Sunday, 27 November 2016

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Bary Shaw on Gatestone: The False Premise of Palestine and Peace

After 50 years of a two-state failure, the French and other diplomats, in their duplicitously-named "peace initiative," have no other idea for how to settle the Palestinian problem, except to behave like parched men trudging across a burning desert toward a distant mirage that they think is an oasis paradise. It is not, and the same diplomats will take no responsibility for cleaning up the dangerous outcome of such a disaster.
The international community is pressuring Israel to make wholesale concessions in territory and security, risking social and political upheaval, to grant the so-called Palestinians a state of their own.
The sole criterion for making this happen is for the international community to accept the Palestinian precondition of forcing Israel withdraw to pre-1967 lines, which are the 1949 armistice lines and not a defined border.
Whenever I approach a European diplomat with the following questions, none of them can give me an answer:
1) What happens when a new emboldened Palestinian government continues calls for the liberation of the "rest of Palestine"?
They call Haifa, Acre, Jaffa and the Galilee -- in fact, all of Israel -- "occupied Palestinian land". Just look at any Palestinian map: it is identical to Israel.
It is little known that members of the Palestinian Authority call Israeli Arabs "Palestinians of the Interior."
They also call Israeli Arabs the "Palestinians of '48." They have been joined in this by Arab Knesset Members, who also would not object to the eventual displacement of Jews by Arabs in Israel.
According to their ambition, these Israeli Arabs will be "liberated" by a new Palestine.

2) What will happen when inevitably -- by the ballot or by the bullet -- this Palestine is taken over by Hamas, designated an Islamic terror organization by the U.S. Department of State?
If you think this question is far-fetched, think again. The students of Bir Zeit University voted overwhelming to elect Hamas representatives to head their student body. Bir Zeit is not in the Gaza Strip. It is less than ten kilometers north of Ramallah, literally a stone's throw from the offices of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank.
These Hamas-supporting students will be the Palestinians' future opinion-makers after graduation.
And let us not forget how in the Gaza Strip, in June 2007, Hamas seized power in a bloody coup that left more than a hundred dead and more than five hundred wounded.
Hamas will continue its incendiary calls to destroy the Jewish state and to slaughter Jews.

3) Do you really think that we Israelis will call upon our government to make territorial concessions that will bring these terrorists closer to our families and homes?
So, what is the answer I get from the diplomats based in Israel to these genuine concerns? Well, nothing really. Just a throwaway line about it being up to the parties to solve their ongoing difficulties.

If the international community wants to see Israel make dangerous concessions, then they, and they alone, must ensure that Israel has a united and pragmatic peace partner, not a weak, aging, corrupt, rejectionist and undemocratic leader to our east, who constantly says he will never recognize Israel as the Jewish State, and to our south, in Gaza, a rabid Islamic terror regime bent on our destruction.
This should be Israel's basic demand: that a united Palestinian political leadership will recognize the right of all the citizens of the Jewish State of Israel to live in peace and security, alongside the State of Palestine.
It is that simple. That is all it takes.

Let the diplomatic world spend the next 50 years educating and training the divided Palestinian political leadership to come together as a force for peace.
Then Israel will be happy to consider making concessions that might well be life-threatening, as it has done before.

If the international community wants to see Israel make dangerous concessions, then they, and they alone, must ensure that Israel has a united and pragmatic peace partner, not a weak, aging, corrupt, rejectionist and undemocratic leader to our east, who constantly says he will never recognize Israel as the Jewish State, and to our south, in Gaza, a rabid Islamic terror regime bent on our destruction. (Image source: Palestinian Media Watch)

The author Barry Shaw is a Senior Associate at the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies.
Republished with the kind permission of the author Barry Shaw

U.S CBP Media: Border Patrol agents continue to be attacked in the Rio Grande Valley

WESLACO, Texas – For the third time in a week, Border Patrol agents were put in harm’s way by subjects throwing rocks at them.

