/2016/Pages/Official-opening-ceremony-of-Israel%27s-new-embassy-in-Paraguay-held-in-Asuncion-5-September-2016.aspx> 
about the opening of the new embassy offers some clues as to what Israel 
is up to in Paraguay aside from buying meat and providing 
“risk-prevention systems” to a massive hydroelectric power plant.

The third paragraph of the press release specifies that “Israel 
cooperates with Paraguay in the battle against terrorism and maintains a 
supportive role in actions against Hezbollah at the tri-border region.”

This region — the Tri-Border Area where Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay 
meet — has long been hyped as an epicenter of Shia Islamic terror 
consisting of militant training camps, rampant drug trafficking and 
money laundering operations, and even the Hezbollah-sponsored “pirating 
of compact disks,” as Jeffrey Goldberg wrote in The New Yorker 
<http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2002/10/28/in-the-party-of-god-2> in 
2002 as part of what appeared to be an extended hallucinatory fit.

When in 2013 I visited Ciudad del Este in the Paraguayan section of the 
Tri-Border Area, superior officer José Almada of a Paraguayan special 
forces unit created specifically to investigate such accusations told me 
that no evidence of terrorist cells had thus far turned up despite 
regular encouragement from the U.S. intelligence community.

In Ciudad del Este I also spoke with the elderly imam of a mosque who 
hailed from the south Lebanese village of Houla, which has been on the 
receiving end of Israeli penetration ever since October 1948, when 
Zionist forces massacred 
<https://electronicintifada.net/content/israels-security-zainab-fawqi-sleem-and-question-lebanon/6396> 
scores of villagers just months after the establishment of the state of 
Israel.

The imam was visibly horrified by the idea that the border area’s 
sizable Arab expat population could be so easily marketed as militant 
hordes. It bears mentioning that Israel’s regular destruction of Lebanon 
itself constitutes one possible reason for Lebanese emigration, since 
it’s often easier to do business when you’re not being bombed.

Alas, there is room for neither logic nor empathy in the campaign to 
convert the Islamic Republic and its allies into a direct threat to the 
Western hemisphere and thereby justify future bellicosity.

According to the Jerusalem Post, an Israeli official has acknowledged 
that counterterror collaboration between Israel and Paraguay in the 
Tri-Border Area has been going on for years: “Israel’s support for 
Paraguay in the area takes the form of intelligence cooperation, the 
official said, without elaborating.”

And while Paraguay stands little chance of ousting Colombia as Israel’s 
regional BFF — the current Colombian president has, after all, boasted 
<http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2012/01/2012157415226260.html> 
of being “the Israelites of Latin America” — Paraguayan President 
Horacio Cartes has put a lot into the relationship, particularly during 
his recent visit to Israel.

The Times of Israel reported 
<http://www.timesofisrael.com/paraguays-president-tells-netanyahu-we-had-our-own-holocaust/> 
that Cartes not only brought up the “Holocaust” faced by his own nation 
in the 1800s, but also made the following pledge to Israeli Prime 
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: “I want our countries to be much closer 
because we share principles and values.”

To be sure, both countries appear to share a strong commitment 
<https://www.amazon.com/Ethnic-Cleansing-Palestine-Ilan-Pappe/dp/1851685553> 
to the tradition of indigenous dispossession 
<http://www.survivalinternational.org/news/11401>.

As for other “principles,” a separate Jerusalem Post article 
<http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Politics-And-Diplomacy/Paraguayan-President-rare-ally-in-South-America-arrives-for-visit-460635> 
on Cartes’ visit notes that the Paraguayan leader “was assisted in his 
2013 election campaign and during his first 100 days in office by an 
Israeli-based consultant firm called 3H Global,” founded by former 
Netanyahu chief of staff Ari Harow 
<http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Politics-And-Diplomacy/Who-really-is-Ari-Harow-462092>. 


Apparently, Cartes arrived to Israel “just days after (Harow) was 
questioned by police… and placed under house arrest for five 
days”—reportedly as part of a police investigation into money laundering 
accusations 
<http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/benjamin-netanyahu-money-laundering-investigation-israel-prime-minister-a7130991.html> 
against Netanyahu & Co., as well as possible financial discrepancies in 
the sale of 3H Global.

Cartes himself, meanwhile, was described in a leaked cable 
<http://wikileaks.org/cable/2010/01/10BUENOSAIRES5.html> from the U.S. 
embassy in Buenos Aires in 2010 as the head of an “organization believed 
to launder large quantities of United States currency generated through 
illegal means, including through the sale of narcotics, from the TBA 
(Tri-Border Area) to the United States.”

All the more reason, presumably, to shift the blame for illicit 
Tri-Border Area activity to other parties.

Looks like Paraguay and Israel will make one hell of a team.

/Belén Fernández is the author of “The Imperial Messenger: Thomas 
Friedman at Work 
<http://www.versobooks.com/books/1024-the-imperial-messenger>,” 
published by Verso. She is a contributing editor at Jacobin 
<https://www.jacobinmag.com/> magazine./

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