Iran assassination plot: Terrorists join forces with Mexican drug cartels?
It's doubtful, experts say, despite reports that Iranian plotters tried to hire members of a Mexican drug cartel to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the US in Washington.
(Page 2 of 2)
Those who study the dynamics of drug trafficking in Mexico say that participating in any terrorist action is highly out of character for Mexican criminals, whose interests are not in terrorizing the US but increasing their profits in any way possible – even if that means that they terrorize fellow Mexicans to do so.Skip to next paragraph
In Pictures Mexico's drug war
In surprise landslide, Jamaican opposition wins back power
Parading back to Rio de Janeiro: the bookish and brainy
After dramatic 2011 in Cuba, will US-Cuban policy shift in 2012?
Boom goes the churro: Chilean court upholds damages for exploding sweets
Why did Hugo Chavez spam Venezuelans on Christmas?
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
The threat of a terrorist crossing the US- Mexican border has been debated since 9/11. “Mexico is already a first tier country for the US from a national security standpoint,” says Armand Peschard-Sverdrup, senior associate and Mexico expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “If anything [this news] is only going to reinforce how important Mexico is for the US."
In the context of the spiraling violence in Mexico, that relationship between both nations has grown stronger. But Mexican President Felipe Calderón has to balance national sentiment that the US not intervene in domestic affairs with Mexico’s real need for cooperation, and aid, from the US.
US debates how to handle Mexico violence
As the US has debated whether to label the violence in Mexico, which has taken over 40,000 lives, an insurgency or terrorism, Mexico has balked. Many see it as a justification to build a stronger, longer, and higher border fence or meddle in its affairs at home.
This news could raise the decibel on that debate. But Mr. Schtulmann says that drug traffickers are not colluding with terrorists. This case is that of a group hiring a hitman, and the Zetas are the perfect hitmen: they are former elite special forces and they have gained international notoriety for their willingness to carry out the most vicious attacks.
“They are mercenaries,” he says. “You can hire mercenaries here in Mexico or Brazil. I think the link with drug trafficking is overstated.”
And in fact, although little information is known about the informant – whether he was a drug trafficker who turned into an informant or an agent posing as a drug trafficker – Mr. Peschard-Sverdrup says it could underline how unwilling drug traffickers are to become involved in cases of terrorism because, in the end, the informant blew the whistle.
“It goes to the point that ultimately they are not willing to do anything that could disrupt their overarching business interest,” he says.