Blows to the FARC Demonstrate Adaptation of Military Strategy in Colombia

By Dialogo
March 29, 2012

In the last week, the FARC Colombian terrorist group suffered its two heaviest blows in 2011, a sign of the adaptation of a Military strategy that, after wiping out its top-ranking leaders, is now also attacking its mid-level structures, although this should not affect the announced release of ten hostages, according to experts.

In two offensives, one in Arauca (in eastern Colombia) and one in Meta (in the east-central part of the country), within less than a week, the Colombian Military killed at least 72 FARC guerrillas, an unprecedented toll in recent years.

This comes at the same time as the expected release of ten Police and Military personnel, kidnapped by the FARC more than 12 years ago, whom the guerrilla group assured are the last uniformed personnel it is holding captive.

The turnover of the kidnapping victims is planned for April 2 and 4, and up to now, there are no indications that this is going to change.

“The release is a decision by the FARC. It’s a decision that’s already been made, and they’re not going to suspend it. The guerrilla group assumes that it’s in a fight, in which it strikes blows and receives them, and it can’t cry when it gets hit,” said Luis Eduardo Celis, a researcher with the Nuevo Arcoiris corporation, which specializes in the armed conflict.

For political scientist Vicente Torrijos, a professor at Bogotá’s Rosario University with a doctorate in strategic affairs, security, and defense, the blows received by the FARC “will more likely facilitate the process of the releases.”

“With the support of the best American technology, together with intelligence work, it’s been possible to detect the columns that have been hit. The guerrilla group should feel that it’s under observation, and that will lead it to not delay the handover of the kidnapping victims,” said Torrijos.

According to the experts, the recent Military offensive reflects “an adaptation of government forces to the conflict,” after having previously focused on the highest-ranking guerrilla leadership.

“The idea is that they’re going to keep working on searching for the top leaders, what they call the high-value objectives, but not only them,” since the FARC has shown that “it has an organizational culture and a mysticism that enables it to overcome” the death of its highest-ranking leaders, Celis indicated.

According to Defense Ministry calculations, a total of 600 FARC guerrillas have died, been arrested, or demobilized so far this year, of a total of around 9,000 fighters.

“That figure represents around seven percent, and it’s a significant number. The thing is that the FARC is recruiting every day,” Celis commented.

I'm an Argentinean and I do hope that the Colombian people (all Colombia and the farc-ep) reach peace. Here there is a saying of Martin Fierro which says: "If between them they quarrel, they are devoured by outsiders". Stop fighting among you who are blood brothers. Please, seek a solution. Best regards!!