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Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) was formed in 1964 with the aim of being the military supporter for the Colombian party and it is the first and biggest military of Latin America, they are most competent and well-operational rebellion of Marxist objectives currently. The FARC mainly functions in Colombia and is involved in logistics, weapons possession, extortion and kidnappings which are reported in the bordering countries. This paper discusses the history, notable attacks, threats to the United States and Tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs).
The starting points of FARC can be found to have been motivated by Colombian era called “The Violence” or La Violencia (1948-1958) which started after the killing of George Gaitan who wanted to vie for presidential position and strong liberal organizer who protested for the rights of the landless people in Colombia. La Violencia was a huge and cruel fight between the pro-reform liberals and Conservatives who were funded by influential landlords and business people who wished to preserve a sturdy association between the state and church. Throughout this period, there were reports that above 250,000 people died in the war (Corrales and Penfold 176).
In safeguarding their rights, the poor people joined self-protection groupings creating rural communities called during that time “Independent Republics,” situated mostly in South Colombia where most of them lived. FARC was an accumulation of these alliances, and endured La Violencia through resisting wealthy conservative, currently called autodefensa, who walked all over the rural areas committing violence against rural residents and they were supported by rich and influential landlords and businesspeople.
After the reunion of both parties in 1958, La Violencia ended and they settled on the power-sharing accord for 20 years. In 1964, around 15,000 militants of the established government assaulted the “Independent Republics” through air and land attacks, but several sites had already been deserted and guerilla affiliates had taken shelter in the hills in southern parts of the country (Tate 167). At the end of that year, the FARC was officially launched, derived on Marxist ideas, as Colombian Communist Party’s military arm and it was cheered by Pedro Marin.
Over 150 Americans have been kidnapped since 1985, where 13 of them have been killed and FARC is responsible for these offenses. In most parts of 2001, human rights organizations in Colombia reported 198 murder cases along with numerous kidnappings which they blamed FARC (Tate 168). In Mid 2002, 13 Colombian policymakers were kidnapped by FARC in Valle and additionally, many Colombian administrators experienced these kidnappings, among them, was Ingrid Betancourt who was then-presidential aspirant and five congressmen.
FARC has used several ways to provide funds for its operations and most evidently by its involvement in the cocaine business and it has worked as mafia in remote regions of Colombia where they demand businesses to contribute a certain amount for their security against any theft. FARC has also obtained funding from outside countries like Cuba. In 2008, news came out, based on computers from the FARC site, that Hugo Chavez, Venezuelan president, had implemented a tactical association with FARC to weaken the government of Colombia so that both FARC and Cuba would be powerful than Colombia government (Corrales and Penfold 176).
Tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs)
Techniques and tactics which are commonly applied by FARC include hijacking, killings, big gun attacks, explosions, extortion and kidnapping. They also use convectional military activities to weaken Colombian politics, economy, and armed forces and it has greatly participated in drug trafficking trades which entail supply, production, and taxation. Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia believes the United States people as rightful military targets because America is in agreement with the Colombian Government. FARC had some challenges in 2010 after they were ambushed by Colombian armed forces which caused the killing of FARC’s senior commander and Bogota, also, disturbed this group effort to interrupt the presidential and congressional elections in the same year (Corrales and Penfold 176). However, FARC carried out numerous minor assaults and kidnappings to express that it is existing.
FARC’s military hardware includes small and average range weapons and in 2009, Venezuela offered rocket launchers in return to an increase of the United States military in Colombia. Approach to purchase surface-to-air projectiles, military communication systems, and sniper rifles from Venezuela have as well been exposed and these associations have destroyed relations between the two governments. FARC has established different ways of its administration and it has branches in both remote and urban regions of Colombia.
The group’s paramilitary actions include car explosion in early 2003 at Bogota which 30 deaths were reported and 160 casualties were also recorded and another grenade explosion in Bogota in the same year where three United States citizens were injured. The group involved in all these criminal attacks and its illegal trades as well as associations with other countries are all techniques and tactics of FARC to remove the Colombian government from power and substitute it with communism. For instance, in 2009 the attacks below were experienced (Mickolus and Simmons 29):
- Blockbuster video store was exploded which caused two deaths in Bogota,
- Two electric centers were exploded which resulted in a blackout in Arauca,
- The police station was raided and murdered two police officers and wounded 15 people in Corinto.
- A police post was raided using gas cylinders which resulted in four deaths, among them three children.
- Seventeen people were murdered in Narino and an explosion occurred in Cesar’s police post which killed two people and wounded 11 people.
FARC usually uses tactics like kidnapping for political control or for the payoff of non-citizens and statistics have shown that kidnapping has dropped in the latest years, but there were reports of 520 kidnappings in 2009 and 451 in 2010. Drug trafficking, like narcotics, involvement includes production, supply and taxes which are part of the techniques they used to support its actions within Columbia and funding other illegal organizations. Progressively, these doings have substituted the aim of Marxist communists in Colombian authority.
Based on the kinds of weapons that the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia has at its authority, they have been classified as one of the world’s rapidly growing terrorist groups. However, the Colombian police department announced on March 2008 that FARC was in a deal to buy 50 kilograms of uranium and according to nuclear experts in the United States, this quantity of uranium which FARC is planning to purchase could likely be employed to build a nuclear weapon as great as the one which was used to destroy Hiroshima, Japan. If this group was able to acquire all essential elements and build a nuclear bomb of this possible importance, their classification, according to the danger of its weapons, would be very high than it was expected and may be classified at the same rank as Al-Qaeda.
