Will Assad and Haftar benefit from each other’s illicit drug trade?
THE SYRIAN DICTATOR AND LIBYAN MILITARY HAVE WORKED TOGETHER SILENTLY TO AMASS WEALTH FROM ILLICIT DRUG TRAFFICKING, AND BOTH LIBYA AND SYRIA ARE ACCUSED OF EXPLOITING CIVIL WAR CONDITIONS.
For centuries, warlords and dictators have created opportunities for political instability, using the cover of wars and conflicts to thrive illegally.
For nearly a decade bloody civil wars have killed millions of civilians, in Libya and Syria, which have destroyed most of the country’s infrastructure, and the two strongholds are still holding ground and proving to be excellent war-profits.
These men are Bashar al-Assad of Syria, whose family swept the country with an iron fist for four decades, and Khalifa Haftar, a former disgraceful CIA-operative who eventually accepted the life of a warrior in the conflict in Libya.
It is reported that the two have now developed a working relationship to handle violence-filled agendas in an already chaotic Middle East. They are accused of allowing illicit drug trafficking through the Mediterranean ports under their control along the Syrian and Libyan sea borders.
“Haftar’s military investment commission has begun with the Assad regime long ago to open a maritime and airspace to create a black economy, helping the regime to avoid sanctions and gain financially,” wrote the UN’s interior minister in Libya, Fatih Bashaga. Accredited National Agreement (GNA) on Twitter.
Libyan military officer Khalifa Haftar is pictured on October 14, 2017 in Benghazi, Libya.
(Essam Omran Al-Fetter / Reuters Archive)
Since the beginning of the Civil War, Libya has had two rival governments – one headed by the GNA, the other headed by Tripoli, the country’s capital in the west, and the Libyan National Army (LNA) in Haftar. In Benghazi in the east.
Turkey and Qatar support the internationally accredited GNA, while Russia, the strong ally of France, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Assad, supports Haftar.
On April 12, Egyptian customs officials in Bashagga, Port Said, “seized four tonnes of hashish aboard an AG crown that had come from Syria and sailed to the port of Benghazi.”
“The drugs were placed in milk cartons made by a Syrian company, Milkman, owned by a Syrian businessman listed in the US and European sanctions regulations,” further explained the illegal trade between Bashag Haftar and the Assad regime.
Syrian businessman Rami Makhlouf, referred to as a Syrian businessman, is one of Syria’s most powerful oligarchs and the owner of Milkman. He also becomes a cousin of Assad.
In this April 24, 2010 file photo, Rami Makhlouf, a cousin of Syrian President Bashar Assad and one of the country’s wealthiest businessmen, takes part in a program to inaugurate a hotel project in Damascus, Syria.
Makhlouf is Syria’s richest man, he owns half the wealth of Syria. But under Russian pressure, he seems to have been out of favor for Assad lately. He is facing the prospect of losing most of his assets as the Assad regime begins to oppress his companies.
Prior to Egypt’s discovery, in late April, Saudi Arabia seized Syrian cargo from Assad-controlled areas in the eastern Al Batha port of the Empire and its western king Abdullah. There are about 44.7 million drug pills placed in herbal beverage packages.
Two Mafia-type heroes: Assad and Haftar
Behind the scenes, Haftar of Libya and Assad of Syria have long cooperated with each other using a variety of methods, including illicit trade.
But in March, the Syrian regime and Haftar’s LNA took their relationship to a new level as they signed an agreement to open their respective territories in their respective territories.
“The memorandum of understanding was signed to reopen diplomatic and embassy operations,” Sanaa, the official news agency of the Syrian regime, said, referring to the agreement between the Haftar forces and the Assad regime.
Since then, they are clearly still working together.
The Assad family and former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, who was assassinated in 2011 during the Arab Spring Movement, are known for their illicit links with drug traffickers, smugglers and mafia-style entities.
If the Assad family is able to survive the Arab Spring at a brutal cost to the Syrian people, Haftar, the former general of Libya’s dictator, has the ambition to become the next Gaddafi of the North African state.
The damaged images of Syrian regime leader Bashar al-Assad and his father, former president Hafiz al-Assad, can be seen in the storage tanks in Deir al-Jor, Syria, on September 20, 2017.
(Omar Sanadicki / Reuters Archive)
In the 1990s, during the Syrian occupation of Lebanon’s affluent Bekaa Valley, the Assad family benefited more from illicit drug trafficking than anyone else, said Melvin Levitsky, former assistant secretary of state for international drug issues and US representative for the International Drug Abuse. Control Board.
“Bekaa Valley supplies half of the heroin consumed in Europe and accounts for more than 50 percent of Syria’s foreign revenues, and is a rich source of income for Hafiz al-Assad’s brother, Rafat,” aide George C US Attorney for the US Department of Justice and National Security Prosecutor, in a comprehensive article.
Hafiz al-Assad was Bashar al-Assad’s father and former president of Syria.
“Syria is a drug trade, and the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has named Syria a major drug trafficking and trafficking country in the major heroin and marijuana trade,” Crahey continued.
“The Syrian Army is directly involved in traffic, allowing heroin to be used as a control point to extract monetary respect from smugglers and use of trucks and helicopters to transport narcotics off the Lebanese coast,” Krehe added.
Various Organized Crime Monitoring Groups have said that if Syria retreated from the Bekaa Valley in 2005, the Assad regime would somehow benefit from the illegal drug trade.
“The primary ports of Latakia and Tartus (in Syria) provide direct access to shipping lanes for shippers to get captains to markets in the Arabian peninsula and elsewhere. “Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime, prepared globally by the Illegal Trade Oversight Group.”
Bashagha asserted that “the Assad regime is financing its activities globally by smuggling narcotics through eastern ports to many countries, including Libya, through Syria.” Controlled by.
Bashagha’s claims about the Haftar-Assad connection have been supported by previous research by international groups such as the Global Initiative.
“Libya serves as the captain’s reshuffle and hashish shipped from Syria to countries or potential destination markets in East Africa (especially Sudan) and elsewhere,” the Global Initiative report said.
“Maritime law enforcement within the region has become a hub for organized crime transport not only for illegal immigrants in Europe but also for trafficking of illegal drugs throughout the region,” the report added.
The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views and editorial stance of the SOHR.