Sunday, December 5, 2010
Sedena: red alert over possible U.S. intervention.
Focos rojos en Sedena ante posible intervención de EU
Autor: Zósimo Camacho
Active duty generals and colonels that occupy operational commands in the Mexican Army express concern over possible U.S. military intervention in Mexico. They are frustrated by the politics of Felipe Calderón, who they see as overly obedient to the Pentagon, and warn that a “scenario” is being constructed that will lead to U.S military intervention in Mexico.
They note that some of the chaos and violence in Mexican cities is induced from outside the country with the consent of the federal government. National security experts agree that conditions are being created to force a "closer cooperation" by the military of both countries.
On June 18th of this year, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), in a report titled “The Globalization of Crime” called drug gangs operating in Mexico “transnational organized crime superpowers”. This fact scarcely merited a line in the inside pages of some print media.
However, officers from the G2 Section of the Mexican Army (in charge of military intelligence work) were filled with gloom. They see the arrival of U.S. troops in the country as imminent, a demand from hardliners in the U.S. Department of Defense. The report was seen as another justification for intervention.
Long accustomed to a code of silence with civilians and unwilling to comment on disagreements within the armed forces, military officers are now expressing their unease to the media. They note that some of the violence that has erupted in recent weeks may have been "instigated." And they accuse the government of Felipe Calderon Hinojosa of preparing the "stage" for an open U.S. intervention.
Military Intelligence officers claim to have information that the car bomb attacks (one in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, on July 16, and two more in Ciudad Victoria, Tamaulipas, on August 26, 2010) may not be the work of drug gangs. Furthermore, they may not have been perpetrated by Mexicans.
"It is not the modus operandi of the cartels or armed groups with political demands," says one of the divisional officers, seeking his identity be kept private. He adds that in military circles there is concern over the destabilization of the country and the federal government's actions that appear to favor, rather than contain, the insecurity.
The revelations by active duty Army officers to Contralínea reporters serve as a “pressure relief valve” and are a sign of tensions percolating within Mexico’s insular military.
Acccording to Dr. Guillermo Garduño, a specialist in military affairs attached to the Autonomous Metropolitan University and lecturer at the National Defense, the military is desperate because the nation’s civilian leadership "has no idea what the Armed Forces actually are."
Mexico has not created a civilian elite that knows Mexico’s Army, Navy or Air Force in depth.
According to the generals and colonels who requested annonymity, the supposed "strategy" to allow entry of U.S. troops into Mexico with lower social costs would have two components: the intenal, where conditions of degeneration and instability are created so that Mexican society itself demands more "security" regardless of the origin of the "help"; and the external, where other countries consider that the intervention would be "humanitarian" to counter drug cartels that have overwhelmed the Mexican state.
“The Globalization of Crime” study released this year by the UNODC assessed the threat of transnational organized crime, saying the "superpower" of transnational organized crime has generated a new turf war between gangs for territories and trafficking routes, particularly in Mexico. The report also examines how “transnational organized crime and instability amplify each other to create vicious circles in which countries or even subregions may become locked.”
Even before the UNODC report, the United States Armed Forces released in January 2009the now infamous “JOE 2008-Joint Operating Environment: Challenges and Implications for the Future Joint Force” warned that the Mexican government may be unable to maintain stability in the coming years.
“In terms of worst-case scenarios for the Joint Force and indeed the world, two large and important states bear consideration for a rapid and sudden collapse: Pakistan and Mexico…."
"The Mexican possibility may seem less likely, but the government, its politicians, police, and judicial infrastructure are all under sustained assault and pressure by criminal gangs and drug cartels. How that internal conflict turns out over the next several years will have a major impact on the stability of the Mexican state. Any descent by Mexico into chaos would demand an American response based on the serious implications for homeland security alone."
U.S. pressures are rising in tone and number as witnessed by confidential U.S. Embassy cables released by WikiLeaks and through statements by leaders such as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and others.
On March 10, 2009, the former director of U.S. National Intelligence, Dennis Blair, said that Mexico did not control its entire territory. By July of that year, the report “Mexico's Narco-Insurgency and U.S. Counterdrug Policy”, released by the Institute for Strategic Studies-U.S. Army War College, argued that Mexico was experiencing "a transition from traditional gangsterism of murderers for hire to a terrorist paramilitary employing guerrilla tactics."
