Friday, February 11, 2011

More Concern from US Officials about Mexico

Following up on Joseph Westphal's misguided worries about insurgency in Mexico, Janet Napolitano expressed concern about an Al Qaeda-Zetas nexus in an appearance before Congress, and National Intelligence Director James Clapper said that the threat presented by Mexican organized crime had recently been elevated to the maximum level possible within the government. Each of these stories earned front page coverage from at least one of the major Mexico City dailies.

In related news, Greg has a very neat, concise rebuttal to the idea that Mexico's troubles constitute an insurgency:
An insurgency is an illegal armed group seeking to overthrow a government. That is not happening in Mexico because the drug trafficking organizations do not want to overthrow the government, but rather simply to absorb themselves into it. Much of that effort has nothing to do with armed insurrection, and instead involves well placed bribery, recruitment of political candidates and other such strategies.
It's not just a matter of semantics. If you call this an insurgency, then you click into place a variety of counterinsurgency measures that in the Mexican case will not work.
I'll have a more on this last point next week, I think. Some of the tactics called for in COIN actually would be of benefit in Mexico, but that's more because COIN has a lot in common with police work, not because Mexico is suffering through an insurgency and needs to radically shift its efforts toward a COIN strategy.

No comments: