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  1. #1 Southern Exposure: Iran, Terror Groups Setting Up Shop in South America 
    PORCUS STAPHUS ADMIN Rockntractor's Avatar
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    Apr 2009
    March 7, 2012

    Iran and Middle East-based extremist groups are stepping up their activities in South America, aiming to make friends and score cash, a senior U.S. military official says.

    Tehran intends to build military drones in Washington's backyard for the Venezuelan military led by Hugo Chavez, U.S. Southern Command chief Gen. Douglas Fraser told reporters Wednesday during a breakfast meeting in Washington.

    This photo released on Sunday, Aug. 22, 2010, by the Iranian Defense Ministry, reportedly shows a Karrar drone aircraft, which Iran says is the country's first domestically-built, long-range, unmanned bomber aircraft at an undisclosed location. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Sunday called it an "ambassador of death" to Iran's enemies.

    Pressed by DOTMIL about the unmanned aerial vehicles' capabilities, Fraser dubbed it "a fairly limited-capacity UAV."

    "I would put it in the Scan Eagle class of UAV," Fraser said. "It's not up into the Predator class."

    [Photo Gallery: Iran Flexes Military Muscle in Persian Gulf.]

    The Southern Command chief was referring to two U.S.-made drone aircraft used by the American military. The Scan Eagle is about 10 feet long and is used for surveillance while the MQ-1B Predator drone can be armed with air-to-ground Hellfire missiles and is about 27 feet long.

    Fraser said it's unclear what kinds of missions Venezuelan officials will send the Iranian drones.

    His best guess? "I assume it's for internal defense."

    In, 2006, Israeli officials said they shot down at least three Iran-backed Hezbollah drones during a war in Lebanon.

    In December, Tehran said one of its electronic warfare units downed an American military RQ-170 spy drone, known as the "Beast of Kandahar." It remains unclear whether Iran has fitted that kind of technology on the drones sold to Venezuela.

    U.S. officials do know production of the Iranian drones has been delayed due a recent fire at the manufacturing plant, Fraser said.

    Teal Group analyst Phillip Finnegan says the drone deal "is one of these intangible signs of the relationship between Iran and Venezuela."

    "If they can get a UAV that appears to be a cutting-edge symbol of that relationship," they can frame it as a loss for the United States, Finnegan says. "Although it's likely the end result might not be cutting-edge—generally Iran is not mentioned as being in the forefront of countries developing this capability."

    Tehran also has doubled the number of official embassies it maintains across South America from five to 10. Iran also has erected "cultural centers" in some countries, Fraser said. This is part of a broader increase in diplomatic efforts on the continent, he added.

    So what is Tehran up to?

    "They are working to build diplomatic relations [and] international support to counter the sanctions" imposed by Washington and Europe as a means toward pressuring Iran to scuttle its nuclear arms program, Fraser said.

    [U.S. News Debate Club: Should the U.S. Discourage Israel From Attacking Iran?]

    U.S. officials are also closely monitoring the activities in South America by two of Iran's allies, the Hamas and Hezbollah groups. The State Department has long considered both terrorist organizations.

    So far, those groups have been involved in the kinds of "illicit activities," as Fraser put it, that are familiar in South America: the trafficking of drugs, weapons and people. The goal for Hamas and Hezbollah is to use these activities to generate funds to send back to their leaders in the Middle East.

    "I've seen no indications of al Qaeda" establishing a foothold on the southern continent, Fraser told DOTMIL.
    Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil;
    Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness;
    Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!
    21 Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes
    And clever in their own sight! Isaiah 5:20-21 NASB

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  2. #2  
    Senior Member
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    Jun 2005
    Woodland Park, Colorado, United States
    Our porous borders are of no concern or importance. Please direct your attention to the critical concerns such as who won't let us marry within or fund changing our gender, fund killing our babies, or fund our 8 condom a day habit. Real critical, nation building stuff that should occupy all media outlets until we decide it is safe to resume our usual O Blah Blah love fest.
    Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil.
    C. S. Lewis
    Do not ever say that the desire to "do good" by force is a good motive. Neither power-lust nor stupidity are good motives. (Are you listening Barry)?:mad:
    Ayn Rand
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