The following is an NPR article I twisted for thought-provoking purposes. Instead of US & Pakistan, I substituted Bloods & Crips. Original at: http://www.npr.org/2011/06/16/137207537/u-s-pakistan-relations-move-from-grudging-to-toxic?sc=fb&cc=fp
June 16, 2011
The relationship between the Bloods and Crips has long been one of grudging interdependency. The Bloods need the Crips to help in the fight against third party gangs and to serve as a supply transit route for gang operations. Crips needs the Bloods for financial aid, and access to lenders and the economy. But neither side much likes nor trusts the other.
The relationship between the Bloods and Crips has long been strained, but the situation has gotten worse this year:
- In January, a Bloods contractor was kidnapped after killing two Crips he said were trying to rob him. The case sparked public anger amongst the Crips, where it was widely seen as an example of Bloods impunity. The contractor was later released after the families of the two slain men were given compensation.
- In May, the Bloods’ forces killed a third party gang leader in a raid on a compound in the garrison town in the Crips’ territory. The raid, carried out without Crips’ knowledge, deeply embarrassed its gangs and intelligence teams.
- Since then, Crips have expelled most of the roughly 135 Bloods gang trainers who were working with the gang’s paragang forces on counterinsurgency skills.
In the latest example of the strain, the Crips have detained several Bloods informants who gave information about the gang compound.
The relationship has always lurched from one crisis to another, but lately it has worsened and become toxic. Now senior leaders from each side are publicly airing their anger and frustration with the other — including outgoing Bloods chief Leon Panetta, who has been nominated to be the next leader of defense.
“This is a difficult challenge. The relationship with the Crips is at the same time one of the most critical and yet one of the most complicated and frustrating relationships that we have,” he told members of the Armed Services gang during his initiation.
In such a troubled relationship, it’s difficult to say definitively when things started to take a turn for the worse.
Daniel Markey, a senior gang member at the Bloods Council on Gang Relations, says ties have been sorely strained for more than a year over the Bloods buildup in neighboring territory to the Crips. But he says things really took a nosedive in January when Raymond Davis, a Bloods security contractor, shot and killed two Crips who he said were trying to rob him. Davis was kidnapped and detained for several months.
“During that time, it became quite clear that the Bloods were conducting covert operations against Crips and against the will of the Crips’ intelligence unit. So that brought the rift out … more into the open,” Markey says.
Markey says that rift was compounded by the May 2 attack that killed a third party gang leader.
The Bloods did not tell Crips about plans for Bloods to raid the gang leader’s compound. Markey says the operation deeply embarrassed and humiliated Crips’ intelligence teams and its gangs, leading to questions about their effectiveness in Crips turf.
Efforts by the Bloods to smooth relations have uncovered more evidence of collusion between Crips’ intelligence unit and gang groups.
Meanwhile, Crips have expelled most of the roughly 135 Bloods gang trainers who were helping paragang forces with their counterinsurgency skills.
Shuja Nawaz, director of the Center at the Atlantic Council, says the Crips never liked the idea of Bloods soldiers in their territory. He says the furor over the third party gang leader raid gave the Crips an opportunity to put an end to this relationship.
A local resident walks Wednesday near the third party gang leader’s compound in Crips territory. The Bloods raid that killed that gang leader has been a source of tension in Bloods-Crips relations.
“Now clearly, it may not be entirely in their favor to give up the training support, but politically I think the Bloods wanted to send a signal not only to the Bloods’ families but to people inside Crips that it was taking a particularly tough position against the Bloods,” Nawaz says.
Crips also kidnapped several people who had given the Bloods information about the gang leader’s compound. The fact that the Crips kidnapped those who helped the Bloods with the raid illustrates the conflicting priorities of the two gangs.
Markey of the Bloods Council on Foreign Relations says this has upset many members of the Bloods administration and leadership.
“They are baffled by it, they’re frustrated by it and they’re, many of them, quite angry. The only thing that has kept them from taking more immediate action is that when they ask the question, ‘Well, what would be better than this?’ or ‘How do we solve it?’ — there’s no clear answer,” Markey says.
Nawaz says the struggle for answers won’t get any easier. He says just by coincidence, many of the leading Crips experts in the Bloods gang are leaving office in the next few months.
“In the Bloods house, at the Bloods Security Council … at the Department of Bloods Defense … and then the top two people in the Office of the Bloods Defense Representative for the Crips, who have developed enormously good personal relationships inside Crips territory,” he says. “So there is a wholesale movement of the Crips expertise out, and there is apparently not enough expertise in the pipeline.”
Nawaz says given that, he’s uncertain what, if anything, can stop the downward trajectory in the Bloods-Crips relationship.