This is a continuation from my previous thread about the flaws in San Andreas' storyline , so after some thinking I decided to "decipher" the San Andreas storyline and how everyone was even going on in the first place, using both clues from the storyline as well as the Introduction video, which provides a bit more context but still feels somewhat incomplete within the grand scope of things. Let's start shall we?
BALLAS/VAGOS (AKA NORTHERN ALLIANCE)
We'll call them the "Northern Alliance" for the sake of simplicity as well as Geography (Vagos and Ballas tended to be in Northeast LS). I'm going to try to break down their motivations leading up to 1992 in San Andreas.
The Ballas are, by 1992 (start of the storyline), the biggest and most powerful gang in Los Santos, having territory in Verona Beach as well as swaths of eastern Los Santos, with their base being Jefferson. While their leadership is still shrouded in mystery, we can at least answer why they became so big.
It's likely that the Ballas became big through the narcotics trade. Remember that San Andreas takes place during the crack epidemic, and remember that the Ballas had no issues with dealing crack in their neighborhoods. Through this, they became rich and were likely able to purchase more weapons, and hence increase their numbers through drugs and strong arms, as well as probably gaining business through fronts such as extortion, etc. It's commonly assumed that the Ballas took over Families territories through gang warfare, and while this is probably true, I'll give a different theory (with some evidence), but much later.
The Vagos, while smaller, are also powerful and are by far the largest pocho/Chicano/Hispanic gang (it's likely they contain non-pocho/chicano members) in Los Santos, though aren't well armed at the beginning of the game (this will be important when explaining San Andreas' storyline, more on that in a bit). They grow in size and again, don't have issues selling crack, although perhaps not as much as the Ballas. A part of my theory explains the reason the Vagos are so big is because they're more open to other Latin nationalities (Vagos seem to be based on Latin Kings and to a lesser extent, MS-13), and hence, have more members, but also because they control much larger territories compared to their rival, the Aztecas. Remember during the time San Andreas took place the US took in large numbers of refugees from Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, etc so perhaps a part of the Vagos' members come from this part of the population. But that's enough of that.
What's funny is that the Ballas and Vagos seem to hardly have beef through the game; the Vagos and Ballas seem more content giving havoc to the Families and Aztecas (their rivals); part of my theory is that the Ballas and Vagos called some kind of truce (they're often working together in missions, especially later) because of their agreement with crack, as well as larger figures in play (such as CRASH, Loco Syndicate, etc), so let's move on to that a bit.
AZTECAS/FAMILIES (AKA SOUTHERN ALLIANCE)
It's implied that the Families were much more stronger during the 1980s, and there are a number of context clues; Emmet lives in Willowfield, Sweet wanted to retake Idlewood in the end of the game and Reece lives there as well. CJ even mentions in the very first mission that Temple is Families turf, but Sweet tells him that it's Temple Drive Families, and they "don't roll with them no more". This implies that before CJ left, the Families were much stronger and much more united, and probably more powerful than the Ballas.
Big Smoke is seen talking to CRASH in the Introduction, which implies that Big Smoke was corrupted before CJ came back. One very important detail: Big Smoke and CRASH seems to have no involvement in killing CJ's mother, which they probably didn't want to happen (because CJ would then return and add much more trouble). Big Smoke is implied to wanting to sell crack through the LS neighborhoods, and even constantly tries to convince Sweet to do so, but Sweet refuses. It should be noted that its implied other Families sets want to sell crack, so I have a theory: many Families members (such as Big Smoke) defected to the Ballas, which is why the Ballas grow stronger. Big Smoke is planning to overthrow Sweet so he can take control of the Families himself, and become a crack kingpin.
So, because of disagreements on whether to sell crack, and losing territory to the Ballas (either through defections or gang wars), the Families decline over the next few years, and when CJ returns, he realizes what he has missed.
On to the Aztecas: Cesar's backstory is never explored, but there are some context clues surrounding the Aztecas. They're the smallest and weakest gang in Los Santos, and like the Families, they don't believe in selling crack; this causes them to become weaker and because of this the Vagos and Ballas begin to encroach on their territory. Throughout the game the Aztecas and Families form a loose alliance, helping each other claim lost territory and find Big Smoke. However, one important thing is that despite the Aztecas small numbers, they're well armed. But why? They're not selling hardcore drugs like the Ballas or Vagos and they don't have too many fronts compared to the other gangs either, which brings me to another theory...
