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Arab security officials discuss anti-drug strategy

By Monia Ghanmi for Magharebia in Tunis – 16/10/12

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The sale of drugs has become a key financier of terrorism in the Arab world because terrorist organisations sponsor this trade and protect its routes throughout the region.

Heads of Arab anti-drug agencies recently concluded a two-day conference in Tunis with calls for activating co-operation to crack down on the narcotics trade.

Arab Interior Ministers' Council Secretary-General Mohamed Ibn Ali Koumen said at the meeting, which ended on October 4th , "the transformations that have defined the Arab region since last year have left the borders of some countries hazy". "Smuggling gangs including drug cartels benefit from this situation. The insecurity at some of these borders has strengthened the links between organised crime gangs, allowing the drug trade to finance terrorism." He added.

High-ranking officials from Arab states, representatives of the Arab League, the International Criminal Police Organisation (INTERPOL), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), as well as university professors and security experts attended the event.

Participants recommended enhancing the monitoring of shared borders. They emphasised the need to strengthen the exchange of information and control of smuggling routes of cocaine through West African states, as well as smuggling of precursors across the Gulf states.

The conference called on member-states to accord a substantial role in their national plans to local communities in policing drugs and psychotropic substances. Close partnership between police and local communities is crucial to the fight against narcotics and psychotropic substances.

The drug trade flourished in the region after the Arab Spring uprisings as a result of lax security, according to the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB).

Koumen attributed this to the Arab world's geographical location as a transit area between producing and consuming countries.

In addition, smuggling gangs are exploiting the poverty and deprivation in some areas to promote the distribution and consumption of narcotics, he said. He also noted that the political and security situation in some areas adjacent to the Arab world have led to the emergence of new smuggling routes for drugs and various terror and organised crime gangs.

The INCB report described the African continent a major problem in the drug trade. It is a conduit for all types of drugs coming from South America in the direction of markets in Europe, where these drugs are stored and smuggled through countries such as Morocco, Nigeria and Mauritania.

Morocco is one of the world's largest producers of hashish, 60% of which goes to Egypt, Europe, the Gulf and North America, according to the INCB. If unchecked, drug trafficking and consequent cross-border crimes would undermine the development, stability and security of Africa.

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  1. Anonymous thumb

    mohamed de rabat 2012-10-30

    Morocco is one of the largest producers of hashish in the world. This is a shame for a King who believes himself to be Muslim. Starting today, I am against this King.


  2. Anonymous thumb

    limakarim 2012-10-23

    Drug trafficking is an international phenomenon often practiced by the high-ups who hold high offices in the state. This is why this kind of smuggling will never end. When you find that ministers and even heads of states exercising it, how do you expect the services responsible for repressing this illegal business to be able to fight against this scourge, that is increasingly growing by the day. But, in order to cover up their activities, these authorities are giving their orders to the agents charged with fighting this trafficking to stop specific smugglers and use them as scapegoats to cover their prohibited activities in this domain. If these authorities stop, you will notice a big drop in this trafficking around the world.


  3. Anonymous thumb

    makhzan de rabat 2012-10-23

    Production and export of the cannabis resin (hashish).Morocco is ranked in the head of the countries producing and exporting of this drug,, which constitutes along with terrorism, the two main aspects of transnational organised crime. So what then???


  4. Anonymous thumb

    El Fessi 2012-10-22

    Morocco is a hegemonic, drug-trafficking monarchy that is aggressive towards its neighbours and tyrannical towards its people, who are suffering greatly from poverty, a police state, unemployment and drug-addiction of young and old people, etc. What’s more, it is enslaved to predatory imperialist interests.


  5. Anonymous thumb

    Anonymous 2012-10-20

    Why are you voting against this article? It is very good, team Magharebia. You are showing that the King and his family are rich only because of cannabis. Did Islam say this? The Royal family needs to be taken from their authority and punished for drug trafficking.


  6. Anonymous thumb

    Marocain mouslim 2012-10-16

    Morocco, where Mohamed VI is king, is one of the biggest hashish producers in the world. You want Algeria to open the border when it is your turn to put an end to drug smuggling. Start with the cannabis production. Otherwise, Algeria is going to establish punishments for all traffickers and the border will remain sealed until the Kinglet destroys production and sets death sentences for it. If the King is Muslim, he must do it.