What the fuck is going on in Mexico?
I don't know much about the situation over there, so links to any good analysis, anecdotes, overviews, whatever, gratefully received...Mexico has pretty much always been a rough-and-tumble place. In recent years, however, the security environment has deteriorated rapidly, and parts of the country have become incredibly violent. It is now common to see military weaponry such as fragmentation grenades and assault rifles used almost daily in attacks.
In fact, just last week we noted two separate strings of grenade attacks directed against police in Durango and Michoacan states. In the Michoacan incident, police in Uruapan and Lazaro Cardenas were targeted by three grenade attacks during a 12-hour period. Then on Feb. 17, a major firefight occurred just across the border from the United States in Reynosa, when Mexican authorities attempted to apprehend several armed men seen riding in a vehicle. The men fled to a nearby residence and engaged the pursuing police with gunfire, hand grenades and rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs). After the incident, in which five cartel gunmen were killed and several gunmen, cops, soldiers and civilians were wounded, authorities recovered a 60 mm mortar, five RPG rounds and two fragmentation grenades.
Make no mistake, considering the military weapons now being used in Mexico and the number of deaths involved, the country is in the middle of a war. In fact, there are actually three concurrent wars being waged in Mexico involving the Mexican drug cartels. The first is the battle being waged among the various Mexican drug cartels seeking control over lucrative smuggling corridors, called plazas. One such battleground is Ciudad Juarez, which provides access to the Interstate 10, Interstate 20 and Interstate 25 corridors inside the United States. The second battle is being fought between the various cartels and the Mexican government forces who are seeking to interrupt smuggling operations, curb violence and bring the cartel members to justice.
Then there is a third war being waged in Mexico, though because of its nature it is a bit more subdued. It does not get the same degree of international media attention generated by the running gun battles and grenade and RPG attacks. However, it is no less real, and in many ways it is more dangerous to innocent civilians (as well as foreign tourists and business travelers) than the pitched battles between the cartels and the Mexican government. This third war is the war being waged on the Mexican population by criminals who may or may not be involved with the cartels. Unlike the other battles, where cartel members or government forces are the primary targets and civilians are only killed as collateral damage, on this battlefront, civilians are squarely in the crosshairs....
This isn't all that different really - Columbia, to name the obvious example, where you also have the 4th war being fought across political lines.This third war is the war being waged on the Mexican population by criminals who may or may not be involved with the cartels. Unlike the other battles, where cartel members or government forces are the primary targets and civilians are only killed as collateral damage, on this battlefront, civilians are squarely in the crosshairs....
Brian Jenkins at RAND:What the fuck is going on in Mexico?
Although this situation would hardly be good news for the US war on drugs, the United States could live with it. Concerns would increase only if American expatriates living in Mexico became regular victims of criminal violence, or especially if the violence were to spread across the border into the United States. The expatriates could always decide to leave if things got too dangerous. But it may be difficult to prevent the violence from spreading across the border if Mexican drug traffickers compete to take control of downstream distribution or decide to engage in other criminal operations in the United States.
Sergio Aguayo Quezada - Mexico: A State of Failure - writing @ openDemocracy.netNice one, Mr BoShambles -- basically, what I'm hearing is that Mexico is in danger of becoming a failed state -- though obviously that doesn't mean that it's right on the precipice.
What chapters should I print out?
Vulliamy wrote a good overview last year.Who is at the centre of the drug gangs' networks?
Chap 1 for discussion of the basic thesis. Chap 3 for analysis (by Williams who i just linked to) of criminal networks - most relevant to this discussion. On Mexico:What chapters should I print out?