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The Changing Mexican Drug War Brings New Challenges

December 24th 2012   ·   0 Comments

imagesCAT3ZU6I+manpad[1]As the medicine war proceeds the transitive nature of this war is a study in of itself. Apart from struggling to understand sheer numbers of missing and dead, aspects of war seldom composed about on a Mexican Drug War blog site are belonging to identify where the war is and where it is heading.

The spread of Mexican cartel task worldwide has actually been a quick fire sensation that has resulted in Mexican cartels now being thought about the globe’s leading provider of street medications. Last week Mexico revealed the approximated number of cartels, splinter groups, enforcers groups and groups wanting their piece of the financial pie is now 80. Others approximate the number to be 100 +.

Central-America-map[1] Increasing cartel presences in Central America have very small, delicate nations under the thumb of a few of the effective cartels. Guatemala is an instance. By its own estimation 75 % of the nation is under the control of cartels, namely Los Zetas, with the Sinaloa Cartel also having a great presence in specific areas of the south and a section of the northern border.
It is not difficult to comprehend the importance of Central America to cartels, as trafficking routes reorganized to accommodate both the US and Europe.
US drug usage has tumbled in a decline because the late 80s. It is estimated that 60 % of street medications use in the US is cannabis, with RX comprising the bulk of the staying 40 %. One could picture a circumstance wherein knock off RX production would be performed openly in Central American laboratories.

Additionally intellectual marketing products and other knock off items might concentrate manufacturing in Central America, diversifications now makes up 50 % of the cartel product and resource line.
Aside from logistics remarkable advances in narco combat exists, consisting of narco manufactured containers, sophisticated advances in narco tunnels, interaction, and weaponry.

Seeing the ever progressing cache of tools sticking around at the after-effects of shootouts, I wondered exactly what they represented in the altering war.

I right away thought about Dr. Robert Bunker as a go to individual for responding to some of the questions of narco calculated and weapon advances focusing on MANPADS and other tools.

The United States Bureau of Political and Military Offices describes MANPADS as follows:.

Man-portable air protection systems (MANPADS), frequently called shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles, are surface-to-air missiles that can be held and fired by a single individual or carried by numerous individuals and fired by more than one individual functioning as a staff.

The majority of MANPADS include: 1) a rocket packaged in a tube; 2) an introducing system (frequently known as a “gripstock”); and 3) a battery. More modern-day MANPADS additionally contain a different missile ejection motor. Televisions, which safeguard the missile until it has been fired, are typically disposable.

Rudimentary sights are mounted on the tube. The rockets themselves are generally included an air travel motor, a warhead, a control part and a guidance area that directs the missile toward the targeted airplane. A single-use battery is typically made use of to power the missile prior to launch.

MANPADS launch tubes normally range from about 4 feet to 6 1/2 feet (1.2 to 2 meters) in length and are about 3 inches (72 millimeters) in diameter. Their weight, with launcher, ranges from about 28 pounds to just over 55 pounds (13 to 25 kilograms). They are easy to move and conceal.

Some of the most frequently multiplied MANPADS could easily fit into the trunk of a vehicle.

Dr. Bunker is a Senior Fellow, Small Wars Journal and Adjunct Faculty, School of Politics and Economics, Claremont Graduate University. He is an author for The Strategic Studies Institute and talked prior to the Foreign Affairs Committee providing testimony before your house Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere at the Hearing ‘Has Merida Evolved? Part One: The Evolution of Drug Cartels and the Threat to Mexico’s Governance.’.

Concerns by Chivis Martinez of Borderland Beat.
Dr. Robert J. Bunker, “Small Wars Journal”.

About MANPAD tools like SA24 or RBS70 do you know at just what cost they would sell at on the black market?
robert+bunker[1]The SA24 Grinch, which has only been in manufacturing because 2004, looks to be too high end for Mexican cartel usage. The much older Swedish RBS 70 would be a much better fit if the cartels decided to go down that road.
I do not think the black market cost matters in the context of Mexican cartels. If a cartel actually desired a few of these systems, it can effortlessly pay a multiple of the going black market rate.
Do you see that as a plausible following progression in the Mexican medicine war?
Yes, if a cartel wanted an anti-helicopter ability against Mexican federal authorities and military possessions beyond that provided by RPGs. I have actually checked out about Mexican governmental helicopters obliged down due to cartel small arms fires.
Have not heard of one struck by an RPG, nonetheless, and that would be an escalatory action to reduced end MANPADS. The Barrett.50 cal rifle can be made use of in an anti-materiel part– not while a helicopter is flying– but when it’s on the ground and even more vulnerable. Have not check out about that occurring either yet. I presently see no reason the cartels would obtain MANPADS for anti-passenger airliner abilities vis-Ã -vis a standard terrorist attack scenario. I additionally don’t see such systems presently being utilized for assassination attempts against Mexican officials.
If not, what would be?
I ‘d still concentrate on RPG and Barrett.50 cal rifle usage in an anti-helicopter part as far as arising trends– we must be on the watch out for blog, tweet or information reports of such occurrences. I know Marijuana raisers have actually used steel cables in the past too in Mexico so you could go reasonable tech. An additional possibility is anti-helicopter mines in an ambush situation however that prospective seems too far out for the Mexican cartels presently.
As far as other areas of development, we ought to keep our eyes on the developing usage of cartel car bombs in Mexico and also indirect fire systems such as rockets and mortars. We are gradually seeing a growing number of automobile battles take location. As far as mortars and rockets, we are getting updates reports of a few systems being recovered and even some mortar rounds.