The incident occurred Thursday evening when Weslaco Station Border Patrol agents assigned to the riverine unit were patrolling the Rio Grande near Hidalgo, Texas.  The agents reported that three subjects on the Mexican side of the river began throwing rocks at them.  

No force was used against the subjects, who eventually dispersed and departed the area.  The agents were unharmed in the incident and no damage to the boats was reported.

The public is encouraged to take a stand against crime in their communities and to help save lives by reporting suspicious activity at 800-863-9382.

Please visit to view additional news releases and other information pertaining to Customs and Border Protection


U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Brazil: When criminal gang crime becomes terrorism

( Facts taken from a BBC news report today)
Four police officers have died after their helicopter crashed over Rio de Janeiro's notorious City of God favela.  In video footage of the crash, sustained gunfire can be heard before the helicopter drops from the sky like a stone, narrowly missing a main road. The police helicopter was giving support to a police operation against gangs in the favela, according to police.
There had been several clashes during the day between police and criminal gangs operating in the area, but this time the line between a gang crime and national security has been reached by the gang in question according to our own analysis within SDR.
If the police let this slide in any even remotest way the entire attack will serve only as a milestone and road map to other criminals in the region that one can get away becoming terrorist. This is by far more important than reported by the media as we see it today.
Yesterday local firefighters removed the bodies of the four victims from the wreckage, which could be seen in the footage crumpled and smoking ...
A national police spokesman told media that forensics officers were examining the wreckage to determine the cause of the crash.  And If the helicopter was shot down by gang members, it would not be a first for the city, which hosted the 2016 Olympics. 
Something less reported of in the past is that back In 2009, drug traffickers opened fire on a police helicopter, causing it to explode and crash land on a football pitch, killing both pilots.
Violence has been on the rise in Rio over the past two years following the failure of a 2010 programme to rid the favelas of drug gangs, due to endemic corruption from the highest leadership to the local police.  Ergo as long as the crimes of the gangs feed both police and politicians the crime and violence won't stop, but actually just open gates for even more corruption! This can be compared to flooding. It can only be stopped by building walls or redirect the water which would translate to the income of local officials. 
Solutions do exist but to look for them in former EU is hardly the place, as the low corruption could be found only in former North Europe predating utterly corrupt EU, UN etc 
Today's EU is a dream come true for the large and very large crooks to wash their cash in front of the faces of the completely imbecile leadership. That is the other side of the coin that is not any better than millions of small crimes....
Sad fact remains: A total of 3,649 murders were reported in 2016 up until the end of September, a rise of almost 18% on the same period last year.

Friday, 18 November 2016

Ambassador ret. Yoram Ettinger: The latest two videos from his mini online seminar

The Misperceived Jewish Settlements

Jewish Settlements Are Legal

Ambassador Yoram Ettinger will be in the US in 2017, and is still available for speaking engagements....Better hurry as as he is widely booked from Texas to Washington DC!

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Ambassador ret, Yoram Ettinger: New era for US-Israel relations (Trump's "ten commandments")

Could one have predicted the outcome of the November 8, 2016 election? 

The outcome of the November 8, 2016 US election was predicted by those who doubted the accuracy of the polling samples. In fact, it is doubtful that credible samples can be currently formulated, due to the fluctuating ground of the social, economic, political, demographic and ethnic environment in the 435 congressional districts, the 50 states and the many county lines in the US.

The outcome of the November races for the White House, 34 Senate seats, 435 House seats, 12 Governorships and all State Legislatures spotlights the reasserted profile of the Flyover Areas of relatively small-town-America, the Blue Collar and Six-Pack-Joe and Lunch-Pail-Mable America ("Reagan Democrats"), the moderate "Blue Dog" and conservative America, the national and homeland security hawks and the evangelical constituency, which was not significantly-registered in prior election cycles. 

The November 8, 2016 election was a victory of the anti-establishment and politically-incorrect folks over the politically-correct media, academia, political, business and foreign policy establishments.

How will the Trump victory impact US-Israel relations?

