The Burgas Obama nexus

What does seem clear is that Hezbollah and Iran have managed to exploit the weaknesses of foreign governments to their advantage.

February 1, 2018 21:48
3 minute read.
A BUS IS seen at the airport in Burgas, Bulgaria, on July 18, 2012, after terrorists blew it up.

A BUS IS seen at the airport in Burgas, Bulgaria, on July 18, 2012, after terrorists blew it up as it transported Israeli tourists to their hotels.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

The evidence linking Iran’s terrorist proxy Hezbollah to the 2012 bomb attack in Burgas, Bulgaria, is undeniable.

Yet, astoundingly, the Bulgarian state prosecution does not even mention the word “Hezbollah” in its indictment of the two living men allegedly involved in the attack. Nor does the indictment mention that the bombing, which left five Israelis and their Bulgarian bus driver dead and 32 Israelis wounded, was an act of terrorism.

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Why would Bulgaria’s prosecutor leave out the terrorist dimension of the attack and omit the involvement of Hezbollah?

Tsvetan Tsvetanov, Bulgaria’s interior minister at the time of the attack, announced in 2012, “We have established that the two [accused] were members of the militant wing of the Hezbollah.” He added, “There is data showing the financing and connection between Hezbollah and the two suspects.” Tsvetanov’s successor made similar comments.

In 2013, then-foreign minister of Bulgaria Nikolay Mladenov said the government would not have issued a statement linking Hezbollah to the Burgas bombing if it did not have evidence.

Europol, which coordinates policing across the 27 European Union states, has linked Hezbollah to the attack. So has the US.
Three Hezbollah terrorists were involved: the bomber, Lebanese-French national Muhammad Hassan El-Husseini, who died in the explosion, and two additional suspects: Lebanese-Australian Meliad Farah and Lebanese-Canadian Hassan El Hajj Hassan, who fled to Lebanon where the country’s political leaders have ignored Bulgaria’s extradition requests.

The Bulgarian prosecutor’s strange unwillingness to implicate Hezbollah in the bombing is reminiscent of a recent Politico report on the Obama administration’s purported intentional obstruction of investigations by the US’s Drug Enforcement Administration into drug trafficking and money laundering by Hezbollah.

According to the Politico report, in its determination to secure a nuclear deal with Iran and out of a realization that going after Hezbollah at a time when the US was negotiating with its patron might kill the deal, the Obama administration purposely stymied the investigations, which were code-named Project Cassandra.

The DEA followed cocaine shipments from Latin America to West Africa and on to Europe and the Middle East, and others through Venezuela and Mexico to the US. They tracked the drug money as it was laundered by, among other tactics, buying American used cars and shipping them to Africa. And with the help of key witnesses, DEA agents believed they traced the conspiracy to the innermost circle of Hezbollah and its state sponsors in Iran.

Yet, the US Justice Department declined requests by the DEA to file criminal charges against Hezbollah operatives and against Iranians connected to Tehran’s Quds Force.

The similarity between the Politico story and what is playing out now in Bulgaria is impossible to miss. But while the Obama administration’s motive was clear – ensuring that the Iranian nuclear deal was not scuttled – the motivation of the Bulgarians is less clear.

Could it be that Bulgarian officials are afraid of retaliation from Hezbollah? Perhaps the failure to mention Hezbollah is an attempt to protect intelligence sources? Maybe there are powerful interests inside Bulgaria, a country that suffers from corruption, that do not want to see Hezbollah and Iran indicted in a high-profile trial.

What does seem clear is that Hezbollah and Iran have managed to exploit the weaknesses of foreign governments to their advantage. Whether it is the Obama administration’s purported willingness to sacrifice the enforcement of law and order within its own borders – including against the sale of cocaine and money laundering – for the sake of achieving a nuclear arms deal with Iran, or the Bulgarian government’s readiness to whitewash Hezbollah’s and Iran’s involvement in the deadly bombing of 2012, there are powerful figures around the world who are willing to turn a blind eye to the nefarious deeds of Iran and its Lebanese terrorist proxy.

In the name of justice and differentiating good from evil, both Hezbollah and Iran must be held responsible for their horrific crimes. Whitewashing and cover-ups will only serve to perpetuate the evil.

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