Monday, November 01, 2010

Down in Juarez.

A total of 350 people were killed in the Ciudad Juarez metro area during October, according to the Chihuahua State Attorney General’s Office, making it the deadliest month of 2010 to date. According to the Attorney General’s Office, Juarez has seen some 2,387 drug trafficking-related deaths in 2010 against 2,666 for the entire state of Chihuahua — and those are only the ones reported. To give some perspective, 2009 was believed to have been the deadliest year on record for the state of Chihuahua, with 2,754 drug trafficking-related deaths. Now, 2010 — which has yet to have a month with fewer than 100 deaths — is on pace to break that record.

No part of the Juarez metro area has been left untouched by the seemingly endless violence despite hosting the largest deployments of Mexican federal security forces, including both Federal Police and members of the military. The violence stems from a three-front war involving the Vicente Carrillo Fuentes organization (VCF), aka the Juarez cartel, and the Sinaloa Federation headed by Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loera. U.S. and Mexican law enforcement have both indicated that the Sinaloa Federation appears to have gained a tactical advantage in the Juarez region and is now the region’s primary trafficker. This appears to have provoked the VCF to employ more extreme tactics, such as deploying vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices against Mexican security forces.

Nothing suggests the violence in Juarez will slow soon, as the three-way war dynamic is not likely to change in the near term. With the Sinaloa Federation appearing to be the dominant cartel in the region, however, the VCF simply cannot maintain the pace at which it is currently operating indefinitely given its current resources. It may take several months or even years for the Sinaloa federation to either co-opt or eliminate the VCF, but it appears that one of those outcomes will be inevitable.

-- Stratfor.