Just like all Western democracies and other allies of the US, Israel is mostly concerned with the US posture of deterrence, which has played a critical role in restraining global radicalism and reassuring free societies. However, the US power-projection has been significantly eroded during the Obama Administration, generating tailwinds for rogue regimes and headwinds for America's allies, as has been strikingly demonstrated in the Persian Gulf and the Middle East at-large. It has fueled global turbulence, instability and Islamic terrorism, which is asserting itself in Europe and increasingly on the US mainland.

The Trump presidency is expected to reboot the US posture of deterrence by reversing the recent draconian cuts in the US defense budget and the size of the US armed forces – in the face of intensifying clear and present terrorism, conventional and nuclear threats to the US and its allies - and to replenish the rapidly depleted and aging US military stockpiles; compensate for the declining purchase power of the US dollar; restore the size of the armed forces, and reassess the July 2015 agreement with Iran. The latter has caused all pro-US Arab countries to downgrade their confidence in the US posture of deterrence and seek closer ties with Russia.

The track record of President-elect Trump, Vice-President-elect Pence, and their foreign policy and national security advisors, suggest that US-Israel relations are expected to experience less tension and substantial enhancement, driven by the 400-year-old foundation of Judeo-Christian values of liberty and justice, as well as long and short-term mutual interests and threats, Israel's unique and increasing contributions to the UScommercial and defense industries and to scientific, technological, irrigation, agricultural, space and military US concerns.

President and Vice President-elect Trump and Pence, and most of their advisors on US-Israel relations and foreign policy, are prone to adhere to the following "ten commandments:"

1.  Jewish sovereignty over the Land of Israel is a derivative of a unique historical right – which was enshrined by the early Pilgrims and the US Founding Fathers - rather than a compensation for the Holocaust;

2. Israel is a most effective, unconditional geo-strategic ally of the US, willing to flex its muscles, extending the strategic hand of the US, while employing its own – not American - soldiers, performing within the framework of a two-way-street, mutually-beneficial, win-win US-Israel relationship;

3. The scope of US geo-strategic interests, and therefore US-Israel relations, dramatically transcends the Palestinian issue;

4. Irrespective of the Arab talk - but based on the Arab walk - the Palestinian issue is not a core-cause of Middle East turbulencenor a center-piece of Arab policy-making, nor a trigger of anti-US Islamic terrorismnor the crux of the Arab-Israeli conflict;

5. Based on the intra-Arab Palestinian track record (stabbing the backs of their Arab hosts), the relationships between the Palestinian Authority and anti-US regimes and terror organizations, the anti-US incitement on the Palestinian Street, Palestinian hate-education, and the strategic implications of the raging anti-US Arab Tsunami, a Palestinian state would be a strategic liability, undermining regional stability and vital US interests in the Middle East;

6. The Trump team's order of priorities will minimize the US involvement in the mediation/negotiation process of the Palestinian issue. The Trump team is aware that the US has introduced numerous Israel-Arab peace initiatives, none of which succeeded. The only two successful peace initiatives, Israel-Egypt and Israel-Jordan, were initiated – and directly negotiated - by the parties involved. The US involvement has always radicalized Arab expectations by further pressure on Israel, thus radicalizing Arab positions, which undermines the prospects of peace.

7. The Trump/Pence state-of-mind does not consider Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria an obstacle to peace nor a violation of international law.

8. The Trump/Pence team recognizes that the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria are critically required for Israel's existence, as demonstrated by a map submitted to President Johnson by former Chairman of the Joint-Chiefs-of-Staff, General Earl Wheeler: "the minimum requirements for Israel's defense include most of the West Bank." 

9. The Trump/Pence team is aware that Jerusalem is the ancient capital of the Jewish State – not an international city - and therefore should be the site of the US Embassy in Israel. The refusal to relocate the US Embassy to Jerusalem has undermined the US posture of deterrence, and has strayed from the legacy of the US Founding Fathers, who considered Jerusalem a cornerstone of their moral and cultural worldview, as reflected by the 18 Jerusalems and 32 Salems (the original Biblical name of Jerusalem) on the US map.

