Iranians In Your Backyard

For a while now, there have been concerns that Venezuela, one of this hemisphere’s more outspoken critics (or, depending on whom you listen to, avowed enemies) of the United States, is cozying up to Iran, and it’s (understandably) troubling. Why? Well, three days out of five, Iran is the greatest threat to global peace and prosperity since that Saddam guy was oh-so-flawlessly ousted from power, and the thought that they’re getting a significant political and economic foothold in the Americas is enough to keep, I imagine, the United States’ counterintelligence nerds awake at night. That’s one half of the threat, of course; the other is that Iran is proving all too happy to provide a wide variety of fairly advanced military hardware to Venezuela, with all the inherent implications for regional stability that suggests.

Turns out, though, that while everyone’s been watching Venezuela, Iran’s been cozying up to an even closer neighbor of ours.

See, it seems that Iran and Nicaragua are fast becoming buddies, again. Hell, a lot of the players are the same as last time around; deja vu all over again. NightWatch notes that not only does Nicaragua border Mexico, but members of the IRGC have reportedly been seen in the country this month, which is a little bit alarming.

President Ortega, to judge from his recent public statements, dislikes the United States just as much as Hugo Chavez does, if not more. Yet, nobody seems to care particularly much that Nicaragua is fast becoming very much a proxy for Iranian interests in this hemisphere. The State Department’s official line seems to be that Iran has no historical major interests in this part of the world, so there’s nothing to see here, move along.

Let’s put this in perspective: If it was the spring of 1979, or even 1989, and an “enemy” country – Russia, China, North Korea, or one of their more obvious proxies (Albania, anyone?) were making huge and historically-unprecedented increases in their presence in this hemisphere, the U.S. government would have been crapping themselves not just at the thought of “enemy” agents on our doorstep, but those same powers getting access to indigenous human assets. (I’m not a fluent speaker of Spanish; can you tell a Nicaraguan from a Mexican? How about if they’re speaking fluent English? How about just on sight? Didn’t think so…) Even today, if China were developing new inroads in Central America, you can be sure it’d be a matter of grave concern.

But everyone’s decided that Venezuela is the problem, and anything that distracts from that message needs to be ignored. Never mind that, fairly literally, all that stands between Iran’s newest and bestest friend in the whole wide world and the good old US of A is this hemisphere’s most corrupt, lawless, and porous-bordered country. Nope, Venezuela is the problem, no more and no less.

Oh, well; I’m sure Iran’s interests in this part of the world are completely and utterly innocuous, and nothing to be concerned about at all, whatsoever…

Published in: Geekiness, General, History | on April 22nd, 2009| 3 Comments »

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3 Comments

  1. On 4/23/2009 at 1:47 am Rob van Stee Said:

    What exactly do you think Iran is going to do? I believe they have not attacked any foreign countries in the last century or so (unlike some other countries I could mention…). Surely you are not taking Ahmadinedjad seriously? He just wants to get attention.

  2. On 4/23/2009 at 6:07 pm Nemo Said:

    I doubt Iran would attack us, but that doesn’t mean they don’t want to commit political/military/industrial espionage here. Since they are everybody’s scapegoat for everything evil in the world at the moment, that means they need – or at least would benefit greatly from – foreign proxies who can enter the U.S. undetected, move about in the country without attracting undue attention, and have a place to communicate with that doesn’t attract enormous amounts of attention.

    Ahmanadinedjad wants attention, yes, but I think it’s dangerous to assume that he and the rest of Iran don’t have any larger international ambitions. He’s unlikely to start a war with us, but that doesn’t make this country any less attractive of an intelligence and espionage target. Iran right now is like Libya, in the late ’80s. Not a major military threat by any stretch of the imagination, but you can be damned sure if they’d started getting a foothold in the Americas, it would have been cause for concern, public and private.

  3. On 5/2/2009 at 7:09 am �ron Zöldy Said:

    Fear not, Nicaragua does not border Mexico. Although it is a minor slip in an otherwise well-written article, and helps to add drama to the ending, not counting the ‘corrupt, lawless, and porous-bordered’ Mexico there is at least two other country (or more, depends on the route – why miss El Salvador, if you’re already in the neighbourhood) between ‘Iran’s newest and bestest friend’ and the USA.
    Still, if the cocaine-smugglers can cross those borders as they wish, any Iranian spook can do it. Manuel Zelaya’s Honduras is close to Chavez, so no help from there, and Guatemala has its own fair share of problems. That $44 billion the US spends on various agencies won’t be wasted.