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El Qaeda: Tomorrow’s Horrible Foreign Policy Idea

By Matthew Yglesias on January 9, 2010 at 11:28 am

"El Qaeda: Tomorrow’s Horrible Foreign Policy Idea"

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What do you get when you mix “war on drugs” hysteria, “war on terror” hysteria, Cold War thinking, and Rep Ileana Ros-Lehtinen? Nothing good:

For her part, Rep. Ros-Lehtinen cited DEA reports that demonstrate a Venezuelan connection in a new alliance formed between the FARC and al Qaeda, in which the oil producing nation plays the part of a “massive airport for the use of the traffickers.”

“It is no surprise that Hugo Chávez allows Venezuela to serve as a massive airport for the use of traffickers. In fact the DEA has said that all the planes captured in West Africa left from Venezuela,” Ros-Lehtinen said.

She explained that the recent arrest of three African agents of al Qaeda after a drug smuggling operation showed a new panorama of cooperation between Islamic extremist groups and those of South American narco-guerrillas.

As Joshua Keating explains what actually happened here was that some DEA guys posed as FARC members and made a deal with three Africans. It’s not clear that the Africans are really tied to al-Qaeda, though they might be. But it’s absolutely certain that the fake FARC guys are not tied to Venezuela since . . . they’re not really FARC guys at all. If I pretended to be a conservative member of congress from Florida and went out and bought some drugs, that wouldn’t show anything at all about the drug consumption habits of Florida conservatives. This isn’t even remotely complicated.

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