Criminal Cartels And The Rule Of Law In Mexico: Summary, PDF
The cartels have thousands of gunmen and have morphed into diversified crime groups that not only traffic drugs, but also conduct mass kidnappings, oversee extortion rackets and steal from the state oil industry. The military still fights them in much of the country on controversial missions too often ending in shooting rather than prosecutions. If Peña Nieto does not build an effective police and justice system, the violence may continue or worsen. But major institutional improvements and more efficient, comprehensive social programs could mean real hope for sustainable peace and justice.[more inside]
Frequently dismissed as trivial or unimportant because untrue, rumors are a potent in the information war that characterizes contemporary conflicts, and they participate in significant ways in the struggle for the consent of the governed. As narrative forms, rumors are suitable to a wide range of political expression, from citizens, insurgents, and governments alike. The authors make a compelling argument for understanding rumors in these contexts as "narrative IEDs," low-cost, low-tech weapons that can successfully counter elaborate and expansive government initiatives of outreach campaigns or strategic communication efforts.Narrative Landmines - The Explosive Effects of Rumors in Syria and Insurgencies Around the World [more inside]
'You actually have to really build a collaborative relationship with the people on the ground if you want to have any hope of understanding what’s going on.'
"Let’s Map Who Owes The Local Warlord Money": Meet An Urban Planner For Cities That Don't Yet Exist (via Small Wars Journal). [more inside]
With the election of Pena Nieto to the presidency, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) ends a twelve-year absence from the seat. [more inside]
The U.S. replaces the top General in Afghanistan after he'd held his post for less than a year. General McKiernan is being replaced by Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, who came under some criticism in the past for the treatment of detainees by his Special Operations forces under his command. He is credited with the death of Al Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab Zarqawi in 2006, and the Obama administrations hopes he will bring unconventional thinking to the use of force in Afghanistan. He is already working on some new ideas in military civilian collaboration, but does he play poker? Will he embrace the population-centered warfare approach? Will this General, a prominent figure in Bush's war on terror, be an effective tool in the use of Smart Power, or just make matters worse?