This week, the House Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade will gather a number of experts to discuss the evolution of the Lebanon-based terrorist group Hezbollah, the subcommittee’s chairman, Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, stated Sunday on Fox News Channel.
According to Chairman Poe, the hearing on Hezbollah’s new strategy is scheduled for Wednesday, March 20, 2013, and witnesses testifying include Will Fulton, a research analyst with the American Enterprise Institute; Dr. Matthew Levitt, the Stein Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence director, a part of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy; and Roger Noriega, the former assistant secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, now a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.
“Hezbollah has historically been a terrorist organization whose activity has been isolated in the Middle East,” said Rep. Poe.
Hezbollah is the puppet of Iran worldwide. Under the guidance of the Iranian regime, this jihadist group has expanded its reach and shifted its strategy to operate in virtually every corner of the world including Latin America and Europe, he noted in his announcement on Friday.
“I look forward to hearing testimony about the relationship between Hezbollah and the Iranian regime, how this threat has grown in recent years, and what implications this dangerous alliance has for U.S. national security,” Rep. Poe said.
This latest probe of the terrorist group Hezbollah follows a series of hearings held by other congressional committees. For example, according to the Examiner, the Committee on Homeland Security’s Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence held a hearing entitled “Hezbollah in Latin America – Implications for U.S. Homeland Security.” The committee was chaired by Rep. Patrick Meehan, R-Penn., in July 2011.
“Hezbollah continues to expand its presence in Central and South American taking advantage of its already close relationship with Venezuela’s despot Presidente Hugo Chavez,” according to Rep. Meehan’s hearings.
As far back as 2007, the Bush Administration’s chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine General Peter Pace, warned members of the Senate Armed Services Committee that elements of radical Islamic groups were active in South America recruiting and training terrorists.
Pace mentioned Hezbollah and al-Qaeda, yet the Democrat-controlled Senate ignored Gen. Pace’s warning.
There have also been intelligence reports that allege the Iranian-supported terrorist group Hezbollah, is also a prime employer in Latin America. Security experts have stated that the ties between the countries of Venezuela and Iran are based on several shared interests, such as access to military and petroleum technologies and avoiding international isolation.
Hezbollah’s growing influence in Latin America is a “potential risk” to the region, according to Rep. Meehan.