Following the escape of Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman and the recent developments in Nigeria, Derrick T. Dortch (head of career services at IWP) hosted two notable guests on his radio show Fed Access (Fridays at 12pm, Federal News Radio 1500 AM) to discuss corruption in Mexico and Boko Haram.
Scott Stewart, Vice President of Tactical Analysis at Stratfor, joined Mr. Dortch to discuss his thoughts on the escape of Guzman, how it happened, and its implications. Mr. Stewart explained that for the past several years, the cartels in Mexico have broken down into smaller organized crime groups, including the Sinaloa. The Sinaloa, Guzman’s cartel, was already breaking down itself prior to his arrest. Since Guzman was able to plan his escape from his cell, he was still able to run his organization from his cell. This means that the groups were breaking down even while he was in charge of them. Therefore, Mr. Stewart believes that Guzman’s escape will not affect the continuing breakdown of these crime groups.
Mr. Dortch facilitated the conversation by posing the question of whether or not the United States is underestimating the cartels in Mexico. Mr. Stewart explained that these cartels have a lot of resources and finances that allow them to rival many intelligence agencies. The cartels are able to target the individuals they need to target and recruit them. They are able to bring in sophisticated individuals who are experts in computers and security and who can be former military and intelligence officers who allow the cartels to develop professional teams. Mr. Stewart believes that the United States needs to think of the cartels as a hostile intelligence agency instead of as common criminals so that the problems may be addressed as counterintelligence issues rather than just a corruption problem.
Mr. Stewart also discussed with Mr. Dortch Mexico’s ability to adapt to meet America’s demand for illicit drugs, the tension points in U.S.-Mexican relations, and the progression of mitigating violence and improving the economy in Mexico.
For the second topic of discussion on this show, Mr. Dortch spoke with Mark Schroeder, Vice President of International Operations at Stratfor, about the developing story of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the African countries voicing opposition, and Boko Haram.
Recently, a number of African countries have been moving away from the ICC. Currently, many African countries are questioning the role of ICC and of its signatories. Mr. Schroeder explained that these countries claim that the ICC is focusing all of their efforts on select issues in Africa and should be focusing on other issues internationally.
Mr. Dortch asked Mr. Schroeder what the resisting cooperation and participation means for the ICC. Mr. Schroeder responded that the voices of African leaders opposing the ICC are much louder than those in favor of it. If the momentum of resistance continues, then real atrocities will be swept under the carpet. The political support and law enforcement mechanisms to stop mass atrocities from happening will be missing. Though there are 122 signatories, if an entire continent no longer participates, other countries may begin to follow Africa’s example.
Mr. Dortch concluded his program with a conversation on Boko Haram. Nigeria has a lot of ties with the international community, and, with a new administration in place, has tried to fight back the threats Boko Haram poses to their communities and their relations. While Nigeria has been successful in taking back territory formerly held by Boko Haram, the terrorist organization has moved to insurgency tactics. With suicide bombers increasingly being employed, Boko Haram is trying to demonstrate to the new administration that it is still a threat, able to bring terror to the population.
The conversation concluded with Mr. Schroeder comparing Boko Haram with the Islamic State (ISIS) and how the two, though pledged to the same alliance, differ. They also briefly compared other conflict zones in Africa (Mali and Somalia) and how the two have seen improvements since the mobilization of smart and efficient aid.