Reporting on the Mexican Cartel Drug War

Juarez Near Insurgency Level

Monday, October 5, 2009 |


Violence in Cuidad Juarez (Chihuahua state) continues. Juarez remains President Felipe Calderon's biggest challenge. Right across the border from El Paso, Texas, the violence in Juarez cannot be ignored by US media. The government is relying on the military to provide security for the people and to battle the drug cartels. When the military reinforced its presence in Spring 2009, initially violence dropped.

Now the cartels have figured out that Juarez is a key “information warfare” battleground. The government currently has 7,000 troops and 3,000 federal police in and around Juarez. That may seem like a lot of troops but Juarez has a population of around two million. In a counter-insurgency operation, one soldier for every 50 people is a good planning figure. That would mean the government should put 40,000 troops and police in the area.

What has happened is the cartels have reinforced Juarez and at the moment they have the power to raise the level of violence in the city to a “near insurgency” level. The cartels can't do this everywhere, but since the government decided to make Juarez a major effort, the cartels appear to have made the city their maximum effort.

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