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

Real Madrid hang on for win after Benzema brilliance

first_imgMadrid, Spain | AFP | Karim Benzema scored twice on Saturday in an outstanding performance for Real Madrid against Levante, although his side were left hanging on for a 3-2 win on the day Eden Hazard made his La Liga debut.The French striker’s goals came just six minutes apart in the first half on a wet afternoon at the Santiago Bernabeu, before Casemiro put Real 3-0 up.However Levante, who had won their previous two outings, made a fight of it in the second half as they pulled goals back through Borja Mayoral and Gonzalo Melero.While the manner of their victory was not as convincing as coach Zinedine Zidane might have wished, it was a welcome return to winning ways for Real after they had drawn their previous two games.Hazard also came off the bench for the final half-hour to make his first appearance in La Liga after a thigh injury had interrupted the start of his Real career following his 100 million-euro ($110 million) move from Chelsea.The Belgian could now start for Real when they go to Paris Saint-Germain for their opening Champions League game on Wednesday.Gareth Bale will also be available for that match after suspension kept him out here, but Sergio Ramos will be unable to play against PSG because of a European ban.Zidane was also without the injured Luka Modric here. However, as well as Hazard, fellow summer signing Eder Militao came off the bench in the second half and the former Porto defender could start in Paris in place of Ramos.– Barcelona host Valencia – Real would have won by a greater margin here had it not been for some inspired goalkeeping from Aitor Fernandez, who produced a stunning one-handed stop to keep out a Benzema shot from the edge of the area midway through the first half.However, the hosts went ahead shortly after that when Dani Carvajal held up a cross from the right for Benzema to bullet home a header from the edge of the six-yard area.The Frenchman struck again in the 31st minute, with James Rodriguez pouncing when Sergio Postigo headed the ball down into his path, and teeing up Benzema to score his fourth of the campaign.Benzema was also involved in the build-up to the third goal five minutes before the interval, which concluded with Vinicius Junior squaring for Casemiro to apply the finish.Levante pulled one back in the 49th minute as Carlos Clerc crossed from the left to the near post where Mayoral — on loan from Real — converted.Benzema then curled a shot against the post, while Vinicius had a goal disallowed for offside and Hazard tested Fernandez, but it was Levante who scored again.This time substitute Melero proved too strong for Carvajal at the far post as he headed in a marvellous cross by Jose Campana, yet Madrid held out.Leaders Atletico Madrid will seek their fourth win in as many La Liga games when they play later at Real Sociedad in the first game at the Basque club’s newly refurbished stadium.Barcelona are also in action at home to Valencia, who this week sacked coach Marcelino Garcia Toral, replacing him with the former Real Madrid assistant coach Albert Celades.Share on: WhatsApplast_img read more

Gateway High school basketball coach resigns amid charges

first_imgTRAFFORD, Pa. (AP) – A prominent Western Pennsylvania high school basketball coach has resigned after police charged him with making threats and harassing a neighbor.The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (http://bit.ly/1zo2FT6 ) reports that Gateway coach Mitch Adams resigned Sunday. Adams led the team to championships in 2011 and 2012, and had been a basketball coach at the school for nine years.The 56-year-old Adams told the newspaper he’s innocent, but he didn’t want the issue to become a distraction for the school and the team.Adams was charged by Trafford police on Aug. 11 over an incident that occurred near his home on July 13. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Sept. 23.Gateway athletic director Randy Rovesti says the school thanks Adams for his years of service, and wishes him well.last_img read more

Hard pitches and hard bods: Virat Kohli and Jasprit Bumrah flaunt off their six…

first_imgImage Courtesy: Times Now NewsAdvertisement cqa5NBA Finals | Brooklyn Vs4hWingsuit rodeo📽Sindre E9grq( IG: @_aubreyfisher @imraino ) ixpkjWould you ever consider trying this?😱9q0gd0Can your students do this? 🌚2jhRoller skating! Powered by Firework The Indian team are currently in the Caribbean preparing for their maiden outing in the World Test Championship. The first test is set to commence from the 22nd of August.Advertisement Image Courtesy: Times Now NewsWith the team set to experience their first feel of red-ball cricket in over 6 months, the squad opted for an outing on the shores of the Caribbean after training extensively for the past week.The highlight of the trip was the striking bodies of Jasprit Bumrah and Virat Kohli, who stood out from the rest of the pack. The Indian skipper has often addressed the importance of a fitness regime and the benefits of staying fit.Advertisement Jasprit Bumrah seems to have followed suit as the change in his body has evolved over the course of 3 years since his debut. Being a fast bowler, Bumrah’s impressive physique only adds to the benefit of the Indian team who are on the lookout for a complete sweep in the Windies after already claiming the ODI and the T20 series.Read Also:New Zealand Women’s Cricket team captain announces pregnancy with her teammateSteve Smith ruled out of third Ashes Test Advertisementlast_img read more