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Guest Thinkers

The drug trade and Yemen

Writing in the Yemen Observer, Nasser Arrabyee- to whose blog we have linked here, and to which you should go every day- has a brief article about the drug trade flourishing in Yemen. It is short, so I am just going to paste the whole thing below.

Yemen and Gulf Council Countries (GCC) are facing a hidden drugs war aimed at undermining their security and stability, said a Yemeni official Tuesday.

“Yemen and GCC are facing now a hidden war by the international mafia of drugs which aims to undermine the security and stability in these countries,” said Colonel Mutahar al-Shuaibi, director of the Sana’a Central Prison.

There are more than 210 men in the prison now, who were arrested while trading drugs inside Yemen and trafficking to the neighboring countries, he said.

He made it clear that most of the accused are Syrian nationals, and the others are Yemenis, Saudis, Kuwaitis, Pakistanis, and Iranians.

The reasons behind the increasing activity of drug dealers in Yemen and its borders with the GCC are the lack of control over the 2500 km long coast, lack of resources, training, and equipments with the Yemen security agencies, said al-Shuaibi.

Director of the country’s largest prison called for establishing a center for treating and rehabilitating the addicts in the framework of combating drugs and addiction in Yemen.

Earlier this year, officials at the Ministry of Interior said that more than 27 tons of Hashish and about 14 million capsules of various drugs were confiscated by security units during 2008.

While during 2007, about five tons of Hashish and five million capsules were confiscated, according to official statistics.

As central authority in Yemen continues to weaken, you’ll be seeing more and more stories like this. And it is plausible to believe that many of the anti-government groups will, if not align, form deal of convenience with drug-smugglers. Safe passage for money (it isn’t as if the “piety” of the Taliban made them shun the opium trade).

In The Merger, published in 2000, journalist Jeffery Robinson talks about the links between globalized, transnational crime syndicates. I remember being completely gobsmacked when I read it, and, as the years progressed, there was talk of Qaeda using these networks. It is safe to hazard that the harmonious pattern between loose states and tight syndicates will continue in Yemen. More and more- and more and more sadly- it seems much of the globes pathologies are concentrated in the beautiful corner of the Arabian penninsula.


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