Iran's Push Into Nicaragua

Last night on Rocky Mountain Alliance Radio, RMA host Joshua Sharf and co-hosts Ben Degrow, and yours truly welcomed guest Todd Bensman, writer for the San Antonio News-Express. Todd has been working on an investigative reporting Breaching America Series about the increase of illegal immigration of people from Islamic countries through Guatemala and Mexico.

Since 9-11, homeland security agencies have caught thousands of “special interest aliens” trying to cross U.S. borders illegally. Most of the travelers, whom federal agents label “SIA” for hailing from Islamic countries, are economic or political refugees seeking better lives. But this continuing traffic over American borders is an uncomfortable, unassailable fact that has gone largely unacknowledged or explored in the bitterly divisive national debate over how to balance immigration reform with national security in an age of terrorism. The traffic begs an unaddressed question: If an Iraqi war refugee can hire smugglers and travel from Syria to Texas for $4,000, couldn’t an equally determined terrorist?

Bensman has spent a significant amount of time in Central and South America covering this issue, and as far as he knows is the only person in the U.S. media that’s putting any serious and consistent effort into this important story.

Related to this story, and why it’s even more important, is a new partnership between Iran and Nicaragua. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s meeting with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez was covered by the mainstream media, but the connection to Nicaragua and actions in Argentina have been completely ignored.

Bensman reports specifically on a new project in Nicaragua at Monkey Point on the Caribbean coast,

As part of a new partnership with Nicaragua’s Sandinista President Daniel Ortega, Iran and its Venezuelan allies plan to help finance a $350 million deep-water port at Monkey Point on the wild Caribbean shore, and then plow a connecting “dry canal” corridor of pipelines, rails and highways across the country to the populous Pacific coast. Iran recently established an embassy in Nicaragua’s capital.

As Iran continues to ramp up its nuclear program with the assistance of Russia, this becomes increasingly important to us. John R. Schindler, a veteran former counterintelligence officer and analyst for the National Security Agency sees the problem,

The bottom line is if there is a confrontation with Iran, and Iran gets bombed, I have absolutely no doubt that Iran is going to lash out globally.

Remember the series above to which I made reference about SIAs coming into the U.S. via the Guatemala and Mexico. Schindler goes on to state,

The Iranians have that ability, particularly from South America. Hezbollah has fronts all over Latin America. That is not new. But it’s certainly something we’re starting to care about now.

Perhaps we’d be better served caring more about this before they actually start assembling missiles. Even more, it would seem reasonable that the mainstream media in the U.S. would start investigating and reporting on these developments instead of writing yet another article about how Obama will be the next JFK. Interestingly, they may be more accurate than even they think.

For the local Rama Indians and Creole villagers in Nicaragua, they’re also seeing history repeat itself.

The Rama and Creole here mostly live on Nicaragua’s political margins, subsisting on fish and jungle animals in isolation. Time is still told by sun and tides. Because of their separateness, a more contrarian streak prevails that may, in the end, prove more than just an irritant to the Ortega government’s partnership with the Iranians. Many Monkey Point young men fought with the Contras against Ortega’s Sandinistas. They’ve been feeling rebellious again since the helicopters came.

There’s much, much more at the article linked above, including detailed information about two terrorist attacks in Argentina by Iranian terrorists (though Iran officially denies involvement), including a timeline of events.

It is my hope that President-Elect Barack Obama is ultimately going to take the Iranian threat seriously, and back down from his earlier statements that he would meet with Ahmadinejad without preconditions. I’m sure Iran would love nothing better than for us to keep our eye off the ball.

Night Twister