In addition, on November 17th of this year Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Homeland Security, declared that the Mexican Army had failed in its fight against drug trafficking in the border city of Ciudad Juárez.
During the second half of 2010, U.S. authorities and the UN has been increasingly blunt: Mexico is unable to control drug trafficking organizations, and their inefficiency is a threat to security in several regions, including the U.S..
"Everything is falling into place"
Ambassador Henry A. Crumpton, a veteran covert CIA officer who ran the CIA's campaign in Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks and former Coordinator for Counterterrorism at the State Department, acknowledged in an interview with the Wall Street Journal in early September that Mexico has a "narcoinsurgency." Crumpton added this concept is "particularly incendiary" to the Mexicans due to their fear that the U.S. military will sieze control of the fight against drugs.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, on September 8th of this year, sparked anger in Mexico by comparing its drug-related violence to an insurgency.
“This is a really tough challenge. And these drug cartels are now showing more and more indices of insurgency. All of a sudden car bombs show up that weren’t there before. So it’s becoming – it’s looking more and more like Colombia looked 20 years ago where the narco traffickers controlled certain parts of the country,” responded Clinton to a question asked after a speech to the Council of Foreign Affairs.
"Everything is falling into place," says one general interviewed by Contralínea requested his name be kept private. Calling drug trafficking “a superpower” is to regard Mexico's armed forces as insufficient to fight a "global threat." The danger of an intervention is real, he adds.
Indeed, U.S. officials consulted by Wall Street Journal explained that "the Mexican government is growing increasingly open to greater cooperation, because the security situation is getting worse." In remarks published on September 10th of this year, the Mexican ambassador to Washington, Arturo Sarukhan, said "We have encouraged the United States improve and deepen cooperation with Mexico."
Experts say that since the Mexican Revolution the country has not been on the verge of a U.S. military intervention until now. All agree that the more destabilized the country becomes, the greater the chance that U.S. Marines will "collaborate" in Mexico.
"The intervention is the main theme discussed in intelligence circles in Mexico," said Abelardo Rodriguez Sumano, a researcher at the Center for North American Studies at the University of Guadalajara.
The specialist in national security issues in Mexico and the United States said that the basis for U.S. intervention would be the “void” left by the Mexican authorities.
"There is no consensus in the national security structure in terms of the relationship with the United States. We are disjointed in terms of 'collaboration'. Some sectors, such as the Marina (Mexico’s Marines under Naval command) want it. And others, like the Army, are resisting. And as these disagreements generate strategic gaps, the Americans are going to occupy them. They are sure of what they want for us."
For Dr. Guillermo Garduño, intervention is not an immediate risk, "it's already happening." He adds that the Americans themselves believe their troops are not needed at this point in time.
"It's their war, but as with most of America’s wars throughout its history, it’s being fought outside their territory. They are already here. Already involved, but those that give their lives are Mexicans," he said.
Finally, he concedes, "When the Mexican institutions are exhausted, then the Americans will have to respond directly. It's going to happen."
To Jorge Luis Sierra, a specialist in national security and the armed forces, the concern of the Mexican military to a possible U.S. intervention is not new. The graduate of the Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies at the National Defense University in Washington, DC explains that after the attack on the Twin Towers in New York on September 11, 2001, Mexican military intelligence warned that the U.S. wanted to set up military bases in Mexico.
The warning is reflected in the minutes of a meeting in 2003 on national security attended by elite Mexican Army and Naval staff officers.
For Senator Rene Arce, a member of the Bicameral Commission on National Security, the U.S. has always been involved in Mexican intelligence matters. Arce adds, "Now they (the Mexican armed forces) want to look very patriotic and stand firm, when what has really upset them is being told that they violate human rights, that is the problem. The American military and intelligence people are here, but it's very discreet."
Abelardo Rodriguez points out that for hardliners in the U.S. Defense Department, American Marines should have deployed to Mexico months ago.
"It is historically true that once United States forces are installed in a country, it is very difficult for them to leave," he warns.
'The JOE 2008 – The Joint Operating Environment: Challenges and Implications for the Future Joint Force'
• Mexico in a U.S. Military Assessment Study
“The Globalization of Crime – a transnational organized crime threat assessment”
Mexico's Narco-Insurgency and U.S. Counterdrug Policy