Twenty-Four Years after the Buenos Aires Bombing, Iran Is Becoming More Entrenched in Argentina

Wednesday marked the anniversary of the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, orchestrated by Iran with help from Hizballah. While the investigation into the bombing’s perpetrators has not yet concluded, having been hindered both by incompetence and by the Argentine government’s deliberate attempts to obstruct it, some progress has finally been made. Carolina Krauskopf writes:

After almost a decade [had elapsed since the bombing], the special prosecutors Marcelo Burgos (who later left his office) and Alberto Nisman began their investigation. Nisman concluded that Iranian and Hizballah officials planned the attack, and that the former Iranian president Ali Akbar Rafsanjani, along with other high-ranking Iranian government officials, gave the final approval at a meeting in Mashhad, Iran in August of 1993. Nisman’s investigations prompted Interpol to issue red notices (similar to international arrest warrants) to several key Iranian officials, but Iran ignored them.

When Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner became the Argentine president [in 2003], the AMIA investigation took a bizarre turn, and by 2013, Buenos Aires and Tehran had signed a memorandum of understanding and created a so-called joint “truth commission” to investigate the 1994 bombing together. Having the chief suspects in the terror attack investigating themselves was absurd, and the memorandum of understanding was dropped when Mauricio Macri became president in 2015.

Nisman charged that Kirchner and Hector Timerman, then the foreign minister, played a critical role in covering up Tehran’s role in the AMIA bombing. In January 2015, Nisman was found dead the day before he was due to testify before the Argentinian congress about his findings. While a federal court subsequently concluded that he was murdered, much about the case remains a mystery. . . .

[A]s the investigation stalled, Hizballah and Iran continued to build a more robust intelligence and operations network in the region. Following the attack in 1994, the U.S. State Department’s coordinator for counterterrorism highlighted that Iranian embassy staffs in Latin America had increased. This led to the belief that many of these diplomats had terror links or were intelligence agents. Throughout his career, Nisman warned of Iran’s and Hizballah’s expansive operations in the region and in 2013, Nisman’s 500-page report warned of clandestine intelligence stations in Latin America.

Both Kirchner and Timerman now await trial for their involvement in the cover-up.

Read more at Tower

More about: AMIA bombing, Argentina, Cristina Kirchner, Hizballah, Iran, Politics & Current Affairs


To Save Gaza, the U.S. Needs a Strategy to Restrain Iran

Since the outbreak of war on October 7, America has given Israel much support, and also much advice. Seth Cropsey argues that some of that advice hasn’t been especially good:

American demands for “restraint” and a “lighter footprint” provide significant elements of Hamas’s command structure, including Yahya Sinwar, the architect of 10/7, a far greater chance of surviving and preserving the organization’s capabilities. Its threat will persist to some extent in any case, since it has significant assets in Lebanon and is poised to enter into a full-fledged partnership with Hizballah that would give it access to Lebanon’s Palestinian refugee camps for recruitment and to Iranian-supported ratlines into Jordan and Syria.

Turning to the aftermath of the war, Cropsey observes that it will take a different kind of involvement for the U.S. to get the outcomes it desires, namely an alternative to Israeli and to Hamas rule in Gaza that comes with buy-in from its Arab allies:

The only way that Gaza can be governed in a sustainable and stable manner is through the participation of Arab states, and in particular the Gulf Arabs, and the only power that can deliver their participation is the United States. A grand bargain is impossible unless the U.S. exerts enough leverage to induce one.

Militarily speaking, the U.S. has shown no desire seriously to curb Iranian power. It has persistently signaled a desire to avoid escalation. . . . The Gulf Arabs understand this. They have no desire to engage in serious strategic dialogue with Washington and Jerusalem over Iran strategy, since Washington does not have an Iran strategy.

Gaza’s fate is a small part of a much broader strategic struggle. Unless this is recognized, any diplomatic master plan will degenerate into a diplomatic parlor game.

Read more at National Review

More about: Gaza War 2023, Iran, U.S. Foreign policy