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Showing posts from July 22, 2014

Mexico's Drug War: Cartel Ringleaders in the Crosshairs

By Tristan Reed
Mexico Security Analyst

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto aggressively pursued a strategy of targeting top organized crime leaders throughout Mexico in the second quarter -- and not just in Michoacan, Sinaloa and Tamaulipas, the states that the country's major criminal groups call home.
Michoacan, Sinaloa and Tamaulipas

In Michoacan, Mexico City achieved substantial success against organized crime in the first half of 2014. Self-defense militias and Mexican authorities have dismantled most of the senior leadership of the Knights Templar. Only Servando "La Tuta" Gomez Martinez remains at large.

Federal forces also continued to inflict significant leadership losses on organized crime groups in Sinaloa, particularly the Sinaloa Federation. The arrest of top Sinaloa Federation leader Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman Loera on Feb. 22 capped the government's successes in Sinaloa. The Mexican military on June 23 also arrested Fernando "El Ingeniero&quo…

The U.S. and Iran Struggle to Tame Domestic Resistance to a Deal

The United States and Iran have put off hard decisions on a nuclear compromise for another four months. The gap between the U.S. and Iranian positions was evidently wide enough to prevent the signing of a deal during a particularly eventful week of global crises. With this delay, the United States and Iran have made it harder for themselves to curb domestic resistance to a deal.

For such a complex negotiation, the fundamental disagreement between the two sides is fairly straightforward. The International Atomic Energy Agency already has verified that so far Iran has cooperated, halting enrichment and converting its existing stockpile of highly enriched uranium to uranium oxide. The next step will be for Iran to turn that uranium oxide into nuclear fuel over the next four months for use in power plants and research reactors, bringing the country's enrichment activity more in line with a civilian nuclear program.

Iran believes it has resolved the most controversial aspect of its nucle…

Israel Faces Difficult Choices in Gaza

Israeli soldiers hold positions near the Israel-Gaza border July 21. (JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)


Israeli forces in Gaza slowly but steadily pushed west over the weekend as they continued to identify and destroy the infrastructure Palestinian militants use to transport material and conduct attacks. As expected, intense fighting occurred in the eastern fringes of Gaza City, particularly in Shejaiya district, as Hamas confronted the advancing troops. The fighting will only intensify as the Israelis move from rural areas into more urbanized terrain.


Israeli forces have uncovered and destroyed 14 tunnels leading from the Gaza Strip into Israel. Since the ground incursion began, some 39 tunnel access points throughout Gaza have been identified. Though most have been subjected to airstrikes, Israel Defense Forces want to ensure their destruction from the ground, and the search for more tunnels continues, with ground forces moving from building to building in the hopes of locati…