10. Trump's anti-establishment worldview is also targeting the State Department which has been systematically wrong on Middle East issues, including its 1948 recommendation not to recognize the establishment of Israel, and its current insistence that Jerusalem is an international city. Therefore Foggy Bottom will not lead - but follow - the Middle East policy of the Trump Administration, which will not subordinate the US unilateral action to multilateralism and the UN.

The Trump/Pence worldview on US-Israel relations is consistent with the vast
majority of the US constituency
 and the US House and Senate, which will produce fertile ground for a substantial expansion of mutually-beneficial cooperation through congressional and executive initiatives.

The state-of-mind of President-elect Trump and Vice-President-elect Pence will provide a unique platform for the dramatic enhancement of US-Israel cooperation in the face of mutual challenges and threats, bolstering the economy, the national and homeland security of both countries, providing a tailwind to US allies and a headwind to US foes, thus reducing global instability. 

U.S DoJ news: Three More Minnesota Men Sentenced for Providing Material Support to ISIL

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Three More Minnesota Men Sentenced for Providing Material Support to ISIL

Six of nine defendants expected to be sentenced this week for conspiring to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a designated foreign terrorist organization, have now been sentenced in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis. Hamza Naj Ahmed, 21, of Minneapolis, Minnesota, was charged with an additional count of financial aid fraud, and was sentenced today to 15 years in prison and 20 years supervised release. Adnan Abdihamid Farah, 20, of Minneapolis, Minnesota, was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 20 years supervised release. Hanad Mustofe Musse, 21, of Minneapolis, Minnesota, was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 20 years supervised release.
The announcement was made by Acting Assistant Attorney General for the National Security Division Mary B. McCord, U.S. Attorney Andrew M. Luger for the District of Minnesota and Special Agent in Charge Richard T. Thornton of the FBI’s Minneapolis Division.
"Today's sentences reflect the seriousness of these defendants’ crimes," said U.S Attorney Luger. "Although all three defendants pleaded guilty before trial, none were willing to cooperate with the United States. ISIL continues to target Minnesota's Somali community. Only by working together will we succeed in ending this threat."
“The sentences handed down today reflect the true gravity of the defendants’ crimes to betray their country, travel overseas, and ultimately join a terrorist organization dedicated to the murder of innocent people,” said Special Agent in Charge Thornton. “We hope these sentences will serve as a strong message that those who support terrorism will face justice. The FBI, through our Joint Terrorism Task Force, remains dedicated to working with our community partners to disrupt threats posed by ISIL and their supporters."
According to his guilty plea in May 2014, Ahmed applied for and later received federal financial aid, which he claimed would be used to attend Minnesota Community and Technical College. Instead, Ahmed used that money to purchase a Greyhound bus ticket from Minneapolis to New York City, New York, and airfare from New York that he thought would enable him to travel to Syria to join ISIL. He was stopped at JFK International Airport in New York by federal agents. Ahmed pleaded guilty on April 25.
According to his guilty plea, A. Farah participated in the conspiracy throughout 2014 and early 2015 in various capacities, including attempting to obtain a real passport to travel to Syria to join ISIL. When that effort failed, A. Farah provided money and a photograph in an attempt to obtain a false passport so that he could travel to Syria to join ISIL. A. Farah also aided Musse in his effort to obtain a false passport. A. Farah pleaded guilty on April 14.
According to his guilty plea, in November 2014, Musse traveled by Greyhound bus from Minneapolis to New York City where he joined three of his co-conspirators at JFK. While at JFK, Musse purchased round-trip airfare to Athens, Greece, with the intention of traveling onward to Syria to join ISIL. He was stopped at JFK by federal agents. Musse pleaded guilty on Sept. 9, 2015.
This case is the result of an investigation conducted by members of the FBI-led Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF). The JTTF includes members from the following departments: the U.S. Marshals Service, Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, Bloomington Police Department in Minnesota, St. Paul Police Department in Minnesota, Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office in Minnesota, Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office in Minnesota, Federal Air Marshals Service, Customs and Border Protection, Department of Defense, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Minneapolis Police Department, Burnsville Police Department in Minnesota, Department of State, the Airport Police, IRS Criminal Investigation Division and the FBI.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Andrew Winter, John Docherty and Julie Allyn of the District of Minnesota, with assistance from the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.

