In an August report for the global intelligence firm STRATFOR, analyst Scott Stewart writes:
When we [at STRATFOR] discuss threats along the U.S.-Mexico border with sources and customers, or when we write an analysis on topics such as violence and improvised explosive devices along the border, a certain topic inevitably pops up: Hezbollah.”
The hyperlink Stewart provides is to his report from the week before, in which Hezbollah does not pop up but Mexican government favoritism of certain drug cartels does. Hezbollah is also not generally a suspect when Mexican federal police shoot students peacefully protesting the militarization of Ciudad Juarez.
Stewart ultimately argues that Hezbollah is “radical but rational” and that it is currently choosing not to exercise its “transnational terrorism capabilities”. Instead, it limits its illicit operations to things like the sale of counterfeit Viagra in the U.S.
Should the organization choose to abandon rationality, however, it will apparently enjoy a variety of anthropological advantages:
It is… convenient for Hezbollah that there is some degree of physical resemblance between some Lebanese and Mexican people. Mexicans citizens of Lebanese heritage (like Mexico’s richest man, Carlos Slim) do not look out of place when they are on the street. STRATFOR sources say that Hezbollah members have married Mexican women in order to stay in Mexico, and some have reportedly even adopted Spanish names. A Hezbollah operative with a Spanish name who learns to speak Spanish well can be difficult for a U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent to spot. American officials often lack the Spanish skills required to differentiate between Spanish speakers with Mexican accents and those with foreign accents.”
Hezbollah’s adeptness at exploiting human shields both at home and abroad means that Mexicans may now be added to the list of things Israel might mistake for the Party of God in future conflicts, which already includes U.N. compounds, Red Cross ambulances, milk factories, and children in pickup trucks.