Back in November, StrategyUnit wrote on the “War on Drugs” escalation in Mexico and the great danger it poses for US security:
The U.S. and its “War on Drugs” is partially the cause of the escalation of the drug war. The US and other states have escalated the war, only to encourage the development and spread of fourth generation gangs, increasing the corruption of governments – and the growing nexus of gangs and corrupt officials leading to a narco-state.
If Mexico slides towards Colombization, two threats will gather strength: 1) the number and strength of potential gangs that could work with groups Al-Qaida will increase; and 2) the spill over of violence and nacro-trafficking from Mexico to the southwestern U.S. states.
While Mexico isn’t Colombia yet, these major threats are more than sufficient enough for the U.S. to strongly reconsider its approach to the War on Drugs and its own domestic drug policies.
Follow-Up Since November 2005 Posting: Yes, things are pretty bad
Fast forward to February 2006, the headlines on what’s going on in the US-Mexican border are not encouraging:
Following separate raids on Jan. 12, 26 and 27, U.S. authorities announced they had seized two homemade bombs, materials for making 33 more, military-style grenades, 26 grenade triggers, large quantities of AK-47 and AR-15 assault rifles, 1,280 rounds of ammunition, silencers, machine gun assembly kits, 300 primers, bulletproof vests, police scanners, sniper scopes, narcotics and cash.
The chief of the Border Patrol today urged U-S House members not to lose sight of the danger agents face each day along the Mexican border.
The situation has drawn more attention after last month’s confrontation between officers in West Texas and military-uniformed drug smugglers along the Rio Grande.
Border Patrol Chief David Aguilar says agents regularly encounter individuals hurling rocks at them from across the border, ramming their vehicles and sometimes firing at them. (Empahsis mine)
Mexican criminal syndicates are stepping up their attacks on American agents patrolling the border as officials of the Homeland Security Department intensify efforts to stem the flow of immigrants and drugs into the United States, American officials said this week.
In recent months, scores of Border Patrol agents have been fired upon or pelted with large stones as well as with cloth-covered stones that have been doused with flammable liquid and set ablaze. Since October, agents have been attacked in more than 190 cases, officials said on Thursday.
The police chief of a wealthy suburb of this bustling industrial city was gunned down Monday, shortly after the top police official of another northern Mexican community was kidnapped and shot dead.
Hector Ayala, chief of police for the town of San Pedro Garza Garcia, was driving in nearby Monterrey, whose sprawling metro area is Mexico’s third-largest, when a car overtook his vehicle and opened fire.
Mexican officials have discovered the deepest tunnel ever gouged under the US border, equipped with electricity and ventilation and concealing two tonnes of cannabis.
The scale of the tunnel — the 21st discovered in more than four years — stunned authorities, who said that the passageway revealed the lengths to which smugglers would go to evade detection.
The underground smuggling route began near the airport in Tijuana, Mexico, and ended 2,400ft (720m) away in a warehouse in San Diego in the US, Michael Unzueta, special agent in charge of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement in San Diego, said. It was unclear how long the tunnel had been in operation, he added.
The 60ft-deep (18m) tunnel had a concrete floor, electric lights that ran down one of the hard soil walls and air piped from the surface. An adult could nearly stand in the 5ft-high (1.5m) shaft. “It was like being in a cavern or a cave,” Mr Unzueta said. “It’s just huge, absolutely incredible.”
The instability along the US-Mexican border areas demonstrate the increasing vulnerability of a US that is no longer protected by its vast oceans nor its once-calm borders. If the narcot-gangs continue its viral infection of the US-Mexico borderlands, intertwining with terrorism and corruption, the US will have a soft and vulnerable underbelly threatened by modern, globally connected and resourceful gangs. Nation-states have difficulty adapting fighting such organizations.
Unlike other countries, such as Russia, the US is not accustomed with border instability issues, it will be challenging for the US to understand how to control it borders – a very basic act for a nation-state. Before it was simply about illegal immigration, but now the stakes are higher: narco-fueled terrorism, narco-fueled corruption, nexus between narco-gangs and Islamic terrorism and so on.
But the situation has not reached the tipping point yet, the US must act boldly and strongly reconsider its “War on Drugs” program as the only effective method to de-escalate the narco-gangs driven violence and the instability it brings.