By Luis Salomon and Jaime Ortega.
Veryan Khan is associate publisher at The Beacham Group, LLC., and Editorial Director of its Terrorism Research & Analysis Consortium http://www.trackingterrorism.org/
1) Is it somewhat possible that Mexican Cartels could work alongside Islamic terrorist groups and have training camps inside of Mexico? And have you ever heard about such rumors?
There have been many such rumors of Mexican drug cartels working with AQ splinter groups — there are also rumors that the franchises would take advantage of the tunnels into the US for possible attacks. Though there is no solid proof I have seen of either rumor. The solid evidence is coming in for AQIM in Mali having connections with FARC in Colombia, financing attacks with Narcotics. It came 2 months ago that it was a direct weapons for product in a pretty sophisticated
2) If it turns out to be true (not confirmed), how could such cooperation have even started? And why?
The convergence between organized crime and terrorist groups are many. They have many of the same needs: safe houses, training camps, arms supplies and cashes, ways to move money secretly. There is substantial information on this topic on TRAC.
3) Hypothetically speaking: How could Islamic Terrorist groups benefit from such an alliance (weapons, bombs)?
Money, money, money … moves everything. As I mentioned earlier MX cartels have ways to get into the US “under the radar” that would greatly benefit anyone wanting to plan an attack.
4) There have been reports that Mexican Cartels have accessed mini submarines to smuggle narcotics to the Californian coast line by the U.S. Coastal guards. If this is correct,could they hypothetically use these submarines to transport terrorist(s) or weapons for operations inside the U.S.?
TRAC has photos of the submarines. Other South American cartels have mini subs too.
5) Logistics: Would it be more effective for Islamic terrorist cells to enter via border with Mexico-U.S. than directly flying to the U.S.? This is the fear of the anti-immigartion proponents.
Even with its faults, the US has done a very good job with their “no fly” lists and airport security. Yes, flying in is way more difficult.
6) Have any Islamic Groups ever worked outside of its religious consent, and participated in operations alongside other paramilitary groups with a different agenda?
Are we talking about all Islamic groups in general or AQ and its affiliates? The world of Islamic groups in general is pretty big, so, co-operation with others is not totally out of the question. Hezbollah has been working in the tri-border region of South America for a pretty long time now. The AQIM/ FARC connection is a profitable/business relationship. The AQ affiliates of MUJAO and Ansar Dine in Mail directly and effectively panned attacks with the Tuareg group MNLA before they took over Mali last year.
7) Target: Would a city like Las Vegas, which is known for Mexican Cartel drug operations be a target for any Islamic Terrorist, helped by them?
I think any US city is potentially a target for AQ or for inspiring a home grown cell to target. The MX cartels would have to have something pretty BIG in the pot for them to help AQ openly. After all their bread is buttered by US customers, why kill their target market off?