Salvadoran and Colombian Armed Forces Share Post-Conflict Experiences

first_imgThe Salvadoran Armed Forces (FAES, for its Spanish acronym) recently shared their post-conflict experiences with instructors and officials from the Superior War School of Colombia during a special meeting at the headquarters of the FAES’ College for High Strategic Studies in San Salvador. Since April 18, 600 highly specialized military personnel have been patrolling the streets of the country’s 50 most dangerous towns alongside the National Civil Police (PNC) to ensure peace. Additionally, 1,000 members of specialized units have been deployed since July throughout the country’s entire public transit system. They travel in pairs, select routes and buses randomly between 6 a.m. – 9 p.m., and protect the public from possible gang attacks. “The upcoming challenges that the Colombian Armed Forces will have to overcome during the peace negotiation process will deal with combating terrorism and violence that are products of drug trafficking. In addition, security problems that used to be taken care of by the Police alone – such as migration or the illegal trafficking of weapons and chemical substances – are all now considered to be ‘new threats.’” At the close a recent meeting, Brigadier General Carlos Mena Torres, the Salvadoran Air Force’s General Chief of Staff, highlighted the importance of such meetings between fellow security forces. Transitioning toward peace “Ever since we achieved peace, it has been of utmost importance for us to share with other military forces how the Salvadoran Armed Forces have developed post-conflict, and it continues to support the ongoing efforts aimed at protecting the public from emerging threats.” “This exchange of information concerning successful strategies to combat terrorist groups gathered over the last 23 years can end up being very useful now for Colombia, as it finds itself in the midst of a peace negotiation process,” said Colonel Juan Molina, the Operational Chief for the FAES Joint Chiefs of Staff, at the end of one of the meetings on September 5. The process of transitioning toward peace in Colombia will involve security and defense challenges, said Brigadier General Rodrigo Valencia, Chief of Staff of the Colombian Air Force’s Joint Special Operations Command. Since El Salvador’s internal armed conflict ended in 1992, the FAES has become known for their peacekeeping efforts, providing national security and supporting law enforcement agencies in combating illegal armed groups, including the Mara Salvatrucha and Barrio 18 gangs. “The Latin American Armed Forces are facing what we call ‘emerging threats’ such as gangs and conflicts with drug traffickers.Thus, it has been very important for us to learn from the experiences of our Salvadoran colleagues, their theoretical underpinnings, and the tactics they have used in the field to combat these groups that appear after a conflict, such as those which Colombia is currently combating.” El Salvador’s Ministry of Defense won’t release the results of these operations, citing an effort to protect the methods’ security and effectiveness. However, data has been made public for the “Safe House” operations, where the Military and PNC work together to clear out the abandoned homes that gangs use illegally to plan crimes. This year, authorities have closed 381 of the approximately 6,300 occupied houses and arrested 1,178 alleged gang leaders. Due to these “new threats,” learning about the strategy used by their Salvadoran colleagues to perform operations that aim to keep the peace allows the Colombian Armed Forces to accumulate tested knowledge. By Dialogo November 23, 2015last_img read more

Kings look a few years from throne

first_imgNHL: Crawford says defense must step up for team to make playoffs. By Matthew Kredell STAFF WRITER Jonathan Bernier might not be on the roster in a month, but he reflects the state of Kings hockey as the 2007-08 season begins. The team opens play Saturday against the Ducks in London with a freshness and hope, but also uncertainty. Like their 19-year-old goalie the Kings have potential, but might not yet be ready. Marc Crawford, entering his second year coaching the team, said his goal was making the playoffs. That would be a significant step from last season, when the Kings finished 27-41-14 and in fourth place in the Pacific Division. The Kings were among the most active teams in the offseason, adding a number of players who will contribute, but no superstars. They join a mostly young team. The projected top line consists of 20-year-old Anze Kopitar, 22-year-old Dustin Brown and 25-year-old Michael Cammalleri. All three performed well last season – with Cammalleri leading the club with 80 points – and are expected to improve. Kopitar could turn into the star the offense lacks. He scored 61 points in 72 games as a rookie. In an exhibition in Austria this week, he had a hat trick. “My personal goals are higher,” Kopitar said. “I don’t want to expect too much from the season, but I’m going in with a lot more confidence. I understand the game a little more.” Rob Blake is expected to captain the team. The 37-year-old defenseman with 17 years experience is past his prime but adds a solid, veteran presence. He will help mentor the Kings’ up-and-coming young defenseman, Jack Johnson, the 20-year-old who came up for five games last season. “I hope you see a big upgrade in our defensive game,” Crawford said. “You look at the stats where we have to improve. Our goals against has to be down. We can’t hope to be in the playoffs if we don’t get our goals against down.” The Kings allowed 3.38 goals per game last season, 27th out of 30 teams in the NHL. That’s where Bernier could come in. He has been the Kings’ best goaltender in the preseason but General Manager Dean Lombardi is understandably wary of ruining the team’s 2006 first-round selection by throwing him on the ice before he is ready. Few top NHL goalies have been regular starters at age 19. Patrick Roy played in 47 games for Montreal when he was 20, though that was after three years in juniors compared to one for Bernier. Grant Fuhr played 48 games for Edmonton in 1981-82, when he was 19, but spent half of the next season down in the minors. The Kings probably will keep Bernier through the first nine games as a tryout. At that time, they would have to send him to juniors or use a full year of his contract. If Bernier doesn’t start, the team likely will turn to Jason LaBarbera, who started 21 games for the Kings two years ago before spending last season in the minors. Jean Sebastien-Aubin, a free-agent acquisition, made the trip to London. Whether he spends the season with the Kings or in the minors depends on Bernier. The Kings sent their most experienced goalie, Dan Cloutier, to American Hockey League affiliate Manchester to rehab after missing much of the last two seasons with injuries. If the Kings try to recall Cloutier during the season, other teams will have the chance to claim him at half his $3.1 million salary. Other newcomers expected to contribute include center Michal Handzus, forwards Kyle Calder and Ladislav Nagy and defensemen Tom Preissing and Brad Stuart. The trips to Austria and London gave the players a chance to get acquainted. “We got to know each other a little bit and hopefully we’ll jell as a team and take off right from the beginning,” center Derek Armstrong said. Adding urgency to the Kings’ rebuilding quest is the opponent Saturday and Sunday. The rival Ducks, a 15-year-old franchise, won the Stanley Cup in June – something Kings fans have been after for 40 years. “When you’re going up against a Goliath like Anaheim down the street, it forces you to work harder,” Lombardi said. “It’s just human nature.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more