In the midst of President Donald Trump’s border wall standoff with Congress, a percipient tweet by Senator Lindsey Graham is worth noting:
“When it comes to radical Islam, a border wall is our last line of defense—not our first,” Graham (R-South Carolina) wrote.
Although dismissed by anti-wall activists, the threat from countries south of the United States is particularly relevant from the terror group Hezbollah, which is actively building cells and increasing its presence in South and Central America.
Hezbollah has infiltrated a number of these countries, where it works with drug cartels to fund its worldwide terror operations.
“There is an exchange of tactics and procedures with narco terrorists,” said former U.S. special forces’ officer Joseph Callahan at a Congressional field hearing in Florida earlier this year, adding that Hezbollah works closely with the Los Zetas and Sinaloa cartels.
More recently, authorities in Bolivia, Peru and Paraguay arrested Hezbollah agents caught with caches of weapons and explosives and involved in money laundering and drug trafficking.
Last October, then-attorney general Jeff Sessions created a task force to specifically zero in on Hezbollah after declaring the designated terror organization one of the top five transnational threats to the U.S.
Hezbollah was named as the world’s richest terror organization by Forbes. The transnational group is an Iranian proxy and has an estimated annual income of $1.1 billion.
In June of 2017, two Hezbollah terrorists were arrested in the U.S. for planning domestic attacks. One had scouted potential targets in New York City, including JFK International Airport.
Referring to Trump’s decision to pull U.S. troops out of Syria, Graham continued the tweet, saying, “Our first line of defense is a forward-deployed presence working with partners to disrupt enemy operations directed at our allies and homeland.”
Although Graham is opposed to the pullout, after a meeting with Trump, he said, “I feel pretty good about where we’re headed” in Syria, suggesting that the pullout would not be so quick.