Commentary Magazine


Contentions

Should Venezuela Be on the List of Terror Sponsors?

Since the mid-1990s, the State Department has kept an official list of states that sponsor terror—a list that included, back then, Iran, Syria, North Korea, Libya, and Iraq. No new states have been added in some time; in fact, several have been taken off the list: Iraq, after the regime was changed; Libya, after Qaddafi cut a deal with the U.S. that included restitution for the victims of the terror attack over Lockerbie, Scotland; and most recently North Korea has been dropped, for no apparent reason. The list has teeth: in addition to various sanctions, states appearing on the list lose their sovereign immunity in American courts in terror cases, because a state engaging in terrorism, the reasoning goes, is no longer acting in its capacity as a state and should therefore be subject to the same criminal and civil proceedings as anyone else engaging in wanton violence.

One wonders whether it’s time for Venezuela to be added to the list. For many years, its neighbor and close American ally, Colombia, has suspected Venezuela of actively supporting the FARC rebels, which the U.S. has designated a terrorist organization. But according to at least one high-ranking Israeli military official, FARC is not the only such group enjoying the Venezuelan regime’s support: Hezbollah, it turns out, has established a major presence there as well, supported by the regime in “investing significant efforts to carry out terrorist attacks against Israeli targets and Jewish institutions in Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Peru,” according to today’s YNet.

Obviously, the State Department should not take the Israelis’ or the Colombians’ word for it and must conduct a thorough inquiry before making any moves. Yet the failure to dig deeper suggests a dramatic shift in U.S. policy on international terror when compared with not only the Bush administration but the will of Congress as well. Since 9/11, U.S. policy and law have aimed at showing zero tolerance for terrorism, the centerpiece of which strategy has been to make sovereign states accountable for the terrorism they support—not just through the occasional military replacement of their regimes, as in Afghanistan and Iraq, but also through a wide range of legal and diplomatic sanctions.

So here’s a question someone should ask at Secretary of State Clinton’s next press conference: By ignoring the increasing accusations against Venezuela of actively helping multiple terrorist organizations, is the Obama administration signaling a change in policy toward terror-sponsoring states in general?



Join the discussion…

Are you a subscriber? Log in to comment »

Not a subscriber? Join the discussion today, subscribe to Commentary »





Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor to our site, you are allowed 8 free articles this month.
This is your first of 8 free articles.

If you are already a digital subscriber, log in here »

Print subscriber? For free access to the website and iPad, register here »

To subscribe, click here to see our subscription offers »

Please note this is an advertisement skip this ad
Clearly, you have a passion for ideas.
Subscribe today for unlimited digital access to the publication that shapes the minds of the people who shape our world.
Get for just
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor, you are allowed 8 free articles.
This is your first article.
You have read of 8 free articles this month.
YOU HAVE READ 8 OF 8
FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
for full access to
CommentaryMagazine.com
INCLUDES FULL ACCESS TO:
Digital subscriber?
Print subscriber? Get free access »
Call to subscribe: 1-800-829-6270
You can also subscribe
on your computer at
CommentaryMagazine.com.
LOG IN WITH YOUR
COMMENTARY MAGAZINE ID
Don't have a CommentaryMagazine.com log in?
CREATE A COMMENTARY
LOG IN ID
Enter you email address and password below. A confirmation email will be sent to the email address that you provide.