The Notable attacks
FARC has participated in various minor and huge attacks within Colombia which have disrupted the processes of the Colombian Government and some cases of these notable attacks are highlighted in this paper. On July 17, 2008, eight people were reported to have been kidnapped and held hostage for seven days before they were released and FARC is approximated to have around 800 hostages. On April 15, 2005, FARC attacked Toribio town using a cylinder gas and resulted in one death and wounded above 20 people and this attack was FARC aim to disrupt the government (Mickolus and Simmons 29). FARC has been responsible for several deaths around the country. Coca farmers have reported death on June 3, 2004 and FARC announced that they had committed the act to support right-wing paramilitary.
As it was initially formed as a guerrilla military body, FARC is well managed and has a military-style which is ruled by a secretariat. The group has utilized various techniques and tactics to attain financial and military targets which include drug trafficking, kidnapping, murder, and other illegal activities. It is projected to contain 1,000 to 13,000 active participants in its military.
In 2003, mortar shells were experienced on Bogota some minutes before swearing-in of Álvaro Uribe as Colombian President and resulted in 15 deaths in the city of Dabeida, but after counterattack by government forces, the city was recovered by Colombian Army using two UH-60 Black Hawk jets (Corrales and Penfold 176). During the counterattack, 20 militants inside the jet were killed and another helicopter was forced to land in neighboring armed forces base because of huge battle damage.
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Las Delicias armed forces base was raided by FARC in 1996 in the Putumayo unit and caused around 55 deaths, 15 injured and 60 detained by FARC (Tate 167). Some unexpected attacks have been experienced at night after general intelligence gathering, and 16 hours of war brought about severe demolition of a rural branch of military bases.
Threats to the United States
FARC has not been classified mainly as an international terrorism threat, but a major global threat is their involvement in the kidnapping of prominent international people that pay a visit to Colombia. Mostly, they perform kidnapping to swap for imprisoned revolutionaries and another global threat is involved in drug trafficking. 50% of the global cocaine is produced in Colombia and 70% of all the cocaine which is used in America comes from Colombia. This is one threat which is posed by this group to the people and government of the United States.
FARC mostly trains other minor illegal militants around Latin American including Mexico and this has caused the United States to enforce more security in its borders to protect the people against these groups. The U.S. is supporting the Colombian Government and this has led FARC to attack U.S. citizens in Colombia. The most broadly recognized payback was its kidnapping of three United States nationalities, along with a French official in 2002 and they were released by the Colombian military in July 2008 (Mickolus and Simmons 29).
FARC has not considered setting off military acts against the United States in the future, but they have been training and supporting Mexican illegal groups positioned in American regions, just the way in which they supported Brazilian squads, changing them from minor gangs into significant and dangerous groups. This is a severe and forthcoming threat to the United States and they could reform their targets and apply them in human trafficking attempts, permitting them to possibly put in works into the United States.
Al-Qaeda will take great advantage of FARC’s new undertakings, and could possibly finance them, or other affiliate groups, to aid them attack and damage the United States. Actually, Al-Shabaab, Al-Qaeda’s partner in Somalia, is believed to have to finance them, since some people witnessed around 260 Somalis being taken illegally into the United States through its border with Mexico (Mauro).
Currently, it has been reported that the FARC is joining forces with drug lords, providing a significant supply of funds for their personal operations and possibly offering unlawful groups with the military knowledge they require to subvert additionally Mexico. FARC operations also provide Hugo Chavez the strength to raid stealthily Mexico and the U.S. and expand intelligence and as well signify that other terrorist gangs which are associated to FARC have the strength to send weapons and increase operations in the United States if they are prepared to sponsor it (Corrales and Penfold 176).
Terrorist specialists have stated that there are three ways to solve and prevent terrorists and terrorism and the first approach, to restrict the development of these sects, is by using force. This approach includes containment movements where terrorist alliances and their location can be raided militarily. The second way of preventing terrorism is a non-violence strategy which includes peace-making and repressive techniques. Repressive techniques include covert passive activities that would be engaged in the willing distribution of cyberwar and inaccurate information.
The third essential approach to restrict the development of terrorists and terrorism is using permissible alternatives and this approach has the aim of encouraging rules of law and proceedings to these illegal groups. An effective way to encourage the rule of law is making use of law enforcement officials in the trial and some propose to apply counterterrorism rules for officially criminalizing conducts with global accord to offer no refuge for these illegal groups.
FARC has not only pose threats to the Colombia government, but also to the United States, Mexico, Colombian neighboring countries, and to all other countries in the world. The Colombian economy has been affected by FARC’s activities, since most investors and tourists may not be interested in investing and visiting Colombia. They are well-built and have military techniques therefore Colombian government has faced huge challenges attempting to destroy FARC’s power and union.
From the above analysis, it has been reported that Cuba president is partly funding FARC and other powerful terrorist groups, like Al-Qaida and Al-Shabab, fund them to terrorize the United States and other countries. From notable attacks that FARC has committed is important evidence that it can commit even bigger offense or attacks to any country and also through their desire to purchase a huge amount of uranium.
The United States and Colombia governments should come up with effective solutions to solve this issue of terrorists which are posing a huge threat to their countries. United should take immediate action to address the issue of immigration in Mexico and the America border since it appears to be a big loophole for terrorist groups to enter the United States. Since these groups are benefiting from conflicts in Mexico and easy access borders to fund and take their operatives into the United States currently.
Corrales, Javier and Michael Penfold. Dragon in the Tropics: Hugo Chávez and the Political Economy of Revolution in Venezuela. Washington DC: Brookings Institution Press, 2011. Print.
Mauro, Ryan. “FARC Cashes in on Mexican Drug War,” 2010. Web.
Mickolus, Edward and Susan Simmons. The Terrorist List. California: ABC-CLIO, 2011. Print.
Tate, Winifred. “Paramilitaries in Colombia.” The Brown Journal of World Affairs 8.1 (2001): 163-175. Print.