Donald Trump returned Thursday to his drumbeat about his proposed Mexican border wall being a safeguard against drug cartel violence.

‘Mexico was just ranked the second deadliest country in the world, after only Syria. Drug trade is largely the cause. We will BUILD THE WALL!’ the president tweeted.

Trump’s claim about Mexico is based on a International Institute for Strategic Studies survey that measures deaths related to ‘armed conflict.’ It found that 23,000 people died last year in Mexico’s narcotics turf wars.

America’s southern neighbor hosted the second deadliest conflict on the planet in 2016, ranking behind only Syria’s bloody civil war and leaving Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen far behind.

Donald Trump tied his border wall to the war against mexican drug cartels

Donald Trump tied his border wall to the war against mexican drug cartels

Donald Trump tied his border wall to the war against mexican drug cartels

'Mexico was just ranked the second deadliest country in the world, after only Syria. Drug trade is largely the cause. We will BUILD THE WALL!' the president tweeted 

'Mexico was just ranked the second deadliest country in the world, after only Syria. Drug trade is largely the cause. We will BUILD THE WALL!' the president tweeted 

‘Mexico was just ranked the second deadliest country in the world, after only Syria. Drug trade is largely the cause. We will BUILD THE WALL!’ the president tweeted 

Police and forensics secure the area where six people were killed in Acapulco, Mexico in January. Government crime statistics show that the month of May was the country's bloodiest month in at least 20 years and homicides are up sharply in 2017

Police and forensics secure the area where six people were killed in Acapulco, Mexico in January. Government crime statistics show that the month of May was the country's bloodiest month in at least 20 years and homicides are up sharply in 2017

Police and forensics secure the area where six people were killed in Acapulco, Mexico in January. Government crime statistics show that the month of May was the country’s bloodiest month in at least 20 years and homicides are up sharply in 2017

‘The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan claimed 17,000 and 16,000 lives respectively in 2016, although in lethality they were surpassed by conflicts in Mexico and Central America, which have received much less attention from the media and the international community,’ said Anastasia Voronkova, the editor of the survey.

John Chipman, the IISS’s chief executive and director-general, called Mexico’s prominence among deadly nations ‘all the more surprising, considering that the conflict deaths are nearly all attributable to small arms.’

Mexico’s 23,000 conflict-related deaths in 2016 marked an increase from 17,000 in 2015 and 15,000 in 2014.

The International Institute for Strategic Studies published its survey results this month, ranking Mexico’s 23,000 conflict-related deaths behind only Syria’s total

The dramatic uptick in casualties underscores Trump’s frequent argument that the scourge of drug gang murders spills over regularly into the United States.

And the numbers keep getting worse.

Mexico’s National System for Public Security has counted homicides for the last 20 years, and May 2017 was its worst month on record. 

The survey found that 2,186 people were murdered nationwide last month. 

There were 9,916 killings in Mexico during the first five months of 2017, up about 30 percent from 7,638 during the same period in 2016.

Mexico’s foreign ministry replied to Trump’s tweet, releasing a statement denying it was the second most violence nation in the world.

‘While Mexico does have a significant problem of violence, Mexico is NOT the second most violent nation in the world. 

‘According to UN figures for 2014 (the most recent international report), Mexico is far from being one of the most violent countries. In Latin America alone, countries such as Honduras, Venezuela, Belize, Colombia and Brazil had homicide rates of 90.4, 53.7, 44.7, 30.8 and 25.2, respectively, per 100,000 inhabitants, while Mexico had a rate of 16.4, well below many of the countries in the region.

‘Illicit drug trade is indeed the most important cause of violence in Mexico and drug trafficking is costing thousands of lives both in Mexico and the US. 

‘However, as has been repeatedly stated by the U.S. government itself, drug trafficking is a shared problem that will end only by addressing its root causes: high demand for drugs in the U.S. and supply from Mexico (and other countries).

‘In order to be effective, we must be able to move beyond finger-pointing. We look forward to continue working with the US government against drug trafficking based on the principles of shared responsibility, teamwork, and trust.’ 

Trump pledged on Wednesday night to make good on his signature campaign promise to wall off America from its southern neighbor

Trump pledged on Wednesday night to make good on his signature campaign promise to wall off America from its southern neighbor

Trump pledged on Wednesday night to make good on his signature campaign promise to wall off America from its southern neighbor

The U.S.-Mexico border is a hodgepodge of fences, steel barriers (shown), waterways and entirely open sections where cartels and human traffickers can walk across unimpeded

The U.S.-Mexico border is a hodgepodge of fences, steel barriers (shown), waterways and entirely open sections where cartels and human traffickers can walk across unimpeded

The U.S.-Mexico border is a hodgepodge of fences, steel barriers (shown), waterways and entirely open sections where cartels and human traffickers can walk across unimpeded

During a campaign-style rally Wednesday night in Iowa, Trump pledged to build the border wall that was a staple of his election-year rhetoric.

‘We will build the wall,’ he promised nearly 6,000 supporters in the town of Cedar Rapids. ‘We need it. We need it. We have to stop the drugs from flowing in.’

The Department of Homeland Security says Mexican drug cartels collect between $19 billion and $29 billion each year from drug sales in the United States. 

Carnage resulting from gang rivalries often results in contract killings and the murders of journalists and government officials – plus the collateral damage of bystanders caught in urban crossfire.  

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