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Thread: Mexico

  1. #31

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    Nightwatch briefing from last month:

    Sri Lanka: Over the weekend, Sri Lankans celebrated the capture of the Tamil Tigers military headquarters at Kilinochchi. The defeat of the Tamil Tigers is a function of several important factors. By far the most important is the Indian Navy patrols of the Palk Strait that prevented supplies from Tamil Nadu State in India from reaching the Sri Lankan Tamils at the time of their greatest need. Indian federal authorities received sustained criticism from the Tamil Nadu State press for not easing the restrictions to permit the Indian Tamils to support the Sri Lankan Tamils.

    The second important factor was the rapid expansion of the Sri Lankan Army in a few years. Based on press reporting, the NightWatch force assessments since May 2007 are shown below.

    Country: Sri Lanka (May 07), Northeast Tamil region (Tamil separatists)
    Government Forces Committed: 118,000 total
    Enemy Strength: 6,000
    Govt : Enemy Ratio: 19 : 1
    Status: Rebels hold large areas of northeastern Sri Lanka

    Country: Sri Lanka (June 08)
    Government Forces Committed: 157,000
    Enemy Strength: 4,000-5,000
    Govt : Enemy Ratio: 31-39:1
    Status: LTTE barely holding northern province

    Country: Sri Lanka (November 08)
    Government Forces Committed: 200,000
    Enemy Strength: Est 3,000
    Govt : Enemy Ratio: 66:1
    Status: LTTE no longer able to hold ground; Lost their base in Jan 09.

    Sri Lankan Army Chief of General Staff Lieutenant General Fonseca overwhelmed the Tamil Tigers. With a 66: 1 force ratio, the outcome was inevitable, albeit at a glacial pace without modern weapons technology.

    Finally, under sustained government pressure, the Tamil secessionist movement splintered. Some Tamils helped the government and others just stopped fighting. Defeat tends to create such internal stresses.

    The Tigers retain some capability to fight a guerilla campaign. Without outside resupply, every attack becomes a use and lose proposition that ultimately reduces the Tigers to a law and order/bandit problem.

    With quiet, unheralded but critical Indian support, Sri Lanka is the first state to defeat an insurgency in this decade. It did it without high tech, but with an Indian Naval blockade that cut off external supply. There seems to be a lesson in that.

    As one Reader noted in feedback, Fonseca’s achievement took only two days longer than he predicted half a year ago, which is impressive, if not astonishing.
    CFR backgrounder (with paragraphs!) here.
    Last edited by vimothy; 27-02-2009 at 05:13 PM.

  2. #32
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    where did you cross? "failed" may be an exaggeration but compared to the U.S./Mexico border, which is of course hardly perfect, it's a nightmare.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr BoShambles View Post
    You mean along these lines?

    Also, the dissident Zapatistas, which are a large political presence in Chiapas, will reject any plans which they believe mimics the pseudo-development schemes that chronically occur throughout the rest of Central America. This will be any plans highlighting conventional economic inputs and outputs, instead of social development of indigenous peoples living in the area, and planning for a more equitable redistribution of wealth, is likely to be rejected as not being germane.

    Increasing the level of policing of immigration trafficking in the area can become controversial, as neither Mexican nor Guatemalan police have the best human rights track records for efficiency and professionalism. Indigenous inhabitants are highly skeptical of the personnel attached to the government who already deal with them. Being the habitual victims of corruption, abuse and violence by state officials, adding more of the same to the fears affecting the indigenous border population is just not an option. Fear is mounting that the border is now becoming overtly militarized and could become an area of confrontation between the Zapatista Guerrilla Army and the regionís national border.

    from here
    no, though that too. La Selva Lacandon is continguous with rainforest in Guatamala (just as the Mayan population of Chiapas & the Yucatan Peninsula is contiguous with the Mayan population of Guatamala), but I don't think too many ppl live there cos it's a jungle. can't grow crops & that - though I do remember the two times I was in Chiapas doing EZLN solidarity work that there was some business about a development project for the Lacandon that they were pissed off about (that was back in '02-03 - my Spanish also sucked back then so I missed a lot of what was going on).

  3. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by padraig (u.s.) View Post
    where did you cross? "failed" may be an exaggeration but compared to the U.S./Mexico border, which is of course hardly perfect, it's a nightmare.
    Sorry to labour the point padraig but what is it that makes it a nightmare?

    lawlessness? drug flows? illegal immigration? grinding poverty? excessive militarization?

    (we crossed at La Mesilla on the pan-americana)
    Last edited by Mr BoShambles; 27-02-2009 at 05:37 PM.

  4. #34

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    Nice one for the stuff on Sri Lanka vim -- Fab's gf is working out in Colombo at the mo and her dad does humanitarian work of some sort in the region. I'll try to tap them up for info.

  5. #35

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    I suppose the real question is, how am I going to find time to drink with all this goddamn reading to do?

  6. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by vimothy View Post
    I suppose the real question is, how am I going to find time to drink with all this goddamn reading to do?
    get a drip

  7. #37

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    Ah -- Mr BoShambles, there is much that is now becoming clear...

