Saturday, April 16, 2011

Terrorism or business?

Stratfor Global Intelligence provides very comprehensive political, military, economic and other intelligence and insight on issues around the world. It's almost too much to keep up with. But one of the emails Guambat received recently from Stratfor jumped out at him with one particular, and perhaps not germane, comment.

It came in the midst of an interview between a Stratfor correspondent, Colin Chapman, and a Mexican security expert, Scott Stewart. One of the talking points was the construction of extra car barriers outside the US Embassy in Monterrey, Mexico.

Chapman asked, "Has this building been targeted...?"

Stewart replied (extracts):
"The Mexican cartels certainly don’t shy away from violence. We see them regularly beheading and dismembering people. However they tend to try to target most of their violence against opponents of the fellow cartels or against government employees, and a lot of times the government employees that they target are actually working for opposition cartels. So there’s really a relation there between the targeting.

"One thing to remember is that these cartels are not terrorist groups. They are really businesses, and they’re organized crime organizations. So their end is making money. That is their objective."

Guambat appreciates that at some academic level there is a logic there. But damned if he can discern some universal distinguishing characteristic between the wantonness of Mexican violence and the wantonness of Al Queda violence. He has previously expressed his dismay about what is happening in Mexico, a country he once loved to visit.

Stratfor is by and large a subscription service, but it does have a free page with Scott Stewart discussing The Perceived Car Bomb Threat in Mexico. Click the linked title for the read.

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