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Friday, August 31, 2007

Terrorism Comes To Mexico

Mexico might want to rethink their attitudes towards international terrorism. There has been an underlying animosity directed towards the United States from Mexico ever since The Republic of Texas was born and quite possibly long before that.

The Mexican government even harbored known enemies of the United States during WWII...Nazi operatives.

The Mexican government is not an active "ally" in the GWOT. In the GWOT, they feel that it is best to stay out of that fracas. It is time to break out the Thinking Caps and review that particular philosophy. Isolationism doesn't work.

August 30, 2007 was Mexico's 91101. I guess we could call it 83007.

Nearly 11,000 people were evacuated Thursday from Torre Mayor, Mexico City's tallest, ritziest tower, after a terrorist called in a car bomb. The device, which Mexican investigators called "artesanal," was easily dismantled. But the unprecedented evacuation echoed the disruptions Manhattan has seen as an al-Qaida target since 1993.

An obscure group called EPR claimed credit the next day, but it doesn't seem to be linked with global terrorist networks.There's reason to worry, however, that it will be.

EPR's strategy resembles al-Qaida's in that the target wasn't some quaint adobe, but rather Mexico's starkest symbol of global capitalism, its equivalent of New York's World Trade Center.

Completed in 2003 at a cost of $280 million, Torre Mayor is a glittering glass skyscraper in the financial center with 34 multinational tenants including Apple Computer, Marsh & McLennan and First Data Corp. At 55 stories, it's the tallest building in Latin America.

It's also a Mexico City icon — a visible symbol of progress and development made possible by an invisible infrastructure of democracy and economic freedom. This, obviously, is what EPR's leftist fanatics really object to.

They issued a statement saying they intend to undermine the pro-free market government of President Felipe Calderon, calling him "a fawning fascist who insists on destroying" Mexico.

In that regard, Mexico needs to realize that its decision to move toward a developed economy — creating a middle class, raising living standards, privatizing state industries and trading with any nation that asks — makes it vulnerable in ways it wouldn't be if it had remained a socialist backwater.

In turn, Mexico must grow more proactive in the global war on terror and become more engaged as an ally of the U.S.

EPR may be just a pathetic little dish of malevolence. But its goals are not so small. Over the past year, it has caused significant economic damage by blowing up banks and natural gas pipelines. And now, Mexican officials fear the group may be aligned with Cuban agents, or in league with drug cartels, as happened in Colombia.

The fact that Mexican drug traffickers and smugglers can align with anyone is a dangerous glue that can affix EPR to far worse players — such as al-Qaida. And already there are signs this may happen.

On Aug. 14, the same day the car was stolen for the attempted bomb attack, two Iraqi men were arrested in northern Mexico with false passports heading for the U.S.

These arrests show that Middle East immigrant groups have already set up a rat-line into the U.S. with the Sinaloa Cartel, which controls alien smuggling routes around Arizona.

U.S. intelligence says the number of Iraqis caught trying to sneak across the U.S. has tripled this year. In 2007, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection intercepted 178 Iraqi asylum-seekers vs. 60 in 2006. For every one that's caught, 10 others get away.

"We have intelligence about al-Qaida identifying Latin America as a potential or prospective area where they could come through," U.S. Rep. Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas, told the El Paso Times.

Al-Qaida, meanwhile, has made threats of its own to Mexico. In February, Sawt al-Jihad, the terrorist faction of al-Qaida in Saudi Arabia, called for attacks on America's western hemisphere energy suppliers — Canada, Venezuela and Mexico. Osama bin Laden sees the crippling of the U.S. economy as critical to the defeat of the West, calling his strategy "bleed until bankruptcy."

Any of these groups can align to wreak havoc on Mexico's economy and try to turn it into a failed state, just as terrorists and their allies made parts of Pakistan, Somalia and Afghanistan into failed states.

The terrorists are striking because Mexico has made progress. A resolute Mexico can defeat them, but it must be willing to do so. Like the first attack on New York City's World Trade Center, the attack on Mexico City's Torre Mayor was a wake-up call.

I wonder if they can hear the voices...