Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto has pushed the drug wars in northern Mexico to the top of his priority list and the U.S. military is stepping in to help.
In recent documents and interviews obtained by the Associated Press, the Pentagon has authorized a U.S. military special unit to train Mexican security forces in much the same way the U.S. trained special operations teams to target Osama-bin-Laden and al-Qaida.
The move would help Mexico’s military better handle the powerful drug cartels that have plagued the country and taken the lives of nearly 70,000 people between 2006 and 2012, Mexican officials say.
Already in place at the U.S. Northern Command in Colorado, Mexican military and intelligence teams will be trained by Special Operations Command-North – whom will focus on showing them the same counterterrorist operations troops used against Osama-bin-Laden and his followers.
And much in the likeness of centers set up in war zones, the program has also already set up an intelligence center in Mexico City to help target criminal networks there, two U.S. officials said.
The new headquaters will also serve to help carry out other special operations, like the rescuing of survivors after natural disasters, as well as a partnership with the U.S. Coast Guard in helping to identify and detain ships carrying suspect cargo just outside U.S. waters.
An outgrowth of the Merida Initiative, these special operations missions were signed into effect in 2008; allowing the U.S. to provision Mexico with extensive military assistance.
However, expertise sharing does not mean that the U.S. military will be entering Mexico any time soon. Mexico forbids U.S. military and law enforcement personnel from carrying guns inside their borders, two current and one former U.S. military official told Fox News on condition of anonymity.
The article further states that the creation of the new command also marks the expansion of Adm. Bill McRaven’s special operations empire, with him seeking new missions outside a decade in war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan.
By Being Latino Contributor, Vanessa Alvarez