100,000 foot soldiers in Mexican cartels
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Thread: 100,000 foot soldiers in Mexican cartels

  1. #1
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    Exclamation 100,000 foot soldiers in Mexican cartels

    The U.S. Defense Department thinks Mexico's two most deadly drug cartels together have fielded more than 100,000 foot soldiers - an army that rivals Mexico's armed forces and threatens to turn the country into a narco-state.

    "It's moving to crisis proportions," a senior U.S. defense official told The Washington Times. The official, who spoke on the condition that he not be named because of the sensitive nature of his work, said the cartels' "foot soldiers" are on a par with Mexico's army of about 130,000.

    The disclosure underlines the enormity of the challenge Mexico and the United States face as they struggle to contain what is increasingly looking like a civil war or an insurgency along the U.S.-Mexico border. In the past year, about 7,000 people have died - more than 1,000 in January alone. The conflict has become increasingly brutal, with victims beheaded and bodies dissolved in vats of acid.

    The death toll dwarfs that in Afghanistan, where about 200 fatalities, including 29 U.S. troops, were reported in the first two months of 2009. About 400 people, including 31 U.S. military personnel, died in Iraq during the same period.

    The biggest and most violent combatants are the Sinaloa cartel, known by U.S. and Mexican federal law enforcement officials as the "Federation" or "Golden Triangle," and its main rival, "Los Zetas" or the Gulf Cartel, whose territory runs along the Laredo,Texas, borderlands.

    The two cartels appear to be negotiating a truce or merger to defeat rivals and better withstand government pressure. U.S. officials say the consequences of such a pact would be grave.

    "I think if they merge or decide to cooperate in a greater way, Mexico could potentially have a national security crisis," the defense official said. He said the two have amassed so many people and weapons that Mexican President Felipe Calderon is "fighting for his life" and "for the life of Mexico right now."

    As a result, Mexico is behind only Pakistan and Iran as a top U.S. national security concern, ranking above Afghanistan and Iraq, the defense official added.

    Other U.S. officials and Mexico specialists agreed with this assessment.

    Michael V. Hayden, who left as CIA director in January, put Mexico second to Iran as a top national security threat to the United States. His successor, Leon E. Panetta, told reporters at his first news conference that the agency is "paying ... a lot of attention to" Mexico.

    Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told CBS' "60 Minutes" on Sunday that "the stakes are high for the safety of many, many citizens of Mexico and the stakes are high for the United States no doubt."

    In a December interview with The Times, President Bush said his successor would need to deal "with these drug cartels in our own neighborhood. And the front line of the fight will be Mexico."

    A State Department travel advisory last month seemed timed to caution U.S. students contemplating spring breaks south of the border.

    "Some recent Mexican army and police confrontations with drug cartels have resembled small-unit combat, with cartels employing automatic weapons and grenades," the advisory said.

    Independent analysts warn that narco-terrorists have infiltrated the Mexican government, creating a shadow regime that further complicates efforts to contain and destroy the cartels.

    "My greatest fear is that the tentacles of the shadow government grow stronger, that the cartels have penetrated the government and that they will be able to act with impunity and that this ever stronger shadow government will effectively evolve into a narco-state," said Ted Galen Carpenter, vice president for defense and foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute in Washington.

    The Mexican Embassy in Washington did not respond to a request for comment on the drug war.

    Mr. Calderon, however, has adamantly denied assertions that Mexico is becoming a failed state.

    The Mexican government has "not lost any part - any single part - of the Mexican territory to drug cartels," he recently told the Associated Press.

    His comments run counter to the impressions of U.S. law enforcement officials and some Mexican journalists reporting in Ciudad Juarez, a city just across the border from El Paso, Texas.

    On a recent morning here, the once-bustling border town of 1.3 million was more like a ghost town.

    "It's empty," said a vendor of freshly baked tortillas and salsa, who asked to be identified only by her first name, Maria. "We are in a losing war against the narco-traffickers. My business is dying, and soon it will join the graveyard of businesses that have had to close down. No one comes Juarez anymore."