Monday, 14 November 2016


Cant believe it?
Better see the next few pictures ......
Do as Trump!  Cont compromise away your future!
Turn your back on corrupt media!

U.S Presidential election winner Donald J Trump’s reply to Saudi Prince Talal proves “America made the right choice”.

Obama and the Clinton's did nothing about ISIS and no wonder they where financed to do nothing and negotiate forever just like the 9/11 attackers where not given the right to go to court against Saudi Arabia. Most of the 9/11 attackers where from Saudi Arabia. 

Obama did not care about the 9/11 victims families or the shameless killing and torture of US Ambassador Stevens without even the remotest retaliation! That's not all Obama and Bidden as well left US Citizens to rot in Iranian Jails while giving them green light to get nuclear power. 
To accept such actions one has to be less than patriotic  American and bewildered and utterly confused with reality. Or alternatively support a Muslim takeover of the west!

Soon to be President Donald Trump does not let Alwaleed Tatal sit and dictate morale when he sponsors all the terror to the west while ignoring to take any  refugees from Syria him self! 
Not only that but...
The Saudis have a million tents standing empty all the time until paying guests come to visit Mecca…
This Prince doesn’t care one bit about poor Muslim's himself and wishes his own nations radicalism to us with sharia laws!  He´s money has opened hundreds of thousands of radical madrasa´s (Prayer Schools)  which teach rules he himself ignores all the time as he jets around the world with his massive entourage.

Here below: Ezra Levant of The looks at Donald Trump's 
tweets in reply to a Saudi prince who tried to pick a fight with him... 


The donations by Saudi Arabia here:

The Tweets where the Saudi Prince makes fool of him self:

SDR wishes to thank Donald J Trump for speaking out loud what we all have been wishing to hear, for the   last decade ....

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Dr. R. Evan Ellis: The struggle against organized crime in Guatemala

From October 30 to November 5, 2016, I traveled to Guatemala to interview experts in the defense and security sectors about transnational organized crime and the work of the Guatemalan government to confront the challenge.  Narco-trafficking, urban street gangs, and a web of hidden influences continue to cast a shadow over the country. But despite the struggles and public perceptions, Guatemala is making impressive progress against criminality, corruption and dysfunctional institutions.  It’s a good-news story that deserves to be told.  

Because of its geographic proximity to the U.S.—and the access point to the U.S. for narcotics and human trafficking that that affords—Guatemala is a strategically important country to the United States.  Moreover, it has also invested heavily in partnering with the U.S. addressing its security challenges.  The success of Guatemala’s security policies has both important lessons for U.S. policymakers and significant bearing for U.S. engagement in the region more broadly.

References to Guatemala in the U.S. press generally focus on child migrants, the Mara Salvatrucha and Barrio 18 street gangs or the United-Nations sponsored anti-corruption commission CICIG, which helped bring about the arrest of the former president General Otto Pérez Molina.  Yet, since the country’s “low point” in 2008, the government has successfully fought off an invasion by the violent Mexican criminal cartel Los Zetas, dismantled significant parts of four of the five major drug-smuggling organizations in the country (the Mendozas, Lorenzanas, Lopez Ortiz, and Leon family clans), brought murders and major crimes down by more than 50 percent, and done so with a military role in public security that is modest and decreasing.  At the same time, Guatemala has also made significant progress against high-level corruption and strengthened key public institutions and processes.

The statistics are impressive.  From a high-point of 46 murders per 100,000 inhabitants in 2008, Guatemala ended 2015 with a rate of 29.5 per 100,000, and is on track to end 2016 at 23 per 100,000.  Similarly, serious crimes fell to 97 per 100,000 inhabitants in 2015, and may finish 2016 at 90.

