The Americas Report | Oct 03, 2008
By Nicole Ferrand
Mr. El - Aissami is a Venezuelan national of Syrian descent who, before becoming Minster of Interior and Justice, occupied the position of Deputy Interior Minister for Public Security. His father, Carlos Aissami, is the head of the Venezuelan branch of the Iraqi Baath political party. Before the invasion of Iraq, he held a press conference in which he described himself as a Taliban and called Osama Bin Laden, "the great Mujahedeen, Sheik Osama bin Laden." Tarek's great-uncle Shibli el-Aissami was a prominent ideologist and assistant to the party's secretary general in Baghdad during the Saddam Hussein regime.
It was discovered that in 2003 El Aissami was appointed, along with another radical student leader from the University of the Andes in the city of Mérida, Hugo Cabezas, to head the country's passport and naturalization service, the Onidex (Identification and Immigration Office). The choice came as a surprise precisely because of their ties with guerrilla movements at Universidad de Los Andes (ULA). Evidence has surfaced that during this time both men illegally issued Venezuelan passports and identity documents to members of Hezbollah and Hamas. Mr. Cabezas is now the government candidate for governor of the Andean state of Trujillo in elections due to be held on November 23, 2008 and is a founding member of Utopia, an armed group that has connections with the Bolivarian Liberation Front.
While a student leader at ULA, Aissami had political control of the university residences (dorms), which were used to hide stolen vehicles and conduct drug deals and had managed to get members of the guerillas into the dorms. According to reports, of the 1,122 people living in one of the University's residences, only 387 were active students and more than 600 had nothing to do with the university.
Venezuelan investigative journalist, Patricia Poleo, who escaped Venezuela and currently lives in Miami says that Mr. Aissami together with others affiliated with Hezbollah, such as Lebanon-born Gahzi Nasserddine, currently the Business Liaison at the Venezuelan embassy in Damascus, and his brother, Ghasan Atef Salameh Nasserddi, are in charge of recruiting young Venezuelan Arabs affiliated with the Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela' or PSUV (Chavez's Socialist Party), to be sent to South Lebanon for combat training in Hezbollah camps preparing them for asymmetrical war' against the United States. Once back in Venezuela, they are greeted by radical members of the Venezuelan Socialist Party affiliated with UNEFA (the university run by the Armed Forces) and the Universidad Bolivariana de Venezuela (Venezuelan Bolivarian University) and continue with their training in firearms, explosives and munitions. The training camps are located in the states of Monagas, Miranda, el Páramo, Falcon, Yaracuy, Yumare, and Trujillo and the districts of Maturin, Los Teques, El Jari, Churuguara and Sierra de San Luis. These groups and individuals are supervised by the Hezbollah Organization in Venezuela, along with al-Qaeda Iraqis currently living in the country and by the Palestinian Democratic Front, headed by Salid Ahmed Rahman, whose office is located in Caracas's Central Park.
Since Chavez assumed the Presidency, Hezbollah, Hamas and al-Qaeda have used Venezuela as their bridge to other Latin American countries. There is information that a group of Iraqi activists belonging to al-Qaeda are currently in Caracas. Their names are: Mohammed Adnan Yasin, Falah Amin Taha and Muhi Alwan Mohammed Al Qaisi. They all arrived in Caracas with temporary visas granted and approved by the heads of Onidex (Cabezas and Aissami) and are believed to be very dangerous. They oversee the activities of these terrorist organizations in the tri - border region, and in Nicaragua and Argentina.
Other Hezbollah members in Venezuela with these same visas are: explosives expert Lebanese Abdul Ghani Suleiman Wanked, Hassan Nasrallah's right-hand man.; Rada Ramel Assad, born in Barranquilla, Colombia and Abouchanab Daichoum Dani who is the organizer of the group.
Jan 6, 2009 Justice Minister Tarek El Aissami, who is of Arab descent, said "our revolution is also a revolution for a free Palestine!"
Chavez accuses Israel of acting on behalf of the United States in the Mideast, and he has forged close ties with Israel's top enemies -- Iran and Syria.