    More than 1,800 people have been killed in the city since last year. The number continued to climb as The Times visited, with more than 20 deaths in one week.

    In response to the challenge, U.S. and Mexican authorities have stepped up raids on cartel members in both countries.

    Last week, U.S. and Mexican forces arrested 755 people, including 52 in the United States associated with the Sinaloa cartel. However, cartel leader Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman is still at large. He is thought to be living in Sinaloa and protected by hired gunmen and Mexican federal officials on his payroll, said a U.S. law enforcement official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the ongoing intelligence operations.

    Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) spokesman Garrison Courtney said last week's raids put a dent in cartel operations but that public attention to the crisis has been long in coming.

    "If we don't start paying attention, the violence - which has already spilled into the U.S. - is going to get worse," Mr. Courtney said. "This is a shared interest between the United States and Mexico to go after these drug traffickers."

    In recent years, however, U.S. officials have been reluctant to share information with Mexican counterparts, fearing that they will leak to the cartels.

    DEA officials interviewed by The Times said the Sinaloa cartel employs Mexican federal officials, while other cartels pay off local governments and police.

    "Many times, what you see isn't really what's going on," said a DEA official, who asked not to be named because of the nature of his work. "Many times the death of federal officers or local police isn't a cartel making the hit, but the cartels themselves in the government fighting one another. The same thing has happened to the Mexican army, where the cartels have also bought loyalty to move dope into the U.S."

    Mr. Courtney said the Mexican cartels have "evolved into the Colombian cartels of the 1980s. Even the government's reaction to what's going on there right now and over the last five years is what the government of Colombia faced when they went after Pablo Escobar. Juarez has seen an escalation in that same type of brutal violence."

    Escobar was a Colombian drug lord who died in 1993.

    More than 2,000 Mexican army soldiers and 425 federal police are patrolling in Chihuahua state, where Ciudad Juarez is located. More than 45,000 Mexican troops have been engaged in the drug war since Mr. Calderon took office in 2006.

    Mr. Carpenter said the use of the Mexican military may be backfiring.

    "I said at the time when Calderon called the military to take the lead role in confronting the cartels that he was undertaking a massive gamble," Mr. Carpenter said. "It is clear now that he is losing that gamble if he has not already lost it."

    A U.S. counterterrorism official said, however, that the severity of the crisis was bringing the U.S. and Mexican governments closer and that the CIA will work closely with Mexico if asked for guidance.

    "Both countries have a common interest in clamping down on the cartels, and that has shaved away some of the underlying historical tensions in what has long been a close relationship with Mexico," said the official, who spoke on the condition that he not be named. "The Mexicans understand - perhaps more so than at any time in recent memory - that we are genuine about taking these people on."

    Meanwhile, thousands of Mexicans daily cross the Santa Fe bridge, which connects Ciudad Juarez to El Paso, ironically one of the safest U.S. cities.

    "Why should we have to live like this?"asked Maria, the vendor. "Why do our children have to die, while our neighbors live like nothing is happening? Every day we pray for something different, for peace. Every day our prayers are left unanswered."

    Source: Washington Times
    Last edited by lukem; 03-03-2009 at 08:49 PM.
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  3. #2
    As a result, Mexico is behind only Pakistan and Iran as a top U.S. national security concern, ranking above Afghanistan and Iraq, the defense official added.


    It should be at the top of the list. Iran and Pakistan are on the other side of the world Mexico is on lur border. I have always thought it a bad idea to spend all the money and man power to fight somewhere else when we can not even do anything to secure our borders.
    By faith Noah,being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear,prepared an ark to the saving of his house;by the which he condemned the world,and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith Heb.11:7

  4. #3
    Wow. Ciudad Juarez, where Mexican troops are going to try to take back the city from drug thugs, is only a few miles from the New Mexico border (where there's no river to cross). This is scary. And the president is talking about an assault weapons ban....for citizens in El Paso, Las Cruces, Deming and other towns in throwing distance to Mexican drug thugs ?!?!

