The Crossover of Urban Gang Warfare and Terrorism

The National Strategy Forum Review has been kind enough to permit SWJ to post an excellent essay by Colonel Robert Killebrew, USA Ret, that will appear in their Fall 2008 edition. A New Threat: The Crossover of Urban Gang Warfare and Terrorism examines a new and - as yet - unnamed national security challenge.

On the 22nd of June of this year, residents of a Phoenix, Arizona, neighborhood saw an eight-man Police SWAT team apparently serving a warrant. Team members were equipped as usual -- black boots, black Kevlar vests and helmets, Phoenix Police Department shirts and low-light laser aiming devices. But the "SWAT" team was actually a Mexican hit squad carrying out a targeted, and successful, assassination of a troublesome drug dealer -- in the United States. When the real cops arrived, one part of the hit team attempted a tactically-proficient ambush of pursuing police, who counter-ambushed and captured three. The others escaped, most likely back into the drug-fueled insurgency now underway in Mexico, where targeted assassination of officials and intimidation of public institutions -- for example, hospitals treating wounded officers -- is increasingly widespread. The Mexican drug war -- and much else besides -- is spilling over our borders, part of a growing nexus of criminal gang activity and terrorism sponsored by Islamist radicals.

A growing body of evidence shows that criminal gang activities in the United States are taking on the characteristics of a domestic insurgency similar, in some ways, to the war going on in Mexico against drug gangs. There is also growing circumstantial evidence of mutual support between the more serious international gangs and state-sponsored terrorism that will soon pose a clear danger to American national security -- if it hasn't already. This isn't just the local punk "gangstas" that are preoccupying our police, educators and parents across America. Nor is it solely an attack by 9/11-style terrorists, either from outside the U.S. or from sleeper cells inside America. Rather it is a new thing -- a potentially murderous combination that is spreading rapidly northward from South and Central America into densely packed American urban centers into suburbia and rural areas. Unless it is checked, and defeated, the United States will be increasingly vulnerable to civil violence and catastrophic attack from within...

A New Threat: The Crossover of Urban Gang Warfare and Terrorism (Full PDF Article)

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