Monday, May 15, 2017
Mexico and its Rank as the World's Second-deadliest Conflict
By Allan Wall
The evaluations of Mexican murder statistics of 2016 continue, and the
Readers may note that several reports and evaluations
of Mexican violence in 2016 have now been released, in calendar year 2017. As examples:
1. According to statistics of the Mexican government itself, murders in Mexico increased in 2016. See Mexico's Murder Rate Rose in 2016.
consulting firm Verisk Maplecroft compiled a Crime Rate Index for calendar year 2016,
and ranked Mexico as the third most dangerous country in the world. (See
UK-Based Firm ranks Mexico as World's Third Most Dangerous Country).
3. A Mexican NGO called the Consejo Ciudadano para la Seguridad Pública y Justicia Penal, A.C. (Citizen Council
for Public Security and Penal Justice) released a list of the world’s 50 cities with the highest homicide rates in 2016.
Mexico has eight cities on it (while the U.S. has four). See Eight Mexican, and Four U.S., Cities on World's Most Murderous List .
More recently, the Armed Conflict Survey 2017 has been released
by the London-based International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS), which lists the Mexican Drug War as the world’s second-deadliest conflict, after the Syrian Civil War.
The IISS (not to be confused with ISIS) is a think tank
dealing with international affairs, with headquarters in Arundel House in London.
The organization has former UK and US officials in its membership.
The IISS report measures conflict deaths, and
includes the Mexican drug wars as a conflict.
The IISS report has Syria, with its civil war, as
the world’s most dangerous conflict, the fifth year in a row for Syria. In calendar year 2016, that
conflict had an estimated 50,000 deaths resulting from the country’s Civil War.
Mexico is in second place, with 23,000 conflict deaths in the country. That figure
is higher than previously-released Mexican government statistics of 20,792 murders in 2016. See here.
Iraq, currently fighting ISIS, followed at 17,000 deaths,
and Afghanistan (still a conflict zone)
is at #4 with 16,000 deaths. Yemen, currently in the midst of a civil war, had 7,000 deaths.
So, when you classify Mexico as a
war zone it stacks up comparably in
quantity of deaths with the current civil wars in the Middle East, only being surpassed by Syria.
Also troubling is the fact that such conflict deaths are
rising in Mexico, which had 17,000 such deaths in 2015 and 15,000 in 2014.
The report quoted IISS Director General and
Chief Executive John Chipman, who said, "The
death toll in Mexico’s conflict surpasses those for Afghanistan and Somalia. This is even
more surprising, considering that the conflict deaths are
nearly all attributable to small arms. Mexico is a conflict marked by the absence of artillery, tanks or combat aviation."
The Mexican government has disputed the think
tank’s analysis. As reported on the CNN website, “The Mexican government lashed out
at the report's writers. In a statement posted to its website, the government criticizes the report's characterization
of Mexico having a non-international armed conflict, saying the military's policing
of criminal gangs does not equate to what goes on in other countries. It also disagreed with the report's methodology.
The statement, from Mexico's interior ministry and foreign ministry, questions the number of killings in the report. ‘The total estimate of intentional homicides at the national level in 2016 has still not
been published by the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI), so it's unknown where the figure used in
the report came from,’ the ministries said, according to a CNN translation. There
are other reasons for killings besides connections to drug gangs, the government said. ‘In this sense, the report starts
from a base that is erroneous and lacking in technical rigor,’ the statement said,
adding that when figures are adjusted for population, many other countries are more violent than Mexico.”
Maybe the problem is how to classify the
nature of the Mexican drug cartel war. It is a type of war or conflict, true, but it’s not comparable in many ways to the ongoing conflicts
in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen.
The Mexican drug cartels are not really trying to control territory in the same
way, for example, that the Islamic State
is in Syria and Iraq. The
drug cartels are not trying to impose another form of government or promote an ideology.
What the drug
cartels want to do is move their product through Mexican territory into the U.S.A. That makes it no less
deadly, but they are different sorts of conflicts. And yet, there is no
doubt that the Mexican drug cartel war is a deadly conflict.
Allan Wall, an educator, resided in
Mexico for many years. His website is located at http://www.allanwall.info.