Skip to main content


Showing posts from October 24, 2013

Mexico's Zetas Are Not Finished Yet

By Scott Stewart and Tristan Reed

During the question-and-answer portion of our quarterly Mexico Security Monitor webinar, we were asked a question pertaining to the current status of Los Zetas. The question was something to the effect of: "Some Mexican media outlets and analysts claim that Los Zetas have been dismantled as an organization and are now little more than a 'ragtag operation.' Why do you disagree with that assessment?"

This question apparently came in response to our quarterly cartel report (an abbreviated version is available here), in which we wrote that despite the leadership losses suffered by Los Zetas, including the arrest of their leader, Miguel "Z-40" Trevino Morales, there were no signs that other leaders were challenging the current leader and Miguel's brother, Omar Trevino Morales. We also wrote that we believed Los Zetas have maintained their operational capabilities in terms of drug smuggling and other criminal activity, and that…

The ‘Middle Class’ as a Mechanism of Social Control

By William Bowles
- Central to us on the left is the dilemma of a seemingly indifferent working class to the changes that impact directly not only on our material well-being but on the corporatisation of our cultural lives. Some argue that it’s down to the prevailing sense of powerlessness as the gulf between those who govern and the governed, deepens and widens. But there is perhaps another explanation for our disenfranchisement; the role of the ‘middle class’ as a mechanism of social control. Both my parents were what you would call working class. My mother, who left school at fourteen, worked on the stage as a chorus girl  (the Tiller Girls) and in pantomime before becoming a ‘housewife’ and my father, a self-taught engineer/toolmaker and professional musician and trade union organiser for the Musicians Union, left school without any formal qualifications (that I know of) at about the same age. Instead, he went to evening classes to improve his language skills and knowledge of the wo…

48 Taliban militants killed in Afghanistan, 10 surrender

At least 48 Taliban militants and a key commander were killed in Afghanistan over Tuesday and Wednesday in cleanup operations against the militants in parts of the conflict-ridden country even as 10 militants laid down arms before authorities.

The Afghan interior ministry in a statement released here Wednesday claimed killing four dozen Taliban militants over the past 24 hours across the country.

"Afghan National Police backed by the units of national army and the coalition forces conducted several joint clearance operations in Nangarhar, Baghlan, Kandahar, Helmand and Nimroz provinces over the past 24 hours which left 48 armed Taliban rebels dead, 38 wounded and six others were arrested," Xinhua reported citing the statement.

It did not mentioned any casualties among security personnel

Meanwhile, a key commander of the armed outfit was also killed in Herat province Tuesday night, Naqibullah Balouch, an army officer said Wednesday.

"Acting upon intelligence report, the secur…

No More Foreign Wars? Yet America is Fighting in Yemen's Civil War

On Syria, Obama went to Congress over military action. But in Yemen, the US has joined a counter-insurgency without a word

By Ryan Goodman

October 23, 2013  - "The Guardian"- No act of government calls for greater debate and deliberation than the decision to commit the country to war. The recent civil war in Syria sparked a national conversation in the United States about the direction of American foreign policy, and rightly so. But Syria was not the only civil war preoccupying the administration. While orchestrating the drawdown in Afghanistan and openly contemplating intervening in Syria, the president appears to have secretly inserted the United States in Yemen's civil war.

Today, US forces conduct operations alongside the Yemeni army as it battles a domestic insurgency. The troubling details of some of those operations were revealed Tuesday, in a major report by Human Rights Watch on the scope of US military strikes in Yemen. The picture that emerges is grim: the pres…

In Mozambique, a Peace Agreement Ends


Tensions are running high between Mozambique's ruling party and the political opposition, but a return to all-out civil war seems highly unlikely. On Oct. 22, fighters from the Mozambique National Resistance Movement, commonly known as Renamo, attacked a police station in Maringue, a city located in central Sofala province, according to Radio Mozambique. The attack comes one day after the group annulled its 1992 peace agreement with the ruling Mozambique Liberation Front. Despite the recent attack, Renamo is not militarily capable of restarting a war, nor does it have a foreign patron willing to sponsor it in its bid to take power by force.


Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama ended the 21-year peace treaty with Maputo after government forces attacked his camp at Sathunjira in what Dhlakama claims was an attempt on his life. The intent of the attack notwithstanding, Renamo and government forces have clashed intermittently in recent months. Indeed, the government attacked …

Pakistan's Constraints in Post-NATO Afghanistan


As the United States and its NATO allies continue their military drawdown from Afghanistan, there is a great deal of concern about what will become of the country -- and its eastern neighbor, Pakistan -- after the withdrawal. The fate of Afghanistan is intrinsically linked to that of Pakistan, the destabilization of which has been one of the biggest casualties of the longest war in U.S. history. Washington hopes that stability in Pakistan would help protect Kabul from jihadist recidivism. Washington and Islamabad both hope that a power-sharing agreement between Kabul and the Afghan Taliban would help prevent the cross-border insurgency from worsening. However, the war has greatly damaged Pakistan, and there are serious constraints on Islamabad's ability to help the United States manage the situation.


Security in Afghanistan and Pakistan after the NATO withdrawal will top the agenda when Pakistan's recently elected prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, meets with U.S. P…

EU: Nationalist Alliance Positioning for 2014 Elections

Elections for the European Parliament are generally a secondary issue in most EU states. However, the emergence of nationalist parties across the Continent and their desire to join forces to reverse the process of European integration seems likely to turn European Parliament elections in 2014 into one of the most important political events in Europe of the year.

On Wednesday, the leader of French euroskeptic party National Front, Marine Le Pen, met with officials from Austrian anti-immigration Freedom Party and announced that several nationalist parties in Europe might campaign together for the upcoming European Parliament elections in May. In 2010, the two parties founded the European Alliance for Freedom, an association of nationalist parties that includes Belgium's Vlaams Belang, the Sweden Democrats and the Party for Freedom in the Netherlands. Though the European Parliament has officially recognized the pan-European political party since 2011, its members have rarely campaigne…