For a good understanding of the woes facing the FARC, please read Dr. Radu's post over on VCrisis. The 66 pounds of depleted uranium is just further proof that FARC's power is on the wane and why they should not be removed from the list of terrorist organisations. If you rob, murder, and kidnap to keep your revolution going; then you just a bunch of hoodlums and not belligerents. Be akin to granting the US Mafia the same belligerent status. Not going to happen.
After reading this, one finds similar patterns between Colombia and Iraq. As the country itself stabilises and the economy improves, the terrorist organisations must find recruits where they can and at what price. So one sees an influx of fellow travellers from foreign lands, which further erodes the claims of a native insurgency and instead becomes something of an attempted foreign occupation. This in turn further alienates the locals from supporting the insurgency, why should they cover for a bunch of foreigners? There is no bond between Marxist-Leninist fanatics and the people who actually live there, all that clap-trap about the common struggle is just that clap-trap.
And it seems Mexico suffers the same problem the United States and other Western countries do. The only place where Marxist-Leninism can survive is in the rarefied atmosphere of academia. So these institutions become the cadre breeding grounds the likes of Reyes noted FARC needs to keep operating. Luckily the Colombian military/police forces and the Iraqi military/police forces are getting better at defeating their respective terror groups, be it FARC or the Mahdi Army.
Now is not the time to get weak in the knees and declare things lost. The upswing in violence in Iraq is an attempt by the Mahdi Army and others to reshape a far more important battlefield than the physical one. Even as al-Sadr sends more fools to die for his lust for power, they are mere bloody window dressing for a bolder operation aimed at the United States. General Petraeus is due to report back to the Congress soon on how things are progressing in Iraq. So the killers in Basra and elsewhere are trying to make the Surge a failure just before this report, to negate the validity of the strategy. This is the Mahdi Army's Battle of the Bulge, their all or nothing last gasp attempt to defeat the elected government of Iraq and the United States not on the battlefield, but on the field of perceptions. And if history is any guideline about battlefield results then the Mahdi Army will get its ass handed to it again, this time by Iraqi forces with US support which will mean al-Sadr will again flee to Iran to let things cool down while his fighters also reach room temerature.
Victory is often not won within a span of a few minutes of daring, luck, and Divine Providence as witnessed by the US Pacific Fleet at the Battle of Midway. Often victory is wrested one centimeter at a time at horrendous cost as witnessed by the battle for Iwo Jima or on the beaches of Normandy. Victory is attained sometimes by one combatant hanging on just a little while longer. FARC and the Mahdi Army are betting that the US and its allies wont hang on for the one extra second needed to win. Lets prove them dead wrong.
Wordsmith in his post on Basra will be just another comma, made me think of something else to add to the above post. How different effective leadership can be on impacting results. The FARC have been rattling around trying to overthrow the government of Colombia for 44 years, to apply the American Democrats' yardstick for victory against that record, the FARC are stuck in a quagmire and should just plain surrender. President Uribe has been in office less than eight years and yet has managed to make the economy boom, marginalize the FARC, winnow its ranks, and kill two of its top commanders. Al-Maliki is trying to do the same thing in Iraq. Just think if someone other than President Bush had been in office these past eight years, would Uribe and Maliki even be close to defeating their opponents? Probably not because someone like Al Gore would have tried to ignore it since it would be a distraction to his true goal about fighting Global Warming or some other Quixotian cause.