Saturday, July 18, 2015

El Chapo and Violence

Brian Phillips has an interesting article at The Monkey Cage about the effects of leadership removal on violence, using the case of El Chapo as an illustrative case. "Removing" (e.g. killing or imprisoning) the leader of a terrorist organization can be effective in reducing violence because of the psychological/leadership impact, but a criminal organization can become even more violent as would-be leaders fight to take control. As he points out, that latter point is the source of much of Mexico's violence.

As he alludes to, imprisonment works differently for criminal organizations than for terrorists, so the type of "removal" also matters. For me, the takeaway with El Chapo is that strictly with regard to violence, it makes no different at all whether he is in jail or on the lam. Either way, he is firmly in charge and there is minimal jockeying for power (or at least no more than normal). But if he gets killed, the Mexican authorities will have a brief time where they can claim victory and then things will get a lot worse.


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