Summary: Stratfor reports that “The bloody turf battles that have been waged for the better part of this year in the northern state of Chihuahua – and in the border city of Ciudad Juarez in particular – continued this past week. The usual cadence of violence in the state was punctuated by two particularly brutal incidents.”
Stratfor has been the “go to” site for reports about the troubles of our southern neighbor. Here are excerpts from their “Mexico Security Memo” of 18 August 2008, describing the continued slow disintegration of the political regime in Mexico. While largely ignored by the mainstream media in the US, this (and the massive northward flow of people that results from it) is — as Martin van Creveld noted a decade ago — perhaps the greatest geopolitical threat to America. See the following excerpts from the Stratfor report for more details.
Another valuable article on this subject: “State of Siege: Mexico’s Criminal Insurgency“, John P. Sullivan and Adam Elkus, Small Wars Journal, 19 August 2008 — Excerpt:
Mexico is under siege, and the barbarians are dangerously close to breaching the castle walls. Responding to President Felipe Calderon’s latest drug crackdown, an army of drug cartels has launched a vicious criminal insurgency against the Mexican state. So far, the conflict has killed over 1,400 Mexicans, 500 of them law enforcement officers. No longer fearing retaliation, cartel gunmen assault soldier and high-ranking federale alike. The criminal threat is not only a threat to public order but to the state.
… As the intensity of the violence grows, so does the possibility that Tijuana and Juarez’s high-intensity street warfare will migrate north. Recent cartel warfare in Arizona indicates that America has become a battleground for drug cartels clashing over territory, putting American citizens and law enforcement at risk. But the northward migration of cartel warfare is not the worst consequence of Mexico’s criminal insurgency. A lawless Mexico will be a perfect staging ground for terrorists seeking to operate in North America.
Excerpts from the Stratfor report
The bloody turf battles that have been waged for the better part of this year in the northern state of Chihuahua – and in the border city of Ciudad Juarez in particular – continued this past week. The usual cadence of violence in the state was punctuated by two particularly brutal incidents. …
Sinaloa Cartel Activities in Central America
The increasing presence of Mexican drug traffickers in Central America is a shift that we have observed over the past year, as maritime and airborne routes to Mexico have become more difficult to use without detection. Several details of these most recent investigations offer keen tactical insight into how drugs are moved from South America to Mexico.
… Besides these tactical details, this incident offers an opportunity to consider the overall state of the drug trade. It is a testament to the current power of Mexican cartels in general that it is the Mexican groups – and not Colombian groups or others – that have extended their reach into Central America. This reach will not only prove useful for drug trafficking purposes, but also probably will be exploited for delivering drugs to the emerging consumer markets in much of Latin America. …
Federal Police on Strike
Several hundred federal police agents in four states carried out a brief work stoppage Aug. 15, demanding additional days off, better pay and more powerful weapons. The strikes – which were carried out by agents assigned to Guanajuato, San Luis Potosi, Sinaloa, and Tabasco states – left some airport posts in Guanajuato and highway checkpoints elsewhere temporarily abandoned.
… Work stoppages, protests and walkouts have become common among state and local Mexican police forces over the past year, as an increase in cartel attacks on police has made the job too dangerous for officers to settle for the salary and working hours they signed on for. Strikes by federal police agents, however, are much less frequent – and their spread could potentially have a devastating impact on the government’s strategy in the cartel war.
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Other articles about Mexico
- Is Mexico unraveling?, 28 April 2008 — summary of Stratfor’s warnings about Mexico.
- “High Stakes South of the Border”, 13 May 2008
- “Mexico: On the Road to a Failed State?“, George Friedman, Stratfor, 13 May 2008
- “Mexico: Examining Cartel War Violence Through a Protective Intelligence Lens“, Stratfor, 14 May 2008
- “Crime and Punishment in Mexico: The big picture beyond drug cartel violence“, posted at Grits for Breakfast, 18 May 2008
- Stratfor: the Mexican cartels stike at Phoenix, AZ, 6 July 2008
- “Drug cartels ‘threaten’ Mexican democracy”, 24 July 2008
- Nonsense from StrategyPage: Iraq is safer than Mexico, 17 December 2008