The Mexican drugs war as another scenario in the global war between No State Actors and State Actors
Let´s imagine a Country where the Organized Crime , (OC), can act like a NSA ,( No State Actor),and organizes its own military convoys . In this country an enemy cartel can organize its own military raid to intercept and destroy the convoy.
This land is not somewhere in some African or Central Asian turbulent region but it is a neighboring one of the USA.
We talk about Mexico.
It is not the first time that we mention about the “5 internal wars” in Mexico ,(I),and how they are an interesting example of the NSA-dimension of the organized crimes or mafias. If we talk about not failed states it is a situation that we can find only in some regions in Italy, Germany, Turkey, Russia, Bulgaria,Serbia,Montenegro,Colombia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Albania as well as in some provinces in China , Thailand, Brasil, Malaysia.
But nowhere the situation is so dramatic as in Mexico and we consider it as the most dangerous example of an established parallel power inside a not failed state able to size and control territories within a state.
The parallel power is that of the organized crime that is de facto a parallel state, ( no state actor/NSA),and carrying the country to a civil war.
This happens few kilometer away San Diego or Laredo or El Paso and this magnifies and amplifies the strategic meaning of what is going on .
It sounds bit rhetoric to hear Washington to accuse Pakistan of being not able to seal its border with Afghanistan when it is not able to do that in Tijuana.
It sounds a bit rhetoric to hear the concern for the smuggling between Egypt and the Gaza Strip when the USA cannot stop the flow of weapons and money to Mexico and that of illegal immigrants, drug , criminals and potentially terrorists to its own territory.
It seems that the same lethal cocktail of BOTH side corruptions, interests ,lack of resources and wrong done that we can find at the border between Egypt and the Gaza strip can be found at the border between California, Arizona, Texas and Mexico and we do not mention the illegal flow to Florida despite one of the most sophisticated and high tech trans-national system of surveillance in the world that the US Army and the NIA run in the region.
We respect the sacrifices and engagement of the US as well as Mexican officers but this does not change the situation that, for example, the US-run check-point in front of Tijuana is not less porous of any others at the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Or that despite a multibillion dollars state of the art monitoring system, ( from satellites to Echelon), plus, (at least since the beginning of the ´90s), local intelligence , covert operations and troops in the region a small Cessna without any electronic countermeasure can land into the American soil to smuggle anything from cocaine to terrorists. If the National Intelligence Agency , (NIA). cannot detect a small Cessna landing in the USA how can the most motivated and engaged Pakistani or Egyptian security officer,( that can only dream about that technology),find something smuggled in a truck ?
It is better as first to solve than to judge, accuse and advice and this “simply” because it seems that we are all in the same boat and doing the same mistakes facing the same problems, is it ?
But this is not the problem that we want to analyze. We are interested on how the NSA´s are shaping the world. In a series of articles, (II),we are talking about the struggle between State Actors ,(SA),and NSA inside the “financial front” and here we face a different dimension:the control of the territory within a not failed state.
Here we have all the ingredients of the cocktail :
I) Strong and sophisticated drug cartels that are acting as an organized crime with the status of NSA
II) An OC with control of the territory and a sophisticated military structure as well a “para-political” one able to gather consensus
III) This OC is deeply linked with other international OC and is the leading in the region ,(at least till the Andean Region. We can consider Panama as the “borderline” of their influence)
IV) A structure able to penetrate the neighbor state that ,by the way, happen to be the most powerful country in the world that since 10 years has invested billions of dollars to build up the most sophisticated defensive wall in the history of the humanity. And despite of that they can penetrate with less of 1 / 10000000000000000000 of the American technology and resources ,( more than 2.3 trillion dollars invested in the last 14 years) .
V) Cartels deeply integrated in the international banking and financial systems thanks to hubs like Miami or the Gulf Islands ,(the last acting like offshore centers)
VI) And with the money to pay the best legal advisers in the world in the USA
Lethal ingredients for an extremely dangerous cocktail that make the situation of these OC peculiar if compared with that of others like the Russian or the Italian one.
