Smugglers 'routing drugs to GCC via Iraq'
Manama, March 19, 2008
Bahrain and its Gulf neighbours face a 'relentless war' against massive drug smuggling as criminals are using war-torn Iraq to transit Afghan heroin into Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries, says a United Nations report.
The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) 2007 report also states that abuse of amphetamine-type stimulants continues to spread in various West Asian countries, including Iran and several on the Arabian Peninsula.
Bahrain-based UN Information Centre director Nejib Friji said Gulf countries had done much to stem the constant tide of drug smuggling, but more should be done.
'Illicit drug trafficking ranges from individual dealers to sophisticated organised crime networks that should be tackled through concerted efforts,' he told the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication.
'The Gulf countries, within GCC agreements, and Arab countries, within the Council of Interior Ministries, have managed to reach high levels of co-operation and co-ordination that prevent them from being affected by this ordeal.
'It would not be realistic to claim victory as this plague will unfortunately need relentless efforts in the near, mid-term and long-term.'
Friji said only co-operation between countries on national, regional and global levels would help tackle the problem.
'Obviously stability plays a major role in combating production and the illicit trafficking of drugs,' he said.
'The lack of stability in Afghanistan and Iraq contributed to the proliferation of drugs in terms of production and trafficking, therefore the UN has always stressed the need for stability and peace to ensure social balance.'-TradeArabia News Service