Anti-Semitism Infects Bangladeshi Politics

Last month, Aslam Chowdhury, a high-ranking member of the Bangladeshi Nationalist party (BNP), the country’s largest opposition party, made an official visit to India where he met a Likud-affiliated Israeli Druze political consultant named Mendi Safadi. Photographs of the two shaking hands soon made their way into a Bangladeshi newspaper, leading to Chowdhurry’s arrest for sedition. Sebastian Bustle explains:

Bangladesh has no diplomatic relations with Israel. It is a country where Jews and the Israeli people are cursed in every Friday sermon, at more than 250,000 mosques. Imams across the country shout [in their sermons] that Jewish people are infidels. . . .

On May 15, police detectives arrested Chowdhury for alleged “involvement in a plot to oust the Bangladesh government with the support of Israeli intelligence Mossad [sic].” Bangladesh’s prime minister, Sheikha Hasina, accused two [major opposition] parties, BNP and Jamaat-e Islami Bangladesh, of being “so desperate that they are now conspiring with Israel to oust me. . . . They have joined hands with those who are frequently killing children and women in Palestine.”

The Bangladesh Nationalist party heavily depends on religious Muslim supporters, and Jamaat-e Islami Bangladesh is an Islamist political party that believes in Islamic revolution.

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More about: Anti-Semitism, Bangladesh, Druze, Islamism, Israel, Politics & Current Affairs

Why Is Iran Acquiring Property in Venezuela?

In June Tehran and Caracas concluded a major twenty-year cooperation treaty. One of its many provisions—kept secret until recently—was the transfer of 4,000 square miles of Venezuelan land to Iranian control. Although the territory is ostensibly for agricultural use, Lawrence Franklin suspects the Islamic Republic might have other plans:

Hizballah already runs paramilitary training centers in restricted sections of Venezuela’s Margarita Island, a tourist area northeast of the country’s mainland. The terrorist group has considerable support from some of Venezuela’s prominent Lebanese clans such as the Nasr al-Din family, who reportedly facilitated Iran’s penetration of Margarita Island. . . . The Maduro regime has apparently been so welcoming to Iranian intelligence agents that some of Hizballah’s long-established Latin American network at the tri-border nexus of Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay has been overtaken by Hizballah activities on Venezuela’s Margarita Island.

Iran’s alliance with Venezuela most importantly provides Tehran with opportunities to target U.S. interests in Latin America and potentially the southern United States. Iran, along with the Chinese Communist Party, is in the process of strengthening Venezuela’s military against the U.S., for instance by deliveries of military drones, which are also considered a threat by Colombia.

While air and seaborne arms deliveries are high-profile evidence of Iran’s ties with Venezuela, Tehran’s cooperation with Venezuelan intelligence agencies, although less visible, is also intense. The Islamic Republic’s support for Hizballah terrorist operations is pervasive throughout Latin America. Hizballah recruits from Venezuela’s ten-million-strong Lebanese diaspora. Iran and Hizballah cooperate in training of intelligence agents and in developing sources who reside in Venezuela and Colombia, as well as in the tri-border region of Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina.

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More about: Iran, Latin America, Venezuela