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Global View: The Hezbollah Hustle

Gershon Burstyn

How Obama gave a free pass to Hezbollah’s narco-terror nexus

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

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W ell, it’s clear someone is reading my column.

In mid-December, I quoted Andrew McCarthy of the National Review suggesting (almost tongue-in-cheek) that the Trump administration should investigate Obama-era dealings with Iran, including whether the previous administration disclosed all its side deals with the terror regime and whether that crates-of-cash ransom payment to the mullahs was legal.

Days later, Politico, a center-left magazine and website that covers American politics, published a three-part, 14,000-word dismantling that detailed how the Obama administration derailed efforts by the Drug Enforcement Agency to take down persons and break up networks affiliated with Hezbollah, the terror group cum political organization cum global drug dealer and criminal syndicate that acts as Iran’s proxy militia in Lebanon and Syria and daily threatens Israel with annihilation.

The reason the Obama folks didn’t want to arrest certain Hezbollah operatives and break up drug smuggling operations that bring an estimated $1 billion to the terror group annually? The Iran nuclear deal, of course, that “legacy” foreign policy achievement that granted a full-scale nuclear weapons program to the biggest state sponsor of terror in the world, along with billions of dollars in sanctions relief.

It boggles the mind. According to Politico, over eight years, the DEA’s Project Cassandra uncovered how Lebanon-based Hezbollah shipped narcotics from Colombia and Venezuela to the United States, then laundered proceeds of $200 million in monthly sales through a network of 300 or so used car dealerships across the US. Those cars would then be shipped for sale to Benin, on Africa’s west coast, where they would be sold.

The proceeds from those sales were then smuggled back to Lebanon, where Hezbollah would spend the money on such dainties as precision missiles and IEDs to kill American soldiers in Iraq. More recently, the money was disbursed to pay the salaries of its soldiers, who have participated in the slaughter of 500,000 combatants and civilians in Syria. The DEA agent who headed the investigation, David Asher, told Congress that the narco-terror nexus Hezbollah had created represented “the largest material support scheme for terrorism operations” in the world. But when the DEA and partner agencies brought their cases to the Justice Department, the investigations went nowhere. Drug dealers continued dealing, arms dealers continued smuggling. Says Asher: “This was a policy decision, it was a systematic decision. [The Obama White House] serially ripped apart this entire effort that was very well supported and resourced, and it was done from the top down.” Or, as one national security analyst put it: “When it looked like the [nuclear] agreement might actually happen, it became clear that there was no interest in dealing with anything about Iran or Hezbollah on the ground that may be negative, that might scare off the Iranians.”

How exactly do former Obama administration officials defend themselves against charges that the White House let a terror group go about its business to sweeten the Iran deal? They don’t — they deny and obfuscate. Ben Rhodes, the vainglorious creator of the media “echo chamber,” simply dismissed months of reporting by Politico journalist Josh Meyer as “non-fact-based anti-Iran deal propaganda.” Former Obama administration spokeswoman Marie Harf called the story (which included dozens of sources) “just false” with “no evidence” to back up its allegations. In an interview on Fox News, Meyer called Harf’s comments “ridiculous” and challenged Team Obama to produce evidence to refute his findings.

Cue the chirping crickets.

Meanwhile, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has launched a Justice Department investigation into whether the president and his underlings jammed up the wheels of justice as they pursued a nuclear deal. Methinks we haven’t heard the last of this story. (Excerpted from Mishpacha, Issue 692)

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