Posts From Zachary Schroeder

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North America Security

Violence in Paradise: Mexico’s Cartel Wars Reach Tourist Playgrounds in Quintana Roo

Mexico’s vacation paradise of Cancun and the surrounding areas have recently found themselves in the news for the wrong reasons: a spike in cartel violence has victimized tourists and provoked a Mexican military deployment. The causes of this violence stem from multiple factors, the most complex of which is the weakening of Mexico’s entrenched organized crime syndicates and the near-meteoric rise of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel. Regrettably, the addition of military force to the region is unlikely to solve the root causes of the violence and may actually make the situation more dangerous.

North America Security

Opinion: Jihadists and the Far-Right: Allies in Extremism?

After the Taliban recaptured Afghanistan in August 2021, it found itself praised by an unlikely group: far-right extremists. While on paper these two movements seem diametrically opposed, there is actually a great deal of overlap between jihadism and the far-right. Multiple cases have already demonstrated the fluidity of extremist beliefs, and it is highly likely that “fringe fluidity” will continue to drive adherents from one extremist group to the other.

Latin America Power Brokers

Colombia’s Gulf Clan: The Capture of a Kingpin and the Future of Colombia’s Cartels

In late October 2021, the Colombian military captured Dairo Antonio “Otoniel” Usuga, the head of the Gulf Clan and one of Colombia’s most wanted drug kingpins. Although Colombian president Duque compared Otoniel’s capture to Pablo Escobar’s killing, the two men were dissimilar in most ways. Furthermore, Otoniel’s downfall is unlikely to have a positive effect on Colombia’s drug war, and may actually cause the violence to increase.

Security South and Central Asia

Taliban-Controlled Afghanistan: The World’s Next Narco-State?

Shortly after capturing Kabul, the Taliban announced that it would crack down on opium production in Afghanistan, threatening a blow to one of the country’s most profitable industries. While the group was somewhat successful at drug interdiction during its previous stint in power two decades ago, a number of factors, including the need for popular support, international pariah-hood, and ongoing economic collapse, render it unlikely that the Taliban will truly follow through on its promise.