Small Wars Journal

El Centro

Third Generation Gangs Strategic Note No. 19: Comando Classe A (CCA) Massacre of Comando Vermelho (CV) Gang Members in Altamira Prison, Brazil—58 Dead (Including 16 Decapitations)

An assault took place at Altamira prison in which a local gang—Comando Classe A (CCA); Class A Command—controlling one wing of the prison stormed another wing controlled by an opposing gang—Comando Vermelho (CV) or the Red Command. The Comando Vermelho wing of the prison was set on fire, resulting in multiple asphyxiation deaths along with sixteen pre-mortem decapitations as a component of the initial inter-gang warfare action.

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Confronting the Evolving Global Security Landscape: Lessons from the Past and Present

SWJ El Centro Fellow Dr. Max G. Manwaring has a new book out: Confronting the Evolving Global Security Landscape: Lessons from the Past and Present.


Confronting the Evolving Global Security Landscape: Lessons from the Past and Present

Max G. Manwaring

Praeger, June 2019: 173 Pages

This book will help civilian and military leaders, opinion makers, scholars, and interested citizens come to grips with the realities of the twenty-first-century global security arena by dissecting lessons from both the past and the present.

This book sets out to accomplish four tasks: first, to outline the evolution of the national and international security concept from the Treaty of Westphalia (1648) to the present; second, to examine the circular relationship of the elements that define contemporary security; third, to provide empirical examples to accompany the discussion of each element—security, development, governance, and sovereignty; and fourth, to argue that substantially more sophisticated stability-security concepts, policy structures, and policy-making precautions are required in order for the United States to play more effectively in the global security arena.

Case studies provide the framework to join the various chapters of the book into a cohesive narrative, while the theoretical linear analytic method it employs defines its traditional approach to case studies. For each case study it discusses the issue in context, findings and outcomes of the issue, and conclusions and implications. Issue and Context sections outline the political-historical situation and answers the "What?" question; Findings and Outcome sections answer the "Who?", "Why?", "How?", and "So What?" questions; and Conclusions and Implications sections address Key Points and Lessons.


• Addresses the changing nature of the contemporary global security landscape in an illuminating introductory chapter
• Clearly demonstrates the evolving nature of global security through case studies
• Takes a linear analytic approach, with a vignette that examines an internal security situation accompanying each chapter
• Addresses the major gaps in the national and international security literature


Gaps in Investigating the Exploitation of Children by “El Chapo” Guzman?: The Case for Multilateral Intelligence Sharing for Transnational Crime

Better intelligence sharing between Mexican and U.S. counter-drug officials might have prevented the rape of children. Following the revelation that Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loera and his cohorts allegedly had minors delivered to them for sexual purposes—made public by Judge Brian Cogan prior to jury deliberations in Guzman’s Brooklyn trial—several former U.S. officials say better relations between Mexico and the U.S. could have prevented these alleged atrocities.

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Third Generation Gangs Strategic Note No. 18: MS-13 Indictments Document Barbarization and Ritual Murders In Los Angeles

Law enforcement officials said the two-year spasm of violence was carried out largely by Honduran and Salvadoran immigrants hoping to return MS-13 to its bloody roots. Paul Delacourt, the assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles field office, said the bloodshed was motivated in part by the group’s desire to make MS-13 less deferential to the Mexican Mafia, which wields influence over most Hispanic and Latino street gangs in the Los Angeles area.

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Islamic State Group: Nicaragua Arrests Four Suspected Members

Islamic State Group: Nicaragua Arrests Four Suspected Members – BBC News

Four men with suspected ties to the Islamic State (IS) group were arrested in Nicaragua after crossing illegally from Costa Rica, officials say.

The identities of three of the men matched those in an alert attributed to US officials saying three suspected jihadists were in Central America.

There were fears they could have plans to try to enter the US, reports said.

The four, aged between 26 and 41, included two Egyptians and two Iraqis. They have been deported to Costa Rica...

Read on.

Cutting Aid to the Northern Triangle Illustrates the Gap Between U.S. Strategy and Capacity in the Region

If Washington is serious about dismantling TCOs and disrupting cocaine trafficking into the United States it must prioritize more assets to support Admiral Faller’s efforts so that his command is better resourced to interdict and reduce the flow of dangerous, illicit drugs from entering the United States. If not, Washington should lower its expectations and rethink its regional objectives.

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Third Generation Gangs Strategic Note No. 17: Antipersonnel Landmine Use and Fabrication by the Clan del Golfo in Colombia

Over the last few months, Colombian army and police have discovered factories operated by the Clan del Golfo engaged in producing and stockpiling antipersonnel mines and explosive devices. In addition, cases of Colombian soldiers sustaining injuries from antipersonnel mines have been documented. These cases illustrate the ongoing, and apparently growing, threat—initially disclosed in an alert made by the Colombian Army in May 2013—of antipersonnel mines employed by criminal organizations or bandes criminals (criminal bands or bacrim).

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Lessons for America’s Longest-Running War from the Americas’ Longest-Running Insurgency

Lessons for America’s Longest-Running War from the Americas’ Longest-Running Insurgency by Lionel Beehner and Liam Collins - Modern War Institute

In 2016, Colombia achieved a remarkable success by seemingly bringing to an end the Western Hemisphere’s longest-running insurgency. The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) has been at war with government forces for more than fifty years. And yet here was a negotiated settlement by which two parties that had been fighting for generations agreed to lay down their arms—by which the guerrilla organization itself would be brought into the government’s formal power structures. The case raises important questions—not least for a US government that watches the clock on its own counterinsurgency efforts in Afghanistan tick ever closer to two decades. How was this possible? And are there lessons that can be exported and applied to other intransigent conflicts, like Afghanistan? The Modern War Institute at West Point recently led a research trip to assess these and other questions.

To be sure, the case of Colombia offers not a shining success story but a cautionary tale of how the US military can assist a foreign military and a weak government in fighting a counterinsurgency to bring about peace. A signed peace agreement does not mean that all is instantly well. In Colombia, attacks continue, as the January 2019 terrorist attack against the police academy in Bogotá highlights, and cocaine continues to emanate from Colombia at record levels. Although promptly rescinded, a recent order by the Colombian army to double the number of criminals and guerrillas they kill caused a swirl of controversy among both its rank and file as well as human rights groups, given the armed forces’ past track record of targeting civilians to reach quotas. Still, the conditions in Colombia are significantly improved from what they were a decade ago…

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