Politico published an explosive investigative report which alleges that the Obama Administration politically interfered to obstruct a far-reaching criminal justice operation against Hezbollah in order to facilitate the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.
The exposé is extensive and covers a wide array of purported activities over a ten-year period all across the US, Latin America, West Africa, Europe, and the Mideast, though the point of this analysis isn’t to summarize what’s contained in the report or to judge its veracity, but to interpret the significance of it being made public at this point in time. The codename given to the investigation into Hezbollah’s global economic network was “Operation Cassandra”, and it alleges to have discovered the mechanics behind the group’s self-sustaining financial ecosystem, some of which supposedly dealt with organized criminal activities such as drug trafficking and money laundering.
Politico’s bombshell wasn’t just the alleged facts that it uncovered, but the claims from some of the operation’s participants that the Obama Administration was undermining their work because it feared that taking action against Hezbollah would endanger Washington’s efforts to clinch the 2015 nuclear deal with the group’s patrons in Tehran. If true, then this would represent a major split within the American “deep state”, or permanent military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies, because it suggests that the State Department and possibly even the CIA were conspiring to subvert the law enforcement duties of the FBI and DEA on behalf of the President.
The implications behind this revelation could be enormous, and at the very least they seem to confirm Republican accusations that the Obama Administration was selling out domestic security interests in order to pursue the risky and now-failed foreign policy gambit of co-opting Iran through a tacit alliance with its ruling “moderate” elites. Seeing as how some of Obama-era “deep state” figures involved in this scandal might still be working with the government, the Trump Administration could use Politico’s report as the pretext for “cleaning house” and removing or professionally neutralizing some of its institutional opponents. It’s speculated that this is what Tillerson has been trying to do for months now, but the latest findings could add a renewed sense of impetus to his efforts.
In addition, apart from the obvious consequences that this revelation could have in further worsening American-Iranian relations and reversing the Obama-era trend towards a rapprochement, there’s another international aspect that needs to be looked at, and that’s the effect that the report will have on the US’ policy towards Latin America.
Politico alleges that “Operation Cassandra” uncovered a diverse criminal network stretching all across the hemisphere, and whether fully true or partially exaggerated, this news could be used to tighten the US’ security arrangements with its regional partners in complementing the theater-wide asymmetrical counteroffensive of “Operation Condor 2.0” that’s been ongoing ever since the 2009 coup against leftist Honduran President Manuel Zelaya.
Relatedly, the allegations of Venezuelan government complicity in Hezbollah’s trans-hemispheric conspiracy could form the basis for new sanctions against the Bolivarian Republic.
All told, this developing scandal might take a while to fully unfold, but it can still be expected to influence the course of the “deep state’s” War on Trump and the US’ policy towards Latin America to one extent or another by the time that it’s all said and done with.