  8. #38

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    don't know what you ... hic ... mean ... hic

  9. #39
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    Default Sri Lanka :: DefenceWire ::

    granted you may want a pinch of salt but i often find that they at least have information up quickly (which you're only going to prove or disprove elsewhere anyway).

    defencewire.blogspot.com

  10. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr BoShambles View Post
    Sorry to labour the point padraig but what is it that makes it a nightmare?

    lawlessness? drug flows? illegal immigration? grinding poverty? excessive militarization?

    (we crossed at La Mesilla on the pan-americana)
    all of the above, except possibly drugs (I have no idea how much goes overland all the way from South America but it dosen't seem like a cost-effective to transport them?). & the militarization is, I dunno, - the EZLN & the army haven't been in active shooting war (though there's still violence - a lot of it in the traditional Latin American way with gunmen hired by landholders & the like - as well as harassment etc.), anyway militarization was I think much more pronounced under Zedillo than it has been since - Fox was at least smart enough not to do it so openly - the EZLN really do have quite a bit of popular support throughout the country. I mean, there's still checkpoints on the highways & such but even by the time I went in '02 it had been significantly toned down.

    I guess when I say nightmare I'm referring mainly to the immigration situation largely engendered by grinding poverty - I spent a while teaching ESL to migrant laborers in Cali - nearly all of them were Guatamalan/Salvadoran/etc. hardly any Mexicans (this was in East Oakland) - heard a lot of horror stories. I guess I mean that on the U.S. border things are fucked with a capital F but there is still essentially rule of law, which I'm not sure is the case everywhere on the Mex/Guat border.

    the Pan-Americana as well being, I'd suspect, the most official border crossing. I've only crossed twice, both times at Tapachula - also every time I was there I got around by hitching rather than bus so I got a different (not better, just different)perspective I think.

  11. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by padraig (u.s.) View Post
    the Pan-Americana as well being, I'd suspect, the most official border crossing. I've only crossed twice, both times at Tapachula - also every time I was there I got around by hitching rather than bus so I got a different (not better, just different)perspective I think.
    yeah we got a bus which dropped us at the checkpoints. walked across la frontera and picked up a bus across the other side. it did all seem rather chaotic and disorganised but then this was my experience of most of the borders we crossed in latin america.

  12. #42

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    Quote Originally Posted by padraig (u.s.) View Post
    there is still essentially rule of law, which I'm not sure is the case everywhere on the Mex/Guat border
    i think the point here - to me anyway - is that 'the rule of law' is never an absolute but rather a negotiated phenomenon. this is more pronounced in less developed countries but applies in the 'West' as well (think no-go projects/estates/barrio's etc). also in less developed countries, as a general rule, it is common that the further you go from the administrative centre(s) the less effectively centralised state power is projected.
    Last edited by Mr BoShambles; 27-02-2009 at 06:16 PM.

  13. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr BoShambles View Post
    i think the point here - to me anyway - is that 'the rule of law' is never an absolute but rather a negotiated phenomenon. this is more pronounced in less developed countries but applies in the 'West' as well (think no-go projects/estates/barrio's etc). also in less developed countries, as a general rule, it is common that the further you go from the administrative centre(s) the less effectively centralised state power is projected.
    this is also a fair point - I was going to bring it up re: no-go areas in the States (though surely "no-go" is an elastic term depending on who one is referring too not being able to go somewhere).

    also, probably more on the Guatamalan side, which makes sense as for all this talk it seems like Mexico is a far more stable/functioning state than Guatamala or El Salvador. though I guess either of those countries becoming a "failed state" isn't nearly as important to the U.S. in security terms.

  14. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr BoShambles View Post
    yeah we got a bus which dropped us at the checkpoints. walked across la frontera and picked up a bus across the other side. it did all seem rather chaotic and disorganised but then this was my experience of most of the borders we crossed in latin america.
    yes, but perhaps moreseo there b/c most borders in Latin America don't have this enormous migratory pressure bearing down on them. which is I think one thing that often gets left out of the immigration debate in the U.S. (at least in public, I'm sure policy-makers are well aware of it) - how many of the illegals are actuall Central American & how powerless the Mexican govt is to do anything about it.

  15. #45

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    Quote Originally Posted by padraig (u.s.) View Post
    yes, but perhaps moreseo there b/c most borders in Latin America don't have this enormous migratory pressure bearing down on them. which is I think one thing that often gets left out of the immigration debate in the U.S. (at least in public, I'm sure policy-makers are well aware of it) - how many of the illegals are actuall Central American & how powerless the Mexican govt is to do anything about it.
    perhaps this is the case; but then presumably (and i have nothing concrete with which to back this up) most of the nicaraguan, honduran and el salvadorean "illegals" in the US make the journey by land through Mexico -- a northwards flow of migrants thus affecting all borders to some degree (panama and costa rica are notable exceptions given i guess the relative wealth and order in these countries).

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