Old Enemy, New Strategy

first_img The Apurimac and Ene Rivers Valley, known by its Spanish acronym VRAE, is a remote region in the center of Peru characterized by rugged mountainous terrain and densely forested jungles. Home to nearly a third of the country’s coca crops, the VRAE region is also the focal point for a counterinsurgency war being fought by the Peruvian Armed Forces against the Shining Path. Once a politically motivated terrorist organization, the Shining Path has resurfaced as a narcoterrorist group splintered into two relatively independent factions. One group is in the Upper Huallaga Valley, and the other, larger group, is in the VRAE. Formed in the 1970s by philosophy professor Abimael Guzmán, the Shining Path was a Maoist guerrilla group bent on overthrowing the Peruvian government. For more than two decades, the terrorist group waged a bloody war against the government, carrying out bombings and assassinations that killed more than 30,000 Peruvians, according to official accounts. Whether it was in the countryside of central and southern Peru where the rebels were strongest, or in the capital of Lima itself, the Shining Path assassinated citizens, including government officials, business owners and even peasants, without impunity. With the insurgency in the Huallaga Valley reduced by security forces to a few remnants, the military is concentrating on the VRAE region by deploying close to 5,000 military personnel. In 2008, the Armed Forces established the VRAE Special Command, made up of members of the Peruvian Army, Marine Corps and Air Force. This new command gave the Armed Forces a heavy presence in the region in addition to increased resources and logistics. Since that time, Peruvian forces have had success in capturing numerous terrorist members, recovering ungoverned areas that were under Shining Path influence, destroying several cocaine labs, and rescuing women and children who were being used as foot soldiers. These results have not come without losses, however, with about 60 police and Military officers killed in the past three years, including five Soldiers who died in an ambush on the eve of President Ollanta Humala’s election and two more who were killed just days before his inauguration in July 2011. In decline The terrorist group began its decline in 1992, when Guzmán and other political leaders were captured and imprisoned by security forces. By 2002, analysts estimated that the group had no more than 200 members, down from an estimated 5,000 at the height of its insurgency. With no ideological leadership, the group became more militant and turned to drug trafficking, resembling the Colombian guerrilla organization, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime 2010 report, Peru has surpassed neighboring Colombia in becoming the world’s top producer of coca leaves, the raw material for cocaine production. The Peruvian government believes that the Shining Path receives about $15 million annually from drug profits to stay armed and maintain its clandestine network. “They lost their way, and now they’re simply an organization which survives [on drug trafficking], fighting with the police and the military, but with no chance of winning or gaining any sort of political control,” said General Carlos Morán, the former head of the counterdrugs directorate of the Peruvian National Police. Eliminating the enemy Sir, did you know that the first image is from a Colombian command, not a Peruvian command! A new strategy Recognizing the need for a new counterinsurgency strategy, the Peruvian Military has introduced two more battalions to reinforce the two already in place, with one battalion designed to focus specifically on counterintelligence. “We’re paying much more attention to the problem of drug trafficking. We’re conducting operations against drug trafficking in integrated operations with the police where this had not normally been done in the past,” said Lieutenant General Leonel Cabrera Pino, former VRAE commander and current commander of the Central Region, including Lima. “We can win again. We won the war against Shining Path in the 1980s and 1990s, and we’re going to win it again.” Upon his inauguration, President Humala, a former Army lieutenant colonel who was deployed in the Upper Huallaga Valley, instructed Minister of Defense Daniel Mora Zevallos to provide the VRAE Command with all the necessary resources to defeat the Shining Path once and for all. Some of those resources are already being implemented with the Army’s use of unmanned aerial vehicles, which transmit the locations of Shining Path members in real time to the nearest patrol unit. “I believe that we have to press a bit harder in the fight, because if we give them breathing room, they’ll start to expand again,” added Lt. Gen. Cabrera Pino. Fostering security solutions Oscar Picón Alcalde/Center For Hemispheric Defense Studies Alumni Association Peruvian security forces battle crime, terrorism and drug trafficking in the most challenging of environments, such as the Apurímac and Ene Rivers Valley. To explore these intense regional issues in a multinational form, the Peruvian Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies Alumni Association hosted the Second Hemispheric Security and Defense Conference in Lima on November 7-8, 2011. American, British, Colombian, Israeli, Mexican and Peruvian experts discussed narcotrafficking trends, anti-terrorism strategies, organized crime issues and security-related technology, among other topics. Participants included members of the Peruvian Armed Forces, Peruvian National Police, government ministries, military schools and others linked to the defense sector. The conference helped generate alternative solutions to security and defense issues. More than 250 military and civilian participants showed that an open forum, where topics are presented and debated, worked well for the group, and the format will be proposed to become standard. By Dialogo January 01, 2012last_img read more

BiH Mountaineers Reached Summit of Kartaltepe on Mount Uludag

first_imgMembers of the Mountain-Ski Association (PSD) Lisin from Sarajevo organized this year a mountain excursion in Turkey, where they reached the top of the summit of Kartaltepe on Mount Uludag.Members of PSD Lisin, together with members of PD Igman, PD Konjuh and the Association of Friends of Nature were in Turkey from 20-30 June 2013.25 mountaineers began the ascent to the top of the mountain. The journey lasted for about a few hours and all mountaineers successfully reached the top.After reaching the top and a bit of rest in Bursa, a tourist excursion was organized through Turkey. They visited Istanbul, Izmir, Pamukkale, Efes and Kušadasi.(Source: klix.ba)last_img read more