With respect to violent street gangs, Guatemala has always been less affected than neighboring El Salvador and Honduras.  The 12,000 gang members in Guatemala are dominated by Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13 or Maras) and the larger Barrio 18 (B-18).  In contrast to neighboring El Salvador, in Guatemala the two gangs are mostly limited to marginal neighborhoods on the outskirts of the capital, such as Villanueva and Mixto.  

The Guatemalan national police (PNC) and “citizen security squadrons” associated with the armed forces have helped to keep the Maras at bay, yet the national presence of the gangs has arguably been limited even more by the nation’s 100,000-plus private security whose presence in the businesses and neighborhoods of those with the resources to pay for them has effectively blocked the gangs from descending into the more prosperous neighborhoods in the center of Guatemala City.  In the rest of the country, narco-traffickers and citizen vigilantes, in the tradition of the nation’s 36-year civil war, effectively maintain their territory free of gang infestations by killing any criminal interlopers who dare to establish a presence and extort local communities.  

Guatemala is a key transit country for narcotic trafficking, human trafficking and contraband.  Approximately 80 percent of drugs traveling from South America for the U.S. pass through Guatemala or its territorial waters.
As in Mexico and other parts of Latin America, the elimination of high-profile narco-traffickers in recent years has fragmented the drug smuggling business in Guatemala.  By one estimate, there are 54 distinct groups in the country, most focused on transporting drugs through the national territory under contract to, or to sell to, Mexican cartels such as Sinaloa.

With respect to the main trafficking groups, although the two leading Mendoza brothers have been eliminated, three continue, working with Mexico’s Gulf cartel among others, to move cocaine along routes principally in the east of Guatemala.  Similarly, of the four Lorenzana brothers, one continues to be active, transporting drugs along western routes.  While the once-feared Mexican group Los Zetas have largely been eliminated from Guatemalan territory, the Mexican cartel Jalisco Nuevo Generación reportedly has a modest presence in areas such as Coban, seeking to build ties with the remnants of the organization of narco-trafficker Horst Walther Overdick, previously the Zetas principal local partner in Guatemala.

An important byproduct of government actions against the leadership of the Mendozas, Lorenzanas, Lopez Ortiz, and Leon organizations in recent years has also been to elevate the importance of a longstanding, well-entrenched, but low-profile group centered in Huehuetenango, the “huistas.” The group has now become one of the most important narco-trafficking groups in the country, buying cocaine at the Honduran and El Salvadoran border, and selling it to the Mexican Sinaloa cartel at the Mexican border.

While Guatemala has been used to temporarily warehouse north-bound drugs, it has generally been free of laboratories for transforming intermediate products into cocaine.  However, heroine poppies are grown in the poor, mountainous department of San Marcos, financed by local, largely indigenous families, and transformed domestically into an intermediate product that is transported to the border and sold to Mexican narco-traffickers.

Prior to 2012, the Department of San Marcos, and to a lesser degree, El Progreso, were the site of methamphetamine labs, but such activities have been curtailed thanks to stricter regulation of precursor chemicals, in combination with coordination by the Guatemalan government through the United Nations with the Chinese government (the principal source of precursor chemicals) regarding commercial shipments of relevant chemicals bound for Guatemala.

Building the state
In addition to drugs, Guatemala is also a transit country for migrants, including not only those from Latin America, but also from the PRC and other locations.  During the past year, some 1,500 migrants from Africa have arrived at Guatemala’s borders, up from less than 20 the year prior.  Unfortunately, because the government lacks agreements with many of these countries regarding the treatment of undocumented immigrants, as well as resources to deport them, after recording information about them, Guatemalan authorities free them to continue their journey through Mexico.  The capability of the Guatemalan government to address challenges such as street gangs and narco-traffickers, in conjunction with partners such as the U.S., has advanced considerably in recent years under both the previous government of Pérez Molina and the current government of Jimmy Morales.  Even combined, though, the effectiveness of the two countries efforts has still been hampered by serious shortcomings in resources and institutions.

