Venezuelan airliner Conviasa abruptly canceled its regularly scheduled flight that shuttled among the capitals of three of the world’s most terror-friendly nations – Venezuela, Syria, and Iran – amid accusations that it was used primarily to transport spies, terrorists, and lethal cargo, Fox News reported this week.
Since 2007, the report states, every other Tuesday, Flight VO3744 would taxi onto a secluded loading platform at the Simon Bolivar Airport in Caracas. There, a select passenger list subject to “only cursory immigration and customs controls,” according to the U.S. State Department, would board the flight. The flight reportedly carried explosives and radioactive materials, and provided safe passage for terrorists, weapons experts, senior Iranian operatives, and members of both Hezbollah and Hamas.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez
According to Reza Kahlili, the pseudonym for an Iranian who spied for the United States as a member of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, these “special flights” have been “instrumental in creating an Iranian dominated worldwide terror network that now reaches the United States” and in expanding Tehran’s efforts to create a base of operations in the Western Hemisphere.
For years U.S. analysts have expressed concern over Tehran’s growing influence on America’s southern border through Iranian officials and groups such as Hezbollah – a topic both the current and previous administrations pay(ed) surprisingly little attention to. However, even with Flight VO3744’s cancellation, Tehran will continue to increase its presence south of the border: ties between Iran and Latin American countries only continue to grow, and Iran shows no intentions of changing its role as a terrorist financier. Indeed, as the Obama administration begins winding down the U.S. offensive in the Global War on Terror, the president should not forget that the United States’ enemies continue to thrive – and closer to her borders than ever before.