Paramilitary: Street Fighting Men


April 8, 2006: The Brazilian army is becoming expert at fighting urban gangs, without having to go anywhere near Baghdad. For the past year, Brazilian troops have been fighting urban gangs in Haiti, as part of a peacekeeping force. Back home, some 1,500 troops were ordered into a rough part of Rio De Janeiro to recover ten assault rifles stolen from an army base. The troops spent nine days in the area, engaging in several firefights with heavily armed gang members. The stolen assault rifles were not found, but the army said it would keep looking.

Rio De Janeiro is not the only major city with well organized, heavily armed and numerous criminal gangs literally controlling territory. The core gang areas are off limits to police, unless the cops come in force, prepared to fight. The American success in handling the gangs of Baghdad has made U.S. Army and Marine Corps training materials and advice very popular in many countries. The United States military maintains relationships with many foreign armed forces so that information like this can be exchanged. Right now, everyone recognizes that the American armed forces, especially the soldiers and marines, are the most combat experienced troops on the planet. So their consul is sought on how to deal with extreme urban warfare.

In addition to armies, police forces of major cities are also seeking better tactics and equipment advice. The U.S. Army has provided such assistance to police, both in the United States and overseas. All of this new knowledge of how best to deal with urban violence has become a valuable commodity, and the United States is making itself popular, at least with allied nations, by distributing the information.


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