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Is Colombia's FARC rebounding?

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This would be significantly higher than the 1,947 actions registered by Nuevo Arco Iris in 2010. Last year, Colombian authorities argued that overall FARC-related violence was increasing due to the presidential elections, when the guerrillas typically step up attacks in order to prove their political relevance. But according to Nuevo Arco Iris, the rate of FARC violence appears to be increasingly steadily regardless, with election months not a significant influence over the rate of guerrilla actions (That being said, 2011 is another election year, with voters casting ballots for governors, mayors, and town councilors in October).

2) The FARC have changed their military strategy, focusing on more traditional hit-and-run guerrilla attacks.

This is a trend that analysts have been observing since 2008, when FARC leader Guillermo Leon Saenz Vargas, alias "Alfonso Cano," assumed control of the rebel army and implemented a new security strategy, known in some circles as "Plan Pistola." The plan involves the use of small rebel units, of between 25 and 35 people, operating in groups no larger than five. This allows the guerrillas to present the military with few big targets and to avoid the Air Force, still Colombia's most effective weapon against the rebels.

The FARC's new modus operandi also involves increased reliance on militia networks, part-time fighters who operate in civilian clothing and are often based in the cities. These militias are able to more easily access police stations or military bases in towns, leading them to favor urban guerrilla tactics like car bombs. The growing importance of the militias may become even more evident in 2011, which has seen 12 car bomb attacks to date.

3) The security forces are lagging behind.

How the FARC conducts the war has changed, but it's not clear that the military and police have been able to evolve their tactics to match. The rebels' increased use of explosives and snipers means that the security forces are absorbing a high number of casaulties: 2,540 members of the military were killed or wounded in 2010, 300 more than in 2002, when President Alvaro Uribe took office.

4) The strategy of eliminating the top levels of FARC command is not enough.

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