Mexico’s Narco-Insurgency

Mexico’s Narco-Insurgency

When Barack Obama takes office on Jan. 20, his foreign policy will almost certainly be consumed by the insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan. Yet Obama would do well to pay equal attention to a third ongoing insurgency, one that is currently more violent than the war in Iraq and possibly more threatening to American interests. This insurgency is raging not half a world away in the Middle East, but just across America's southern frontier in Mexico.

Since 2006, Mexico has descended into a multifaceted narco-insurgency. Well-armed and well-funded cartels are viciously fighting the government and one another over control of the drug-running corridors into the United States. As today's discovery of nine decapitated bodies -- including seven Mexican soldiers -- indicates, they do battle with astonishing savagery, often beheading, immolating, strangling, and torturing their enemies, and advertising their expertise in such tactics in slickly produced videos posted to YouTube.

The violence has escalated this year, claiming nearly 5,000 lives since January, causing a palpable sense of insecurity throughout Mexico, and leaving the Mexican government's control of large stretches of territory nominal to non-existent. Once renowned for its political stability, Mexico now seems en route to becoming a failed state.

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