Congressman: Mexico faces insurgency

Mexican marines reel in an alleged cartel agent.
Yuri Cortez

The chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee dropped more oil on the fiery debate over Mexico’s drug war when he said that American aid should be reassessed to face the threat of an insurgency.

Speaking in a Tuesday session, Rep. Connie Mack (R-Fla.) said that the United States had to rethink what it is trying to accomplish in Mexico.

The drug cartels, he said, have morphed into “a well-funded criminal insurgency raging along our southern border, threatening the lives of U.S. citizens and harming the U.S. economy by undermining legal business.”

It is the third time in a year that an American official has used the dreaded “i” word on Mexico – to the chagrin of Mexican officials.

Secretary of State Hilary Clinton said in a major foreign policy speech last September that cartels “are showing more indices of an insurgency.”

Then in February, US Undersecretary of the Army Joseph Westphal made the comparison again – and warned of a situation in which U.S. troops might have to cross into Mexico to fight it.

That comment sparked an angry response from Mexico and the Whitehouse pressured Westphal to retract his statement.

The politicians are right in saying the cartel threat has gone way beyond the bounds of simple mafia wars into a new form of conflict that could be understood as a criminal insurgency. (See spread of cartel extortion)

However, any talk of a doctrinal Counter-Insurgency or coin strategy in Mexico should be avoided.

Many say that COIN hasn’t even worked in Afghanistan, (see analysis of Afghanistan War) and the bloodshed in Mexico is an extremely complicated and unorthodox conflict.