Thursday, June 24, 2010

Betting on Extermination

According to Excélsior, the title of this post is also the army's characterization of the logic guiding the fighting in Tamaulipas and Chihuahua. Chapo and Vicente Carrillo and the Zetas and their erstwhile Gulf patrons--all of them are trying to drive the others not to other portions of the national territory, but into nonexistence, which is what explains the recent spate of massacres.

There may be something to this, but I think it's unlikely that this is a fundamentally different phase in which several thousands of one organization or the other necessarily must be killed for the battles to come to an end. More likely, the logic is not markedly different than in the past, and the gangs are ratcheting up the violence in a heretofore futile effort to tip the combat in their direction. It makes much more sense for any criminal group to seek to run the losers out of town or get them to change sides (for the lower-level grunts) rather than kill each or even most of them.

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