It should be noted that the Russian Mafia are a neutral party; they're not particularly aligned with any gang and their goal is to control the Los Santos crime underworld. They want to sell guns, make money, and cash in on the gang wave as well as expand their businesses (both legitimate and non legitimate). They aren't explained well, so let's try to fill some gaps.
The Russian Mafia arrive in Los Santos some time between 1987 and 1992, during the collapse of the USSR. They're noted to be gun smugglers in the game, and I think I have a theory; the Aztecas made a deal with the Russian Mafia so they could gain stronger guns in order to protect themselves from the Ballas and Vagos. Again, the Russian Mafia has no real affiliation here.
The Russian Mafia probably decided to start selling guns to the Ballas and Vagos (Tenpenny references this) and that's why both gangs are so well armed; the Russian Mafia are supplying them, and the Russian Mafia was originally supposed to lead to Big Smoke. I think the Russian Mafia are simply supplying guns and trying to make profit, with no side in particular chosen. Anyway, on to...
Similar to the Russian Mafia, the CRASH are more or less a neutral party, and their only goal is to profit off really shady schemes and set gangs up against each other. CRASH have corrupted Big Smoke and have likely corrupted Vagos and Ballas members and hence, are probably more connected with these gangs and are more likely to "help" them.
I believe CRASH figured out about the internal conflicts with the Families through street intel as well as probably interrogating/threatening Families members, and hence that lead them to approach Big Smoke and probably Ryder. It's in their interest to keep things going the way they are because they make profit and run the city. So, how does this connect to San Fierro? Well...
Let's get an idea of the Loco Syndicate: they are 3 members, Mike Toreno, T-Bone Mendez and Jizzy B. Why would they expand to Los Santos?
Well, in The Introduction, Mike Toreno mentions that they have "buyers in Los Santos", and even mentions that they're supplying drugs from Latin America (particularly Panama), so that gives us a source of the epidemic. T-Bone Mendez is a very high ranking member of the Rifa, and he dresses well and takes himself seriously, especially given that Mike Toreno is a businessman whom is wealthy.
Jizzy B is a San Fierro pimp who runs Pleasure Domes, which is quite successful; perhaps his connection to Los Santos is a desire to expand there. One strip club is The Pig Pen, which is located in... East Los Santos. It's possibly Jizzy B wanted to buy it, but due to the large presence of Ballas and Vagos, he may have wanted to hold back until further notice.
This gives the Loco Syndicate (whom also comprise the San Fierro Rifa) an incentive to make a truce with the Los Santos gangs, which is why the Rifa and Vagos are trying to set up a deal so early on in the game. The Syndicate wants to control drug trade through the state, and have to make compromises. Perhaps the Loco Syndicate helped assist a treaty with the Vagos and Ballas, since Jizzy B probably wouldn't want rival gangs f*cking up his business assets, and the larger scheme.
Essentially, Loco Syndicate are a backchannel between the San Fierro side (Rifa, Mendez, Toreno, and Jizzy) and the Los Santos side (Ballas, Vagos, CRASH and Big Smoke). In the larger scheme, they want to control the drug trade in the state, and part of that is getting rid/destroying rival groups (Aztecas, Families, Triads and Da Nang Boys).
So, what does this all mean?
-Big Smoke has been corrupted by CRASH to sell crack and take over the Families, and serve orders
-Jizzy B, Toreno and Mendez want to expand into Los Santos
-Loco Syndicate wants to control drug trade but also other areas of business too
-Because of gang feuds, Loco Syndicate try a peace treaty with Ballas and Vagos to get through with their goal
-Families and Aztecas decline because they don't want to sell crack
-Aztecas make a deal with Russian Mafia so that they can defend themselves from rival gangs
-Russian Mafia are a "chaotic neutral" party who simply provide arms and supplies and attempt to form their own network in San Andreas
-CJ's mom's death was probably unrelated as Ballas tried killing Sweet, not CJ's Mom.
So, that was a lengthy theory.