Again the main difference is that it happens few miles away the USA and it seems that 10 years of efforts to protect the American soil have not a lot of success on stabilizing and protecting its south flank.
We can consider one among the hundred acts of violence in Mexico ,( that generated more than 25.000 deaths ,or 3 each hour on average, in the 2010), as evidence of what we are telling.
May 27 ,2001 Mexican Highway 15 near Ruiz , (Nayarit state)
An armored convoy of 14 vehicles that belonged to the Los Zetas ,( the most powerful cartel ), were ambushed by members of the Sinaloa Federation. The Los Zeta lost the convoy, with the drug ,money weapons that they were transporting as well as 29 of its members killed in the ambush.
We can describe it as a war operation involving armored vehicles ,trained fighters ,intelligence and high lethal weapons like RPGs. Something you can see in Iraq, Afghanistan but this time it was few hundred kilometers south of San Diego.
If we consider this action under a strict military point of view the evaluation suggests an alarming scenario :
A) Size is not enough.
We have groups able to fill an armored convoy of 14 vehicles and that mean not less than 56 skilled, heavy gunned criminals without reducing its operative power. And at the same time other groups are able to gather not less than other 80 or 100 criminals for an ambush and, at the same time, to be able to carry on their ordinary business without suffering any lack in term of operative capabilities.
B) Armored vehicles are not invulnerable
But not only such amount of gunned criminals but also with the operational skills and the sort of high-lethal weapons able to hit and destroy state of the art armored SUV vehicles.
If the point A tells us about a “quantitative” dimension of their power what at point B informs us about the dangerous “qualitative” one.
C) Planning is all
Either the sending of a convoy by the Los Zetas inside a enemy territory then the ambush to stop it by the Sinaloa Federation are examples of “brain” more than of “muscles”. On clear term it means to have intelligence capabilities and tactic as well as strategic skills.
Again something related with a structured parallel power and not with street gangs.
If we start from this military power and we put it in the right contest of an OC with a real control of the territory within a not failed state (and the 2nd US biggest export market as well as the 3rd world biggest supplier for the USA), like Mexico and we add to that the incredible international power ,( both financial and military), they have we face the situation as it is. Or ,if you prefer, the problem as it is.
These cartels with their criminal links can reach Sao Paulo do Brasil, (the most sophisticated hacker hub in the Western hemisphere),as well as deliver drug in Berlin or Rome. Or super gangs that sell drug few hundred meters away the White House and that challenge the Washington Metropolitan Police for the control of the streets. But they can also invest money in legal businesses from San Diego to Tokyo. And also able to act as political catalyst supporting groups in a country involved in a war against its own government with the help of an external power, ( for example the Colombian FNL allied with Venezuela against Colombia).
They are neither anymore only drug cartels nor a sophisticated organized crime structure because they are world class no state authors, (NSA),engaged ,( allied with other NSA´s), in a global as well as international war against the stare actors as originated by the post Yalta order ,( the last evolution of the post-Westphalian order) , as started in the 1972 .
This is the real dimension of the “Great Game” in this corner of the world and Washington is not doing well.
An articulated structure that can offer safe heavens to any other NSAs ,( III), and this :
- In a territory within a NOT failed state that is the 26th economy in the world.
- A state ,Mexico, that is the 2nd biggest world market for the Made in USA and the 3rd world biggest supplier for Washington ,( and about the strategic value of this import do not forget, for the example, the Mexican oil)
- Just in front of the border with the strongest country in the world and with trans-ethnical, ( not only people with Mexican or Central /South American origins), deep roots all along this nation, (either legal than illegal)
And form this territory be able to do almost anything on world basis.
We wrote about the “ 5 wars” inside Mexico and this summarize the geo-politic meaning of this situation under an international perspective.
The next big strategic problem for the USA, (and for the international security), will be this war against high sophisticated NSA´s harbored in places like Mexico, (the 26th economy in the world), more than something in Yemen or somewhere in Afghanistan.
To be clear such cartels are a lot more dangerous than Al Qaeda !