Attorney General Jeff Sessions last Friday ordered a review of Obama-era DEA and FBI investigations of terrorist group Hizbollah. In a Department of Justice press release Session said:
While I am hopeful that there were no barriers constructed by the last administration to allowing DEA agents to fully bring all appropriate cases under Project Cassandra, this is a significant issue for the protection of Americans. We will review these matters and give full support to investigations of violent drug trafficking organizations
Probably triggered by the political outcry after the publication of a POLITICO story published last week, Sessions stressed that the Department of Justice was “absolutely committed to investigating and prosecuting international drug trafficking organizations and with the assistance of our DEA and FBI agents we will leave no stone unturned as we work to making America safer.”
Iran-backed Hizbollah uses drug trafficking as one of several sources of income to fund its global terrorist networks; a terrorist organization, it has had a presence in Latin America for decades. In addition to terrorist operations and outposts throughout the region, it has friends in places including Venezuela and Cuba.
As Department of Justice and Congressional officials review in 2018 the background material on anti-Hizbollah Project Cassandra, they should also revisit Cuba’s removal from the State Department’s state sponsors of terrorism list (SST).
Cuba’s removal from the SST list by the Obama administration was premature. It also seemed rushed to, among other things, normalize diplomatic relations with the Communist nation. One of Cuba’s questionable links to terror activities included its close ties with state-sponsor of terrorism Iran and Hizbollah.
Without nation-state support from the likes of Cuba, Venezuela, and likely Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua and others, Hizbollah operatives could not thrive in the region. There are also non-state actors such as Colombia’s FARC terrorist group that should also be scrutinized by policymakers.