October 21, 2019

CLAIRE BERLINSKI PRESENTS: On Mexican State Collapse: a Guest Post by El Anti-Pozolero.

You may have read the news just a few days back: the Mexican military captured not one but two of El Chapo’s sons in the heart of Culiacán, the Sinaloan capital. One son freed himself—which is to say his entourage and retainers at hand overpowered and killed the soldiers at hand—and then, in a decisive riposte, seized the entire city center of Culiacán to compel the liberation of his brother.

The forces that emerged were in the literal sense awesome and awful. Heavy weaponry that would be familiar on any Iraqi, Syrian, or Yemeni battlefield was brought to bear. More and worse: custom-built armored vehicles, designed and built to make a Sahel-warfare technical look like an amateur’s weekend kit job, were rolled out for their combat debut. Most critically, all this hardware was manned by men with qualities the Mexican Army largely lacks: training, tactical proficiency, and motivation.

Then the coup de grace: as the Chapo sons’ forces engaged in direct combat with their own national military, kill squads went into action across Culiacán, slaughtering the families of soldiers engaged in the streets.

Cowed and overmatched—most crucially in the moral arena—the hapless band of soldiers still holding the second son finally received word from Mexico City, direct from President AMLO himself: surrender. Surrender and release the prisoner.

It’s an absolutely extraordinary episode even by the grim and bizarre annals of what we mistakenly call the post-2006 Mexican Drug War. The Battle of Culiacán stands on a level above, say, the Ayotzinapa massacre, or the Zetas’ expulsion of the entire population of Ciudad Mier. Killing scores of innocents and brutalizing small towns is one thing: seizing regional capital cities and crushing the national armed forces in open fighting in broad daylight is something else.

This is getting very little coverage in the US, so do yourself a favor and read the whole thing.

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