Crossover events might see an automobile bomb with a few RPG or mortar rounds wired into the improvised explosive device (IED) to enhance the impacts of the detonation– but that might be more sophisticated than today ‘modernized’ currently possible by the cartels. Also the Claymore anti-personnel mines and/or knockoffs recovered are of concern since they can be devastating when properly utilized in ambush situations.

barret+50+rifle[1]

rpgs[1]Exactly how would they be used, in other words to accomplish just what?
If the cartels obtained reduced end MANPADS, I think they would aim to foreign mercenary support worrying system upkeep (the batteries et al), tactics, training and potentially even operation. MANPADS provide better targeting (kill possibility) against helicopters at stand-off varieties than RPGs which are a closer in system. Anticipate set up MANPADS to have RPG and assault rifle armed safety groups protecting them as part of a layered defense system.
The intent of utilizing MANPADS would be to reduce the effects of federal police and military helicopter gunships, troop transportation, and scout/spotting craft. By having the ability of destroying such craft, the Mexican cartels can try to achieve an ‘location denial capability’ in the airspace over which they conduct their operations. My educated estimate is that, if we see a MANPADS set up, it will first be by the Zetas somewhere in Northern Mexico however others can produce circumstances which are just as plausible– even in different Central American nations.
Have you seen the progression of tools advancing at a faster pace as far as raising both the quality and harmful abilities of the weapons known to be used by cartels?
Two Mexican cartel weapons and techniques ‘firebreaks’ appearance to have taken spot through the Tijuana and the Gulf cartels. The first firebreak saw the AFO (Arellano Felix Organization) utilize members of the United States road gang (Logan Heights/Calle 30) under David “Popeye” Barron who also, it turns out, belonged to the Mexican Mafia. Using the group members as hirelings really upped the physical violence and basic audacity level of some of the operations.
It additionally can be thought about a first attempt to be more professional-like in some of the methods– though provided the fratricide of Barron and the fundamental mistakes made, such as the accidental killing of Cardinal Posadas Ocampo at Guadalajara Airport– they fell short of this goal. The second firebreak is the famous Gulf cartel employment of the previous Mexican special forces deserters– the Zetas.
– Continues on following web page -.

They militarized the cartel wars with tactics, training, weaponry, company, and other breakthroughs. This is the big spike concerning quality and destructive capability because it dramatically altered the dispute atmosphere and forced all the other contending cartels to update their implements (foot soldiers) to a paramilitary level. Since that time, we are seeing marginal upgrades in some weaponry capacities because we have a three-way arms (capacities) race happening between the forces of cartel vs cartel vs the Mexican government.
One intent of splintering the different cartels, consisting of the Zetas and La Familia, is to devolve and break down the abilities of the significant cartels– which will ideally reverse the arms (capacities) race that we have actually seen over the last years around since the surge of the Zetas.
Just what cartel, based upon just what is located in problems with authorities companies, is the best equipped? [ and the Mexican military? ]
From the weapons caches recovered, the Zetas. Sinaloa is additionally seen as having substantial weapons stockpiles. The distinction is that the Zetas appear more tactically and operationally concentrated while Sinaloa appears more tactically concentrated– they have various ways of approaching criminality and the improper economic situation– how they are profiting from it and just various business viewpoints.
Is there a method to determine the understanding or quality of training?
Yes.
Fundamental calculated and operational analysis could be performed worrying specific events (and their aggregate) together with operations within the different plazas and cartel AO (area of operations). The bothersome issue is getting the basic information– much of which is never stated by a beaten down and compromised press in Mexico. It is discovering somebody with the experience and time to carry out that analysis.

marines+sent+to+guatemala[1]The deeper you enter this it starts to become sensitive for Mexican military operations vis-Ã -vis cartel capacities– so none of us, consisting of the Borderland Beat readers, are visiting the end product of such analysis. Still, at Small Wars Journal, Insight Crime, Stratfor and other venues, we do what analysis that we could with the information we could get our hands on.

As for United States soldiers in Guatemala, my calculation says 350 soldiers since last January, though I concede I could be way reasonable. The big news is they are being deployed to straight engage with cartels, especially power cartels such as Zetas and Sinaloa.

The image above is from a write-up in Wired Magazine Marines vs Zetas: United States Hunts Drug Cartels in Guatemala.

Note: Dr. Bunkers Tactical Reports are uploaded by Buggs right here on Borderland Beat.
A big thank you to Dr. Bunker!

More on Dr. Bunker:  He has over two hundred publications, including edited and co-authored books, and specializes in terrorism, homeland security, and international security. Collaborative works include Criminal Insurgencies in Mexico and the Americas (Routledge, 2012), Narcos Over the Border (Routledge, 2011), Criminal-States and Criminal-Soldiers (Routledge, 2008), and Networks, Terrorism, and Global Insurgency (Routledge, 2005).

A version of this column originally appeared in www.borderlandbeat.com.

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