Since 2008, working in conjunction with U.S. institutions such as the Defense Institution Reform Initiative (DIRI), Guatemala has developed a sophisticated national security planning system, with relevant documents and processes coordinated through the Technical Secretariat of Guatemala’s National Security Council that meets with the President at least once a month.

The Guatemalan national police (PNC) has also taken significant steps forward, expanding in size to 35,000 members with plans to grow by a further 6,000. The increase in force is, in part, to cover the planned elimination of the paramilitary “citizen security squadrons,” organized by the armed forces, currently supporting the PNC throughout the country.  The PNC has also expanded screening of recruits and confidence testing mechanisms such as polygraphs amongst members.  To improve the professionalization of the police, it has also established clearer standards for internal promotion. This has included increased educational requirements and establishing a year-long undergraduate police sciences program and associated masters degrees.  

Beyond such reforms, under Pérez Molina, numerous functional task forces were set up within the police and the interior ministry (under which the police are located) to increase coordination between government agencies in addressing pressing needs, including the fight against narco-trafficking, extortion, homicide, and the robbery of vehicles and cellphones, among other areas.  While these “thematic” task forces have now been eliminated, some have been transformed into new organizations, such as the police anti-gang directorate, DIPANDA.
A key element in the fight against organized criminal groups is attacking their finances and financial activities.  To this end, Guatemala has created one of the most respected financial intelligence units in Central America, the Intendencia de Verificacion Especial (IVE), located within the nation’s banking oversight organization, yet coordinated with the Attorney General’s office in order to develop cases.  The organization also shares data and best practices with financial intelligence organizations in other countries through the Edgemont Group—which includes non-Central American governments—the international association of financial oversight organizations of which the IVE has been a member for more than a decade.

The Guatemalan armed forces also support the fight against organized crime, yet in a more limited fashion than many other countries in the region.  Although the armed forces served as a pillar of Guatemalan society before and during the 1960-1996 civil war, that role has been progressively reduced in recent years, with the 1996 peace accords limiting their budget to a mere .33 percent of GDP, and with former president Oscar Berger cutting their post-conflict strength to a mere 15,000 in 2004 and eliminating the bases in each department (state) in the nation—an infrastructure that once allowed them to project a presence throughout the country.

Since 2006, the military has supplemented the police in maintaining public order through paramilitary “citizen security squadrons.”  There are currently a total of 9 such squadrons of 500 people, commanded by active-duty military officers down to the company level, but manned by military reservists, brought in under contract.  Today, these units are used to augment the police through joint units in difficult urban areas, with four deployed in the greater Guatemala City area in joint task forces such as “Maya,” “Milagro,” and formerly “Kaminal,” and remaining five in other parts of the country.  

Despite a relatively successful track record, as noted previously, because of a commitment to remove the military from public security functions, the current administration is working to replace these units with regular police, pulling 1500 reservists out of 21 urban neighborhoods during the past year alone, and seeking to phase out the organization entirely, possibly before the end of 2017.
Beyond the squadrons, the military is also supporting anti-crime efforts through the contribution of forces to territorially-oriented, multi-agency task forces under the command of the police, including Tecun-Uman on the border with Mexico in the departments of San Marcos and Huehuetenango, and Chorti on the border with Honduras.  A third task force on the border with El Salvador, Xinca, is to be established in 2017, and a fourth, Belam, is being considered for the department of Peten’s western border with Mexico.  The task forces are also being supported by the United States, including the provision of vehicles such as armored prototype Jeep CJ-8s and other forms of support.

While these task forces have participated in a number of important counter-drug operations, they are widely perceived in the country as ineffective, in part because they often operate in support of other units, or based on intelligence from other entities such as the 5th (counternarcotics) directorate of the interior ministry.  In addition, in part to insulate the task forces from corrupt local police units, the task forces do not enjoy the benefits of contributions from the rest of the national police infrastructure.

