The EPR has attacked targets in central and eastern Mexico. The attacks in eastern Mexico closed a major gas pipeline that shut down production at several major factories. The Mexican government estimated that pipeline attack cost the Mexican economy $150 million a day in lost production, which was precisely the EPR's goal. The EPR's violent revival, in the midst of Calderon's war on the cartels, may or may not be a coincidence. Many Mexicans and military analysts don't think so. The revolutionaries need money, and the drug cartels have money. It's a traditional marriage of convenience made in hell.
Over the past 13 months, the army and federal police task forces have used both counter-insurgency warfare tactics and law enforcement techniques in counter-cartel operations. At times, the counter-insurgency tactics have taken precedence over traditional police-type anti-crime measures.
The Mexican government believes its war on the cartels has been a tentative success. In September 2007, Calderon gave his first "state of the union" speech. Calderon said that the Mexican military and police forces have gained "momentum" in the war against drug cartels. He noted that 200 Mexican soldiers and policemen had died in the last year and half at the hands of drug cartels and organized criminals.
Mexican officials, including Calderon, caution that "the war" will continue for a long, long time. Calderon said the fight with criminal syndicates was "a permanent battle." However, his government ultimately hopes that battle will be fought by honest, reliable police forces instead of the military.
Austin Bay is the author of three novels. His third novel, The Wrong Side of Brightness, was published by Putnam/Jove in June 2003. He has also co-authored four non-fiction books, to include A Quick and Dirty Guide to War: Third Edition (with James Dunnigan, Morrow, 1996).
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