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Mexico Is Not Colombia

Mexico Is Not Colombia: Alternative Historical Analogies for Responding to the Challenge of Violent Drug-Trafficking Organizations, Supporting Case Studies

Christopher Paul
Colin P. Clarke
Chad C. Serena
Copyright Date: 2014
Published by: RAND Corporation
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  • Book Info
    Mexico Is Not Colombia
    Book Description:

    Despite the scope of the threat they pose to Mexico’s security, violent drug-trafficking organizations are not well understood, and optimal strategies to combat them have not been identified. While there is no perfectly analogous case to Mexico’s current security situation, historical case studies may offer lessons for policymakers as they cope with challenges related to violence and corruption in that country.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-8447-7
    Subjects: Sociology, Psychology, Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-xii)
  4. Figure and Tables
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  5. Summary
    (pp. xv-xxviii)
  6. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xxix-xxx)
  7. Abbreviations
    (pp. xxxi-xxxii)
  8. CHAPTER ONE Colombia (1994–2010)
    (pp. 1-22)

    Colombia has been enmeshed in an ongoing cycle of terrorism and insurgency since the late 1940s, when “La Violencia” claimed the lives of more than 200,000 of its citizens.¹ The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) launched an insurgency in 1963 and is still fighting the Colombian government today. In an effort to counter the influence and power of insurgent groups like the FARC and Colombia’s second largest guerrilla group, the National Liberation Army (ELN), right-wing paramilitaries formed a nationwide coordination committee under the umbrella of the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) in the mid-1990s.² Colombia is the case...

  9. CHAPTER TWO Peru (1980–1992)
    (pp. 23-52)

    The Peruvian government was engaged in a large and notoriously bloody COIN campaign from 1980 until the early 1990s—one that did not officially end until the 1992 arrest and incarceration of Abimael Guzmán, the leader of Peru’s largest and most violent insurgent group, Sendero Luminoso, or Shining Path. Although Peru’s internal unrest did not entirely terminate with Guzmán’s arrest, it calmed appreciably as many Sendero insurgents either faded away or formed smaller splinter groups with far less capability and decidedly less revolutionary zeal. While remnants of Sendero still exist today (led by Comrade Artemio) and the organization continues to...

  10. CHAPTER THREE The Balkans (1991–2010)
    (pp. 53-84)

    Shortly after the end of the Cold War, Serbian politicians in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia delivered incendiary, ethnically charged speeches that celebrated the 600th anniversary of the Battle of Kosovo, a conflict that brought an end to Serbian independence at the hands of the Turks.¹ Slobodan Miloševiæ (later president of Serbia and the rump Yugoslavia) purposefully stoked the flames of hypernationalism, leading to factionalism, sectarianism, ethnic discord, and, ultimately, genocide. The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia slowly broke apart as a succession of groups in the ethnically mixed federal state agitated for “national liberation” by unilaterally declaring independence, prompting extreme...

  11. CHAPTER FOUR West Africa (1990–2010)
    (pp. 85-118)

    On Christmas Eve in 1989, Liberian warlord Charles Taylor led an invasion force of approximately 150 insurgents, fighting under the banner of the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL), into Nimba County in Liberia’s northeast. The insurgents crossed the border into Liberia from the Ivory Coast and counted among their ranks a hodgepodge of rebels from Sierra Leone, Gambia, and Guinea, as well as an attachment of Burkinabe soldiers.¹ Taylor’s foray into Nimba County marked the beginning of more than a decade of chaos and instability in West Africa, with multiple armed groups competing to control the region’s vast natural...

  12. CHAPTER FIVE The Caucasus (1990–2012)
    (pp. 119-150)

    The Caucasus region consists of the states and republics that straddle the Caucasus Mountains of Western Asia. It is an ethnically and geographically diverse area that forms a land bridge between the Middle East and Russia, spanning from the Black Sea in the west to the Caspian Sea in the east. The North Caucasus republics, constituent parts of Russia, include Karachay-Cherkessia, Kabardino-Balkaria, North Ossetia, Ingushetia, Chechnya, and Dagestan. The South Caucasus states, formerly constituent parts of the Soviet Union but now independent, include Georgia (and the separatist regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia), Armenia, and Azerbaijan (and the separatist region...

  13. CHAPTER SIX Somalia (1991–2010)
    (pp. 151-166)

    When scholars talk of weak, fragile, or failed states, these terms conjure images of conflict, violence, and crime compounded by the enduring challenges of weak state administration and hollowed-out bureaucracies. Conditions in Somalia, however, have led analysts of state failure to coin an even more descriptive term:collapsedstates. Collapsed states are characterized by the rule of the strong, a vacuum of authority, and a “dark energy” that pushes the state into a veritable black hole in which political goods can be obtained only through private or ad hoc means.¹

    Throughout the 1990s and well into the 2000s, Somalia was...

  14. CHAPTER SEVEN Angola (1992–2010)
    (pp. 167-182)

    The conflict in Angola began with the war of independence against the Portuguese (1961–1974) and then morphed into a battle for control of the state—and its vast resources—among three competing armed groups: the People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), the National Liberation Front of Angola, and the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA).¹ The first phase of the conflict, from 1975 to 1992, was a classic Cold War–era proxy conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union.² Following the end of the Cold War, the MPLA and UNITA were forced...

  15. CHAPTER EIGHT Burma (1988–2012)
    (pp. 183-196)

    Burma has been subject to a civil war and a multiform ethnic insurgency since it gained independence from Britain in 1948. In that time, no fewer than 25 insurgent groups have been involved in the conflict, “representing a diverse range of ethnic, political, ideological, economic, and geographically based causes.”¹ By 1999, the conflict in Burma had resulted in roughly 10,000 casualties per year,² as well as the displacement of more than 1 million Burmese civilians.³

    Although the conflict in Burma is ongoing, there have been significant changes since the student revolt of 1988, the ensuing military coup, and the installation...

  16. CHAPTER NINE Tajikistan (1992–2008)
    (pp. 197-210)

    Tajikistan is a collective product of its Soviet past, geography, and historical position as a trafficking route from Asia to Eastern Europe. Tajikistan is also, and perhaps most importantly, an artifact of its 1992–1997 civil war, a conflict that helped set the conditions for its seemingly perpetual unrest. Tajikistan’s civil war killed tens of thousands of people, with many these deaths a result of violence perpetrated to secure food and basic supplies.¹ The conflict also left hundreds of thousands of civilians internally displaced and destroyed tens of thousands of homes.² Remnants and vestiges of Tajikistan’s postindependence conflict still exist...

  17. CHAPTER TEN Afghanistan (2001–2013)
    (pp. 211-222)

    The growth of Afghanistan’s illicit economy in general and opium production specifically has transformed the conflict there, along with the Afghan state and economy. The illicit economy, dominated by the opium industry, has grown so large that it is difficult to separate it from Afghanistan’s increasingly trivial licit economy. The funds generated by the illicit economy have not only fueled the violence in Afghanistan, but they have also contributed to widespread corruption and a dysfunctional citizen-state relationship. While at one time the conflict in Afghanistan could have been described as an ideological struggle or an insurgency against foreign invaders and...

  18. References
    (pp. 223-250)