On the ground, the Guatemalan army has also created a number of new brigades to better cover the national territory, including a “jungle brigade” deployed in the west of Petén, and a “high mountain” brigade headquartered in the department of San Marcos.  Nonetheless, funding for the military in recent years has been so limited that such new brigades lack the special equipment that would allow them to provide effective coverage of the jungle and mountainous territory for which they are responsible.

In covering narcotics and other illicit flows in the nation’s territorial waters and rivers, a key tool is Guatemala’s Naval Infantry Brigade.  Because the majority of maritime drug transits occur on the Pacific Ocean, rather than the Atlantic, the Navy’s intercept assets, including nine ocean-going Boston Whaler watercraft donated by the United States, are focused there.  In addition, the Guatemalan navy also has refitted “go-fast” boats confiscated from drug traffickers (known locally as “colombinas”), as well as U.S.-donated “metal shark” speedboats, used principally to cover inland waterways, such as those in the Petén.

As narco-traffickers have increasingly used Guatemala’s Pacific coast as a transit route, the challenge of using the country’s limited number of small watercraft and only one naval base on the Pacific coast, at Quetzal, to cover its extensive territorial waters has led to a creative new initiative: a “mothership” watercraft.  That strategy involves employing a larger ship specially outfitted to refuel and resupply the smaller boats to extend their time on station.  The first of two such ships, a $1.9 million gift from the U.S., will be delivered during the coming year, refueling and resupplying the smaller Guatemalan Navy craft, and thus allowing them to remain longer on their missions and away from land. 

Guatemala is also advancing in controlling its airspace, but it still faces significant challenges.  The small Guatemalan Air Force presently consists of helicopters and aircraft seized from criminals, including a Beechcraft 206 outfitted (with U.S. help) with forward-looking infrared radar, and a second B-206 currently being acquired from narco-traffickers under the 2010 confiscation law (58-2010).

Beyond these assets, which are generally considered too slow to actually intercept suspected narco-trafficker aircraft, the remainder of Guatemala’s aging aircraft are grounded due to maintenance issues which are cost-prohibitive to fix.  Under former president Pérez Molina, the government terminated a plan to acquire Super Tucano interceptor aircraft from Brazil. The country has acquired three radars and receives radar feeds from the U.S. inter-agency task force JIATF-South.  However, it currently lacks, but is working toward, the ability to integrate these radars into a common air picture for command and control purposes.
Guatemala is also completing an agreement with the Canadian government to establish a joint operations center, which will further contribute to its command and control capabilities.

Finally, the government is employing a number of elite forces to go after the leadership of transnational criminal organizations and other high value targets in the country.  These include the inter-agency task force against terrorism (FIAT), the GEIR (Groupo Especial de Intervención y Rescate), and naval special forces (FEN).  The FIAT is built around police special forces (the “halcones”) transported by the Guatemalan Air Force, and incorporating prosecutors and other government players on an “as needed” basis.  By contrast, the GEIR and the FEN use military special forces, the “Kabiles,” with GEIR involved mostly on land operations and the FEN focused on interdictions at sea.

While the small amount of news about Guatemala in the mainstream U.S. media concentrates on the CICIG and its fight against public corruption, the nation’s progress in the struggle against transnational organized crime continues to be a good-news story that deserves greater attention.  That success reflects thoughtful initiatives of both the current and previous Guatemalan governments.  Although not prominent in the news, there are arguably few countries in the region that demonstrate the level of commitment to working with the U.S. that Guatemala does.

Driven by substantial flows of narcotics and people through the country, and the corrosive effect on Guatemala’s institutions of the resources involved, that threat continues to evolve.  It is important for the U.S., as well as Guatemala to live up to the faith that each has put in the other as partners; much work remains to be done.

The author thanks those who contributed their time and insights for this piece, including General Juan Pérez Ramírez and the Guatemalan Defense Staff, the office of the Technical Secretary of the Guatemalan National Security Council, and the Guatemalan Planning and Consolatory Commission, the U.S. Security Cooperation Office in Guatemala, among others.  However, the views expressed in this work, and any errors, are strictly his own.

This article was first published by:
And re published on SDR with the permission of  Dr. R. Evan Ellis