The world needs to act to counter the growing presence of Iranian-supported
terrorist organizations throughout South America, former chief of staff of the
Peruvian Armed Forces, Gen. Francisco Contreras, told The Jerusalem Post on
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Contreras served as the head of the Peruvian Military until about
half a year ago, when he retired after 42 years of service. He was in
Israel this week on a private visit.
“We definitely need to be concerned
with the growing presence of Iran in South America,” Contreras said. “It appears
that Iranian organizations provide support to other terrorist organizations, and
that there is cooperation between them.”
Hezbollah is known to maintain
strongholds in South America – particularly in the area connecting Brazil,
Argentina and Paraguay – where its supporters are actively involved in
drug-smuggling, arms-trafficking, money-laundering, fraud and
Israel and the Untied States are also
increasingly concerned with the alliance Venezuela has forged with
According to Contreras, countries like Israel and Peru need to
increase cooperation to combat the growing terrorist threat.
something strange in the relationship [Venezuelan President Hugo] Chavez has
forged with Iran, as is the presence of the Iranian defense minister in Bolivia
on a recent visit,” he said.
Israel’s defense ties with Peru go back
several decades, and in recent years include the sale of Rafael’s Spike
anti-tank missile to the Peruvian army, as well as Israeli drones to its air
In 2009, the government of Peru signed a $9 million deal with
Global CST, a defense-consulting firm based in Petah Tikva, run by former IDF
general Yisrael Ziv.
According to a US diplomatic cable revealed by
Wikileaks last year, American diplomats were closely following Global CST’s
inroads in Latin America, which includes a similar deal in
Contreras said he decided to hire Ziv’s company to help train
the military how to combat terrorists from the Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path)
Global CST is active in close to a dozen nations on
three continents. Recent news reports have put it in Mexico, Peru, Guinea and in
a number of countries in Europe.
According to Contreras, Ziv’s company
focused on training elite forces for special counterterror operations,
strengthening Peruvian intelligence networks, and assisting security forces in
working together to kill or capture Sendero Luminoso members.
said that despite pressure from the US not to hire a private company, the
combination of assistance from the US Military and Ziv’s company turned the tide
in Peru’s war on terror.
“The combination brought a major change, and our
military became more offensive and took the battle to the terrorists, instead of
always being on the defensive,” he said.