25 Years Since the AMIA Bombing | Wilson Center
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25 Years Since the AMIA Bombing

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Webcast Recap

It has been 25 years since the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish community center in Buenos Aires. Eighty-five people were killed and hundreds wounded. Despite evidence of Iran and Hezbollah's roles in the attack, to date, no one has been held accountable. The Latin American Program's Argentina Project, in partnership with The Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), hosted a public seminar discussing the anniversary of the bombing and implications for counterterrorism challenges globally.

Selected Quotes
 

Fernando Oris De Roa

"The pain will never cease. The wounds cannot be completely healed. But impunity makes it a lot worse. It is important for the history of Argentina and the entire region—for the history of the Jewish community—that justice has to prevail. That is the respect that we owe to the memory of the victims and it is what makes us stronger to fight against terrorism.”

“All Argentinians were victims of AMIA. Although the terrorists targeted one of the most important institutions of the Jewish community…it was also a blow against democracy and freedom.”

“This 25th anniversary gives us the opportunity to say to the world that those who want to spread terror will never succeed, because we will not allow the attack to fade into oblivion.”

Ambassador Nathan Sales

“The victims of this horrific attack—85 people were killed and hundreds more were injured—were both native-born Argentines and immigrants. They were Catholic and Jewish, religious and secular. They were intellectuals and workers, doctors and janitors, lawyers and students. They had names. They had families. They had children, and they had friends. They had plans for the future, which for them never came. Let us honor the memories of those who were tragically lost.”

"It’s been a quarter of a century since the AMIA bombing, yet the threats from Iran, the IRGC, and Hezbollah remain undiminished. The regime in Tehran continues to provide hundreds of millions of dollars every year to terrorists around the world. It has provided Hezbollah alone some $700 million a year.”

“Hezbollah and its Iranian patron spread terrorism across the globe—from attacks against our diplomatic facilities in Iraq to terror plotting in African countries such as Kenya and Nigeria, from plots against Gulf neighbors to planning bombings and assassinations in the heart of Western Europe. No place is safe from Iran’s malevolent reach.”

Emanuele Ottolenghi

“[The Tri-Border Area] is a place with three currencies, three languages, three jurisdictions, and porous borders, weak controls, and corrupt institutions. That allows for an incredible amount of flow of money…. It is a Mecca for money laundering.”

“When you look at these trade-based money laundering operations, the vast majority of them go through the United States.”

“When we fight terrorism, we are often thinking that we are fighting people, you know, hiding in the shadows, conspiring to blow up buildings and people. To blow up buildings and people, especially when you talk about a non-state actor, [like] Hezbollah, you actually need a whole complex range of logistical support and procurement to carry out the terror attacks.”

“I would like to see, and maybe this is a long term project, both Paraguay and Brazil recognize—just like Argentina seems poised to do—that Hezbollah is a terrorist organization.” 

Miguel Bronfman

“Iran had a structure of intelligence and espionage in Argentina through diplomatic officials. Hezbollah had the financial and logistical support needed through the three-border area…. Slowly, all the information was gathered in the file, and now we are sure about who, where, and when the decision [was taken] to carry out the attack. [And] why. What their reasons and motives were.”

“We need new anti-terrorist legislation. All the countries that have suffered terrorism have updated and modernized their legislation. Argentina has not. We need more training for the security forces, for sure. We need a way that the intelligence services can coordinate.”

“Justice feeds from truth in order to achieve peace. When truth is corrupted, you cannot get justice, and therefore, you will not achieve peace. So that’s why after 25 years, as I said, frustrating years and painful years, we are still doing this work.... We want no less than the truth, and demand nothing but justice.”

Daniel Glaser

"No one thought we were going to uproot Hezbollah from South Lebanon. But we did think we could send a message that we were prepared to challenge them in the Lebanese financial system in Beirut…and to really make it much harder for Hezbollah to engage in financial activity.”

“All of that goes to unsettling Hezbollah where it thought it could feel comfortable, and that’s an absolutely vital part of any financial campaign against Hezbollah. They’re going to continue to get money from Iran. We’re not going to bankrupt Hezbollah. We could make it costly or risky or less efficient, and we can make them feel uncomfortable. We could make them feel that there is no place for them to hide, and that’s been the consistent financial strategy against Hezbollah for over the past ten years, and up until today.”

“I think there’s a reluctance in a lot of countries, and in a lot of communities, to call an organization a terrorist organization that also does other things….I actually think the United States gets it right. If it’s an organization that engages in terrorist activities, then it’s a terrorist organization through and through, and it doesn’t matter about the other things that it does.”

 

Opening Remarks
 

Benjamin N. Gedan
Senior Adviser, Latin American Program
Director, Argentina Project

Keynote
 

Ambassador Nathan Sales
Coordinator for Counterterrorism
U.S. Department of State

Remarks
 

Ambassador Fernando Oris de Roa
Embassy of Argentina

Panel Discussion
 

Miguel Bronfman
Principal Lawyer for AMIA

Daniel Glaser
Principal, Financial Integrity Network

Emanuele Ottolenghi
Senior Fellow, FDD

Closing Remarks
 

Toby Dershowitz
Senior Vice President, FDD

 

Image Source:  Flickr