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Radical Islam in Latin America and the Caribbean: Implications for U.S. National Security

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From 2005 through 2013, the Islamic Republic of Iran under President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad engaged in a protracted, high-visibility campaign of diplomatic engagement with the states of Latin America and the Caribbean, generating much discussion in policymaking circles in the United States and in the region regarding the nature of Iran s activities there, as well as the risks posed in the region by other state and non-state actors acting in the name of radical Islam. The election of Hassan Rouhani to the Iranian presidency in August 2013 put an end to his predecessors high-profile diplomacy in Latin America and the Caribbean. Although since taking office, Rouhani has spoken of his nation s continuing interest in the region, he has neither visited it, nor received Latin American and Caribbean heads of state. Yet it is not clear that Iran s strategic objectives toward the region have fundamentally changed under the nation s new president. In addition, the rise of new actors in the Middle East, such as the well-funded Islamic State in the Levant ISIL, with its global sources of funding and recruitment, makes attention to the activities of both state and non-State Islamic extremists more important than ever. An unusually large part of what has been published on radical Islamic actors in Latin America and the Caribbean comes from Congressional hearings on the subject, including a July 2011 session of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee for Homeland Security, the February 16, 2012 hearing by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Peace Corps, and Global Narcotics Affairs, and the July 9, 2013 hearing by the House Committee on Homeland Security, Subcommittee on Oversight and Management Efficiency. Beyond such hearings, most of the public works on the topic are relatively recent, and focus on two actors Iran and the radical Islamic group Hezbollah.

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  • Government and Political Science
  • Humanities and History
  • Unconventional Warfare

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