While reading one of my favorite foreign policy blogs, The Compass, I came across this interesting story of Iran’s secret training of militant forces in Latin America, specifically Venezuela, by Fausta Wertz. Wertz apparently came across the story in the Arab Times, which states:
Iran’s Revolutionary Guard is allegedly training a large number of Kuwaitis, Bahrainis and Saudis in a private training camp located in Waheera, a remote area near the borders of Venezuela and Columbia, and intends to use them to carry out terrorist activities within their respective countries and other areas across the world in case Iran is attacked militarily, Al-Seyassah daily quoted a reliable source as saying.
The trainees are first sent to Venezuelan capital Caracas or Columbian capital Bogota via Damascus and from there, they are sent to the border region in cars, one of the militants who broke away from the Iranian group told the daily.
Reportedly, the training camp is run by some Iranian intelligence officers and others affiliated to the Revolutionary Guard in cooperation with Hezbollah and Hamas. The trainees were given courses in making bombs, carrying out assassinations, kidnapping people and transporting the hostages to other locations.
The trainees have been trained to act in case there is a war against Iran. As per the plan, all embassies of Gulf countries, Egypt, Morocco and Jordan in Latin American countries were to be targeted. These bombings, however, will not be carried out by Iranian Shiites, but mercenaries from poorer countries like Venezuela, Columbia, Ecuador and Bolivia besides some other supporters from Hamas and other individuals so that Iranian involvement won’t even be suspected.
This of course needs to be seen in the light of the New Cold War. We have to take this story with a grain of salt, Arab Times is obviously representing the Sunni/Arab side, and information about these type of covert operations involving multiple states and actors are always murky to say the least. But this story does not come out of the blue, as the Islamic Republic has made inroads into Latin America, specifically its friend Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, for years now. In any case, the Arab states are right to be wary of these covert teams and the US obviously needs to keep an eye on such a potentially nefarious element in its own backyard.