Key Points

Washington needs to step up to the challenge and ensure that its regional partners are fully on board. Cutting off Hezbollah’s financial lifeline has been a U.S. national security priority for decades, but action has been intermittent at best. Yet now, an unexpected alignment of priorities has put Washington on the same page as the Argentine, Brazilian, and Paraguayan governments. Now is the moment for them to launch an all-out offensive.

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Over the past fifteen years, Hezbollah’s involvement in transnational organized crime has evolved into a multi-billion dollar global enterprise endorsed and coordinated by the group’s top leaders. Hezbollah’s production and sale of counterfeit medicines such as Captagon — a powerful amphetamine — is well documented. So are its growing involvement in cocaine trafficking, and its extensive and enduring ties with drug cartels.

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All three regional powers in the TBA need to recognize the continuing threat of Hezbollah’s terror finance in the area and deal with it accordingly. Argentina’s action and Paraguay’s response show that both countries are more willing to take action than in the past. Brazil needs to join them to ensure coordination for their mutual benefit. The TBA governments should also strengthen cooperation across their three jurisdictions. The United States, in this respect, can support such efforts through joint training of local law enforcement, prosecutors, and investigators, as well as information sharing and facilitation of cross-border communication and joint actions to disrupt Hezbollah’s financial flows from the area.

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But President Macri has more challenges ahead. As Mr. Nisman documented, Iran and Hezbollah have penetrated Latin America, and still pose a grave threat to the security of Argentina, the region and the United States.

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Toby Dershowitz is Vice President for Government Relations and Strategy at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

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