by John P. Sullivan and Adam Elkus
Mexico’s criminal conflicts continue to rage, and the government, cartels, and vigilantes increasingly contest the crucial plazas surrounding drug trafficking routes. Our series on Mexico’s criminal insurgency (or more specifically interlocked criminal insurgencies) has covered a number of trends—such as the emergence of cartel operations against the state in 2007, the growing trend of “societal warfare” and barbarism as well as internecine cartel warfare since 2010, the narco-cultural dimension and the growing international element of cartel operations. In the time since our last assessment in February 2010, many of these trends have intensified.
This essay will focus primarily on methods of interpreting the drug war, societal warfare, sophistication of cartel operations, and the internationalization of the conflict. This piece aggregates other publications on the violence since our last update, collecting many pieces of events and trends and modes of analysis observed and published in the interim.