Terror, Missiles, and Al Qaeda
Washington is examining the very real possibility that Al Qaeda will attempt to extend its attacks to include oil supplies headed to the United States, including suppliers in North and South America. The chief of the U.S. Southern Command, Admiral James Stavridis, recently met with military representatives from Central and South America during a regional security conference held in Managua, Nicaragua. At the conference, Stavridis shared his deep concern about Al Qaeda infiltration and potential terror strikes, according to Diario las Américas, a recognized Latin American news source (March 15, 2007).
Stavridis was particularly interested in the fate of the 1,000 "Sam-7" surface-to-air missiles which are currently in the possession of Nicaragua.
A neo-Marxist government under the direction of one-time communist guerrilla leader Daniel Ortega has recently taken power following elections in November 2006. The United States is attempting to persuade the Ortega government to destroy Nicaragua's arsenal of 1,000 "Sam-7" surface-to-air missiles, which were first acquired from the Soviet Union in the 1980s.
Will Nicaragua sell its Sam-7's to Al Qaeda?
The missiles are still in demand among terror groups, and the U.S. believes that Al Qaeda is interested in the weapons.
Stavridis stated that among terrorist networks there is an "international preoccupation" to obtain the missiles. Stavridis urged cooperation between the military leaders, observing that there were "transnational threats which have an impact on this hemisphere" and that security for the region posed "challenging difficulties."
The SAM-7s came to Nicaragua during the Sandinista regime from 1979 to 1990, which was also led by Ortega.
While Nicaragua is deciding the fate of the SAM-7s, the long shadow of terrorist control hovers over these weapons.
Ortega declares that he no longer believes in violent revolution to achieve political ends - a proposition doubtful to many - but his close friends certainly do not shy away from the use of force. Nor are they bashful about connections with terror networks and pro-terror regimes.
Ortega maintains close, personal ties with Hugo Chavez, the neo-Marxist leader of the increasingly militarized nation of Venezuela; Fidel Castro and his would-be successors in the Gulag state that is Cuba; and with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, leader of the nuclear-bomb-aspiring Islamic Republic of Iran.
During a visit to Nicaragua, Ahmadinejad declared that Iran and Nicaragua have "common interests, enemies, and goals."
Depending upon the action or inaction of the Ortega government, Al Qaeda may find in Nicaragua a source for another deadly weapon to add to its arsenal in preparation for a possible attack on the U.S. homeland, or against the suppliers of America's oil addiction.
Posted March 27, 2007
Toby Westerman writes and edits
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