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Syrian Regime’s Politically Useful Drug Trade

The Syrian regime's involvement in the drug trade is politically useful, Fares Khashan argues for al-Souria Net.
Syrian Regime’s Politically Useful Drug Trade

The Syrian regime, in cooperation with Iranian militias, has been flooding Arab and Gulf countries with drugs through large-scale smuggling operations across the Jordanian and Iraqi borders. Despite previous denials, the regime has now admitted to its involvement in the drug trade, which has led to border wars and the spread of drug addiction.

In a recent meeting with foreign ministers from Egypt, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan, Syria’s counterpart, Faisal Al-Miqdad, expressed willingness to take action to end smuggling operations and identify the sources of drug production and trafficking to Jordan and Iraq. In return, Syria seeks normalization and reintegration into the “Arab family” without accountability or systemic changes.

The Syrian regime has profited greatly from manufacturing and distributing Captagon pills to Gulf markets through illegal crossings on its common borders with Arab countries. However, the price of curbing this criminal trade is high, and the regime’s continued involvement in drug smuggling poses a future danger as it may become a military plan for those pursuing political goals.

Arab and Gulf countries have the right to protect their national security from drug smuggling, but rewarding organized crime instead of punishing it will only lead to greater danger for all. The West has resisted this Arab-Gulf track, but neglecting the Syrian file for years means it cannot currently dictate its opinion to countries seeking solutions at any cost.

However, the ongoing sanctions regime means that the Syrian regime, which refuses to implement Security Council Resolution 2254, will not only obstruct initiatives to return refugees and displaced persons but also continue to provide income for the drug industry and smuggling.

Arab capitals are aware of this fact and adopt a policy of “step by step” in dealing with the Syrian regime. For example, Saudi Arabia has dropped the idea of restoring diplomatic relations and is focusing on restoring consular relations to maintain control over migrant workers from Syria.

In sum, the Syrian regime’s involvement in the drug trade is politically useful, but it poses a significant threat to national security and stability. The reward for organized crime must be replaced with punishment to prevent greater danger in the future.


This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.

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