Chavez also has used the tool of expelling an ambassador before. Last September, he kicked out U.S. envoy Patrick Duddy saying it was in solidarity with Bolivia, which also booted its U.S. ambassador, accusing him of aiding violent protests.
Venezuelan Minister Hangs Out With Hezbollah
by Anna Mahjar-Barducci
February 11, 2011 at 3:15 am
Tarek Al-Aissami, the Venezuelan Minister of Interior and Justice, one of the key figures of the Chavez's government, is accused by the media of having used this position to issue passports to members of Hamas and Hezbollah.
Born in Lebanon of Syrian descent in 1980; his father, Carlos Al-Aissami, was the head of the Venezuelan branch of the Iraqi Baath political party. According to reports, before the invasion of Iraq his father held a press conference in which he described himself as a Taliban and called Osama Bin Laden, "the great Mujahedeen, Sheik Osama bin Laden." The Minister's great-uncle Shibli Al-Aissami was a prominent ideologist and assistant to the secretary general of the Baath party in Baghdad during the Saddam Hussein regime.
The Hezbollah's Connection
Al-Aissami started his political career as a student leader at the University of the Andes (ULA). He apparently had political control of the university dorms, which were allegedly used to hide stolen vehicles, make drug deals and smuggle in members of the guerrillas. He then headed Onidex, the Venezuelan passport and naturalization agency inside the Interior Ministry.
Al-Aissami was appointed Minister in 2009, and designated to head Onidex by his close friend, Dante Rivas Quijada. The two attended the same university and is also reported to have ties to the Shiite movement Hezbollah.
There are also allegations that Al-Aissami is one of the people responsible for recruiting young Venezuelan Arabs to be trained in Hezbollah camps in Southern Lebanon. Al-Aissami additionally seems to have helped establishing training caps inside Venezuela, complete with ammunition and explosives. Reports claim that he was working directly with most-wanted terrorist Ghazi Nasr-Din, a Venezuelan diplomat also born in Lebanon.
The US Treasury Department added Ghazi Nasr-Din -- along with Fawzi Kan'an, another Venezuelan born in Lebanon -- to the list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists for their support of Hezbollah. Nasr-Din is also accused of having given Hezbollah donors information on bank accounts where the deposits would go directly to Hezbollah.
In 2009, Al-Aissami participated in an event in support of Palestine in the Sheikh Ibrahim Mosque in Caracas. In that occasion, the Minister declared that beyond his governmental functions: "I am a son of Arabs, I am a Palestinian, I am an Iraqi [
] Our revolution is also a revolution that fights for a free Palestine. You have to know that we are ready to give our life, if needed [
] Viva Palestine, Viva Hugo Chavez, Viva the Revolution!"
The Al-Aissami's Clan
One of the Minister's sisters, Haifa Al-Aissami, with no diplomatic experience, has just been appointed Ambassador to the Netherlands. The appointment sparked in the media accusations of nepotism in the government. Another sister of Al-Aissami, Amin Obayda El Aissami, is an executive of Intevep, the Oil Technology arm of Venezuela.
The brother of Al-Aissami, Firaz Al-Aissami, is suspected of being involved in the case of Walid Makled, a former Venezuelan businessman of Syrian origins, arrested in Colombia. He is designated by the White House an international "drug kingpin," also through the alliance with the FARC. The US and Venezuela are asking for his extradition. The Chavez administration is actually worried about possible evidence that would be made public if Makled would be send to trial to New York. Makled has threatened that he should he be given to the US authority, he will spill out all he knows.
He is reported to have said that "If I'm a drug trafficker, everyone in the Chavez government is drug trafficker." He described making payments of about $1 million a month to high-ranking civilian and military officials and separately paying the brother of Al-Aissami $100,000. Makled also revealed that the Minister himself received a cash payoff made through El Aissami's brother. Makled said the money was in exchange for favors and concessions. Makled also declared that he taped his meetings with the Minister's brother. The cousin of the Minister, Aiman Al-Aissami, also appears among the names involved in the Makled's case. Aissami, of course, denies all the allegations.
 Iran and its Proxy Hezbollah: Strategic penetration in Latin America, E. Karmon
 Washington Post, January 24, 2011