U.S. Marine Gen. John Kelly, commander of U.S. Southern Command, at an event hosted by NDU in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 18th.
By NAN Staff Writer
News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. Nov. 20, 2015: With the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS’) attack on Paris still fresh on the minds of many, News Americas Now wanted to take a look at what impact Isis is having on the Caribbean and Latin America even as leaders from this region conveyed their empathy to France.
As governments across this region, including Trinidad & Tobago and the French Caribbean territories say they are stepping up security, there continues to be reports of citizens from Trinidad as well as Suriname and Venezuela joining Isis in Syria.
Thirty citizens from Trinidad & Tobago are now reportedly terrorist fighters with ISIS.
Very recent propaganda footage to emerge from the barbaric organization shows a man sitting beside his three children issuing a call for Muslims on Trinidad and Tobago to rise up.
In the video, a man, identified as Abu Zayd al-Muhajir, claimed he had fled his homeland because Muslims in Trinidad and Tobago were restricted in what they could do.
Abu Mansour al-Muhajir, another fighter from the twin island Caribbean country, said he had travelled to Syria to fight allies of the devil.
This as St. Maarten authorities arrested three men carrying fake Greek passports who tried to enter the French and Dutch island of St. Maarten in the Caribbean on Saturday, November 14th, according to the Times Caribbean Online.
The men, believed to be Syrian nationals, arrived at the Princess Juliana International Airport on the Dutch side of the island about 7:30 a.m. on an Insel Air Flight out of Haiti.
The arrests came just a day after 129 people were killed and hundreds more injured in a series of shootings and suicide bombings in Paris on Nov. 13th. At least two of the attackers were confirmed to be Syrian migrates who entered Europe through Greece among refugees fleeing Syria’s civil war.
Three days later, on November 17th, police in Honduras arrested five more Syrians who were travelling on stolen Greek passports and intended to enter the United States by land.
The five men were detained after arriving on a flight from neighboring El Salvador, police said. According to Honduran police, they were planning to travel to the northern city of San Pedro Sul to cross into Guatemala and then Mexico before reaching the US border.
The arrest also comes on the heels of an April report on inquisitr.com that ISIS is operating in northern Mexico, just minutes from the U.S. border and a few miles from El Paso, Texas. Judicial Watch claims ISIS is working alongside drug cartels and human traffickers to penetrate the U.S. homeland from a dangerous, gang-controlled staging area in Mexico known as Anapra.
U.S. law enforcement officials had insisted then that the Judicial Watch account has no verification and that it is unlikely that ISIS has set up shop in the Anapra area, near Ciudad Juarez, in the state of Chihuahua.
Yet, earlier this year, Marine Gen. John Kelly, commander of U.S. Southern Command, told Congress that as many as 100 people have left their native Caribbean homes bound for Syria and Iraq to join the Islamic State group’s cause.
The general said that while the number of people leaving to fight alongside militants is small, the US takes for granted a functioning legal justice system, the FBI, and layers of clean police officers – which may absent in some of the Caribbean countries. When recruits return, he said, they can’t be monitored or checked. Once back in their country, Kelly said the recruits could travel freely between nations and potentially get across the border into America.
Kelly also told reporters the sophistication of, and the amount of movement going through, the smuggling networks through the isthmus and Mexico overwhelms “our ability to stop everything” via the US Border Control and the Department of Homeland Security. But he said he has seen no indication of a direct threat or scheme to attack the US.
Meanwhile, Caribbean governments have also been attacked with the websites of Jamaica and St. Vincent & the Grenadines hacked and replaced with ISIS images earlier this summer.
The state of emergency declared by France following the deadly terror attacks in Paris has now been extended to Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Martinique, Mayotte, Reunion Island, and St Martin and St Barths.
French Minister of Overseas Territories George Pau-Langevin said the decision is justified and necessary for “coherence and reinforcement of security systems.”