To get the cartel-related, ATF-enabled violence “under control,” the Mexican government is helping the Sinaloa Cartel wipe out its rivals. Call it The Lord of the Drugs strategy: one cartel to rule them all. And feed the fruits of their ill-gotten gains to the hungry mouths who work for the media, military, law enforcement, judicial branch and political system. And if you think the American government doesn’t know about, approve and support this strategy (with firearms sales to the Mexican military and police), I have a former president’s wife I’d like to nominate for Commander-in-Chief. Here’s the 411 from STRATFOR: “The Mexican government’s current priority is getting the violence under control, not eliminating the cartels. It is a pragmatic approach . . .
While some of the cartels may be breaking up or in the process of being absorbed, it is not possible at this point to eliminate them all — or to stop the trafficking of narcotics. Systemic corruption at all levels of government, well-entrenched for many years, turns a blind eye to cartel activities at best and enables them at worst. Apparently, the Mexican government has decided that the best course of action in this environment is to wage a war of attrition, taking out the low-hanging fruit and letting Sinaloa do the rest.
Extreme levels of violence are not in the best interests of cartels, whose primary goal is to make money. When violence goes up, revenue goes down. As the largest and most widespread Mexican cartel — incapable of being eliminated in the current environment — the Sinaloa Federation likely will continue to be relatively impervious to government efforts. It also is the organization most likely to assume the dominant position in the cartel landscape, which would enable it ultimately to impose a forced reduction in the cartel violence. Sinaloa could use its dominance to keep weaker groups in line, which would suit the government’s purposes.
As Sinaloa has steadily gained influence and territory over the past several years, its competition has been fragmenting. The destabilization that began in 2006 with Mexican President Felipe Calderon’s anti-cartel campaign thoroughly upset the cartel equilibrium and created power vacuums. With the possible exception of Los Zetas, the fragmentation and power vacuums have weakened or destroyed cartels while Sinaloa has either been unaffected or strengthened as the primary beneficiary. Even those elements within the Sinaloa Federation that were neutralized — the Beltran Leyva brothers and Ignacio “El Nacho” Coronel Villarreal — were elements that posed a potential challenge to the leadership of Sinaloa head Guzman.
In the case of the Beltran Leyva Organization (BLO), once a part of the Sinaloa Federation, the remaining Beltran Leyva brother Hector (see section on Cartel Pacifico Sur below) believes that Guzman betrayed his brothers and used the government to remove a potential challenger — the BLO. This was borne out by events in the first quarter of 2011, when Sinaloa expanded into the territories of cartels that were fragmented or floundering such as its New Federation allies La Familia Michoacana (LFM) and the Independent Cartel of Acapulco (CIDA). “Divide and conquer” works, even when a third party causes the fragmentation, and Guzman knows this well.