Small Wars Journal

Cartel v. Cartel: Mexico's Criminal Insurgency

Mon, 02/01/2010 - 8:05pm

Cartel v. Cartel:


Mexico's Criminal Insurgency

by John P. Sullivan and Adam Elkus

Download the full article: Cartel v. Cartel: Mexico's Criminal Insurgency

As the decade ends, Mexico's criminal insurgency continues. Yet the narco-war in 2010 is not identical to the violence that began three years ago. Mexico's criminal insurgency at the beginning of 2010 is distinguished by three main trends: continuing (though increasingly diffused) violence against the state, increasing militarization of the Mexican state's response, and a growing feeling of defeat among some within Mexican policy circles. Additionally, the conflict has assumed broader transnational dimensions.

On the surface, the conflict has entered into a period of seeming stasis. But it is a bloody stalemate—and the war promises to continue simmering well into this year and beyond. According to the Mexican press, 2009 may have been the bloodiest year of the war, with 7,600 Mexicans perishing in the drug war. Whatever the nature of the conflict, the danger still remains to American interests. As we have noted before, loose talk of a Mexican "failed state" obscures the real problem of a subtler breakdown of government authority and bolstering of the parallel authorities that cartels have already created.

Download the full article: Cartel v. Cartel: Mexico's Criminal Insurgency

John P. Sullivan is a career police officer. He currently serves as a lieutenant with the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department. He is a Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies on Terrorism (CAST). His research focuses on counterinsurgency, intelligence, terrorism, urban operations, and post-conflict policing. He is co-editor of Countering Terrorism and WMD: Creating a Global Counter-Terrorism Network (Routledge, 2006) and Global Biosecurity: Threats and Responses (Routledge, 2010).

Adam Elkus is an analyst specializing in foreign policy and security. He is currently Associate Editor at Red Team Journal. His articles have been published in West Point CTC Sentinel, Small Wars Journal, and other publications. He blogs at Rethinking Security and The Huffington Post. He is currently a contributor to the Center for Threat Awareness' ThreatsWatch project.

Categories: El Centro

About the Author(s)