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Mexico Rejects US Congress Report on Hezbollah-Cartel Links

A Hezbollah rally in Lebanon in 2008 A Hezbollah rally in Lebanon in 2008

The Mexican government has disputed claims made in a recent US congressional report, which alleges that Hezbollah has a working relationship with organized criminal groups in Mexico.

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On November 15, the House of Representatives' Committee on Homeland Security published a report on border security which warns of increasing ties between Mexican drug cartels and Lebanon-based party Hezbollah. The congressional report claims that this relationship means that the US/Mexico border poses "the greatest threat of terrorist infiltration into the United States,” suggesting that Hezbollah and other militant Islamic organizations could take advantage of cartel smuggling routes to carry out attacks on US soil.

The Mexican government has rejected this allegation. Ricardo Alday, a spokesman for the Mexican ambassador to the United States, told the Daily Caller that reports of collusion between Hezbollah and Mexican criminal groups were entirely false. “The Government of Mexico, as it has done in the past, reiterates that no such relationship or presence exists,” Alday said. The official pointed to the US State Department's most recent report on terrorism in Mexico, which states that there is "no evidence of ties between Mexican criminal organizations and terrorist groups, nor that the criminal organizations had political or territorial control, aside from seeking to protect and expand the impunity with which they conduct their criminal activity."

InSight Crime Analysis

The congressional report is the latest example of the over-hyping of the threat posed by Islamic militant activity in Latin America. The veracity of these claims is highly suspect. One of the most widely-cited examples of "proof" of a relationship between Mexican cartels and Islamic fundamentalists is the case of Iranian-American Manssor Arbabsiar, who was arrested in October 2011 and accused of seeking out a Zetas hitman to kill the Saudi ambassador to the United States.

However, the evidence linking the cartel to the plot is extremely weak. As InSight Crime has pointed out, it is highly unlikely that drug trafficking organizations in Mexico would have any interest in facilitating acts of political violence in the United States. This would amount to a major threat to their continued operation, as it would likely attract unwanted attention from law enforcement over the border.

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