Small Wars Journal

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Third Generation Gangs Strategic Note No. 25: 18th Street (Barrio 18) Demonic & Santa Muerte Affinity Linkages

Sat, 05/23/2020 - 2:50pm
This research note seeks to provide some initial and exploratory insights—primarily but not exclusively via imagery interpretation—into 18th Street dark spiritual activities. 18th Street (Barrio 18) linkages to dark spirituality will be addressed from within the context of both United States (CONUS) and outside of the country (OCONUS) perspectives, with the latter focusing on the gang’s presence in the Northern Triangle of Central America (NTCA).

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Mexican Cartel Tactical Note #45: Drones and Explosives Seized in Puebla, Mexico by Fiscalía General de la República (FGR) and Secretaría de la Defensa Nacional (SEDENA)

Thu, 05/21/2020 - 6:09pm
Search and seizure operations were conducted by Mexican federal agencies in San Andrés Cholula, Puebla state on 25-26 April 2020 due to an anonymous tip. These operations resulted in the seizure of a ‘terrorist arsenal’ (arsenal terrorista) of weapons and equipment including the components required to make weaponized drones. This arsenal is thought to be linked to ongoing organized crime bombings in Guanajuato state—with possible Cártel de Santa Rosa de Lima (CSRL) ties—and represents one more data point concerning the growing weaponized drone capabilities of the Mexican cartels and criminal gangs.

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Third Generation Gangs Strategic Note No. 24: COVID-19, Gangs and Lockdown in Cape Town

Mon, 05/18/2020 - 3:37pm
Gangs in the Cape Town region have enacted a truce in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. South Africa is in the midst of a lockdown to contain the coronavirus outbreak that is also leading to food shortages. The truce involves gangs throughout the Cape Flats, including Manenberg. The participating gangs are joining together to distribute food, soap, and essential goods in an effort to provide relief to the communities in which they exist.[

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Mexican Cartel Strategic Note No. 29: An Overview of Cartel Activities Related to COVID-19 Humanitarian Response  

Fri, 05/08/2020 - 6:37pm
Various organized crime entities throughout Latin America, Europe, and Africa—including gangs, cartels, and mafias—are increasingly responding to the global COVID-19 pandemic in a number of ways. These include accounting for a shift in their illicit revenue streams and exploring new economic opportunities that are emerging. In the area of humanitarian response, a large number of the Mexican cartels are now actively engaging in these activities for their public relations and propaganda value in supporting their ‘protector of the community narratives’ targeted at the local citizenry under their control. These cartel activities are not without precedent and have taken place in Mexico in the past—though not as widespread and pronounced as they are now—and further reinforce ongoing criminal insurgency analysis related to this phenomena linked to Eric Hobsbawm’s ‘social banditry’ construct. 

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Third Generation Gangs Strategic Note No. 23: El Salvadoran Gangs (Maras) Enforce Domestic Quarantine / Stay at Home Orders (Cuarentena domiciliar)

Tue, 05/05/2020 - 5:10pm
Salvadoran maras (gangs) have adapted to the COVID-19 outbreak by enforcing social control in the form of domestic quarantine (cuarentena domiciliar), curfews, and social distancing. The major maras, i.e. MS-13, and the Sureños and Revolucionarios factions of Barrio 18 (Eighteenth Street), have communicated this ‘public health’ dictate throughout the territories they control. In addition to enforcing domestic ‘quarantine,’ the Barrio 18 factions have suspended collecting ‘street taxes’ (extortion payments) while MS-13 continues to collect ‘renta’ (rent).

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Now Joining the Fight Against Coronavirus: The World’s Armed Rebels, Drug Cartels and Gangs

Tue, 04/14/2020 - 9:12am

Now Joining the Fight Against Coronavirus: The World’s Armed Rebels, Drug Cartels and Gangs by Kevin Sieff, Susannah George and Kareem Fahim - Washington Post

In Afghanistan, the Taliban has dispatched health teams to far-flung provinces to confront the coronavirus. In Mexico, drug cartels are offering aid packages to those feeling its economic impact. In Brazil and El Salvador, gangs enforce curfews to prevent its spread.

As governments around the world have responded to the coronavirus, so too have armed insurgents and terrorist groups and drug cartels and gangs, a parallel underworld of public health policy and strategic messaging.

It is hardly the first time such groups have attempted to fill the role of government. But few crises in modern times have tested the limits of the world’s nation-states as the coronavirus has, providing an opening for armed groups to step in where presidents, police forces and parliaments have failed…

Read on.

Venezuela: Could the Coronavirus Threat Be an Opportunity?

Sat, 04/11/2020 - 11:04am
Helping Venezuela resolve its political crisis will be vital to containing the potentially catastrophic COVID-19 pandemic there. A truce in the country’s power struggle is urgent, and last week’s U.S. proposal for a transitional government offers useful ideas, even for a naturally skeptical governing regime.

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Third Generation Gangs Strategic Note No. 22: Rio’s Gangs Impose Curfews in Response to Coronavirus

Fri, 04/10/2020 - 12:11am
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and fears of the spread of the coronavirus through Rio de Janeiro’s densely populated favelas local gangs (gangues) and militias (milícias) are imposing social controls in the form of curfews to limit the spread of the disease.

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