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U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Argentine Foreign Minister Jorge Faurie during a meeting. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Argentine Foreign Minister Jorge Faurie during a meeting on the sidelines of an international counterterrorism conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina, July 19, 2019 (AP photo by Natacha Pisarenko).

Is the Trump Administration Exaggerating the Threat of Hezbollah in South America?

Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019

The Trump administration has boosted security cooperation with right-wing governments in South America in recent months to address the perceived threat of Hezbollah in the region. In late July, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo attended a counterterrorism conference in Buenos Aires, where the Lebanese militia and political party, which is backed by Iran, was a major focus of his meetings. Under pressure from the United States, Argentina and Paraguay have already designated Hezbollah a terrorist organization, and Brazil is considering doing the same. But according to Fernando Brancoli, a professor of international security at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, American observers tend to overstate the scale of Hezbollah’s sporadic and disorganized activities in the region. In an email interview with WPR, he explains what’s behind the recent deepening of security ties between the Trump administration and like-minded governments in South America.

World Politics Review: How much of a presence does Hezbollah really have in South America? How much of a difference will Washington’s increased security cooperation with Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay make in addressing this threat? ...

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