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Iran, Hizballah, and the Threat to the Homeland

On January 31, 2012, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper expressed the intelligence community’s concern about “Iranian plotting against U.S. or allied interests overseas.” Since then, Iran and its primary proxy, Lebanese Hizballah, have carried out a string of terrorist plots abroad. Some were thwarted, including two plots each in Thailand and Azerbaijan. Others were not, including bombings in India and Georgia.

In Thailand and Azerbaijan, U.S. interests were reportedly among the intended targets, while the others focused on Israeli targets. Most recently, Azerbaijan’s National Security Ministry detained 22 Azeris earlier this month for cooperating with Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, receiving training in the use of weapons and spy techniques and plotting attacks on the U.S. and Israeli embassies in Baku.

I recently testified before the House Committee on Homeland Security, discussing the significance of these events in light of the involvement of America and its allies in a shadow war with Iran, since it is no longer clear that Iran sees carrying out an attack in the United States as crossing some sort of red line. Check out my full testimony for more on this important subject.

Dr. Matthew Levitt blogs on counterterrorism, countering violent extremism and combating the financing of transnational threats. Read More