Mexico attempt to stop cartels shows why US strategy in Middle East doesn’t work

unintended consequences

Attempts by Mexico to stop drug cartels by taking out leaders is seriously backfiring because the unintended consequence is that cartels then split into pieces, with each piece generally more vicious and violent than its predecessor. So instead of a few big targets there are extremely virulent smaller ones. This process is similar to what has happened in the Middle East when the US tried to destroy Al Qaeda, an attempt that mostly worked, however it spawned Islamic State. Oopsie.

At least part of this is due to locals in the Middle East being sympathetic to Islamists, even as they perhaps pretend to be our friends and by corrupt local and federal government officials in Mexico who, sometimes openly, back one cartel. Defeating an adversary is difficult when you don’t know who their allies are and are fighting on their turf.

In Mexico, this has been a copy of the American antiterrorism strategy of high-value targets,” said Raúl Benítez Manaut, a professor at the National Autonomous University of Mexico who specializes in security issues. “What we have seen with the strategy of high-value targets is that Al Qaeda has been diminished, but a monster appeared called the Islamic State. With the cartels, it has been similar.”

The fracturing of the cartels into smaller gangs requires a very different approach from what is being pursued at the national level, analysts say.

In the background of both IS and drug cartels are dirty banks and hedge funds worldwide, including in the US, who launder money for them. But no mass media really ever talks much about that, even if it’s where major criminals are. There are financial interests that do not want drug trafficking in Mexico and human slavery, oil theft, and extortion of entire cities in the Middle East to end because they profit mightily from it.

If we what the madness to end, criminally prosecute the dirty big banks, breaking them up if needed, would be a major first step.

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