WASHINGTON, Sept. 21 (UPI) -- A U.S. indictment linking Hezbollah to Colombian rebels means the threat from the Iranian proxy is at the doorstep of the United States, a scholar claims.
A 2008 investigation by U.S. and Colombian officials uncovered a cocaine-smuggling ring that channeled funds from the Colombian drug cartel to members of Hezbollah.
An indictment unsealed recently by a U.S. federal court in New York -- U.S. v. Jamal Yousef -- points to alleged ties between Hezbollah militants and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia.
This indictment, claims Joan Neuhaus Schaan in the Houston Chronicle, shows Hezbollah presents a "potent and rarely discussed" threat to the United States.
Schaan, a homeland security fellow at the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy, says the indictment shows Hezbollah stored an Iraqi weapons cache in Mexico and sold them to FARC rebels.
She goes on to allege that Hezbollah is active in the illegal weapons market in Mexico, placing the Lebanese guerrilla movement in close proximity to potential outlets in the United States.
Her commentary in the Chronicle goes on to tacitly blame U.S. lawmakers for focusing too much on Iranian nuclear proliferation rather than threats closer to home.
"The time has come to dedicate greater attention and resources to this very real threat," concludes Schaan.
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