Los Zetas are interesting. They were originally an anti-drugs SAS-type unit in the Mexican army (GAFE - Grupo Aeromóvil de Fuerzas Especiales). They were subverted to act as enforcers for the Gulf Cartel, and then eventually launched a turf war on that cartel and took over some of their business and territory. The big distinction between Los Zetas and most of the cartels is that they have military discipline and training. They run their own training camps. However, as the original members who were Mexican army special forces have died or 'retired' I had understood that they had become less distinctive, more like just another cartel. I was talking about this to someone early in September, which is why the name leaped out at me from the news reports.
Anyway, if they are venturing into the world of freelance political assassination in the US, perhaps elsewhere, I think this is quite a significant development. I think this illustrates as well that war is not about nation states necessarily. I think war will become more distributed and pervasive.
It is happening, and people are still looking at the world with the goggles of old types of war, preparing for the last war as the saying goes. I think every war for the past fifty years has shown that the non-army army, the army that is not well distinguished from the occupied population, is a decisive factor. I think it's very hard to fight such a non-army with our current methods. Los Zetas and similar organisations might become a - bad in my opinion - freelance force within this overall military context.