  5. #4
    wolfhunter Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by father-of-three View Post
    Wow. Ciudad Juarez, where Mexican troops are going to try to take back the city from drug thugs, is only a few miles from the New Mexico border (where there's no river to cross). This is scary. And the president is talking about an assault weapons ban....for citizens in El Paso, Las Cruces, Deming and other towns in throwing distance to Mexican drug thugs ?!?!
    Wouldn't want you to hurt your new neighbors.

  6. #5
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    Exclamation I lived in Alamogordo for three years

    There was a lot of criminal activity in 1990-1992. I can only imagine now. The place was overrun with illegals then as now and you couldn't get away from the criminal element.

    We had one incident on Holloman AFB where some illegals made it on base and were literaly running down the runway because they thought it was the highway headed north towards Colorado.
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    Exclamation Thousands of Mexican soldiers pour into the country's most violent city in crackdown

    Thousands of Mexican soldiers pour into the country's most violent city in crackdown on drug gangs
    Thousands of Mexican soldiers pour into the country's most violent city in crackdown on drug gangs | Mail Online
    By Mail Foreign Service
    Last updated at 1:43 AM on 04th March 2009

    Comments (3)
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    Armed to the hilt, they came from land and air, determined to restore order to Mexico's most violent city.

    Nearly 2,000 Mexican soldiers and armed federal police poured into the border town of Ciudad Juarez last weekend.

    The city - just across from El Paso in Texas - has been ravaged by drug gangs. Just this month 250 people were killed there by hitmen fighting for lucrative smuggling routes.

    The soldiers' mandate is clear - and ambitious.

    'This is to reinforce the operation in general ... to eradicate kidnappings, extortion, assaults and homicide,' army spokesman Enrique Torres said.

    The soldiers are the first contingent of as many as 5,000 troops and federal police being sent to Juarez.

    Almost 2,500 soldiers and federal police have been there for nearly a year, but they have failed to curb the violence plaguing the city of about 1.6 million people.

    More...
    Massacre central: How drug gangs have made murder and torture a way of life in Mexico

    President Felipe Calderon's military operation is supported by the United States, which is concerned the violence could destabilize Mexico, a key trading partner, and spill over the border.

    Mexico has deployed some 45,000 troops across the country to try to crush drug gangs, but clashes between rival cartels and security forces killed around 6,000 people last year.
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  8. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by HK4U View Post
    As a result, Mexico is behind only Pakistan and Iran as a top U.S. national security concern, ranking above Afghanistan and Iraq, the defense official added.


    It should be at the top of the list. Iran and Pakistan are on the other side of the world Mexico is on lur border. I have always thought it a bad idea to spend all the money and man power to fight somewhere else when we can not even do anything to secure our borders.
    Ah, but that has all changed now that The Messiah is president. His acolyte, Eric Holder thinks we should eliminate the Second Amendment so we can help Mexico. Its obvious to me that taking away my guns will fix all the problems in Mexico.

    See, a whole new approach to the problem. Hope and Change, Change and Hope. Unicorns and rainbows, Hope and Change.
    John - KJ4NSE
    Member NRA | GCO | GOA | SAF | ARRL
    Why would God invent something like whiskey? To keep the Irish from ruling the world of course.

  9. why don't they send any of the Mexican troops to the AZ and Cali border. Nogales in AZ is a scarry place to be now, why concentrate on just one border city.

  10. #9
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    And 2 million gun owners in Texas alone... I say release the hounds and open season at the boarder.
    "The sword dose not cause the murder, and the maker of the sword dose not bear sin" Rabbi Solomon ben Isaac 11th century
    "Don't be so open minded that your brains fall out!" Father John Corapi.

  11. AND, the most frustrating thing is we, the USA, knows pretty much who they are and where they are.

    Think of the great training scenarios we could put together for our special forces troops, air force and navy pilots and our drone drivers.

    It's time we lit up the mexican border.

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