Narcotics, a Silent Threat (2)
The issue of drug trafficking has passed through many ups and downs; but the question is that why and how has this phenomenon turned into a global challenge?
Many years have passed since the time the United Nations put the control of drug abuse and campaign against its trafficking on the agenda. However, the UN is far distant from obliterating illicit drugs and its abuse as it has been trapped in political currents.
In 1909 the Shanghai Conference made an effort to address the issue of drugs via formation of an international cooperation. The two major conventions of 1961 and 1971 were issued and international organizations were shaped to materialize these efforts. Then, on June 26, 1987 Vienna hosted a conference to declare the will of nations for fighting the ominous phenomenon of drugs. A 4-chapter document was compiled which included over 35 measures such as evaluation of consumption rate, prevention via education, role of media in returning addicts to the social life and treating them, eradication of illegal poppy fields, destruction of main drug smuggling networks, and legal cooperation of states.
A look at the way this program was implemented shows that it has not met expectations; so that the United Nations has expressed concern over spread of drug trafficking and called for broadening and bolstering of global collaborations to achieve the goals of conventions for campaign against illicit drugs. According to the statistics of United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), heroin consumption amounts to 340 tons per year while 430-450 tons of this substance enter the global market annually.
The narcotics made at main centers of production enter global markets via different corridors. The Balkans and the North are the main corridors of trafficking heroin from Afghanistan to the big markets of Russian Federation and western Europe. The Balkans corridor extends from Pakistan to Iran, Turkey, Greece and Bulgaria. This corridor transfers narcotics from West Asia to southeast Europe and the western European market. Experts believe that drug transit via Balkans corridor has an annual value of nearly 20 billion dollars. The Northern corridor, too, transfers narcotics from Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan or Uzbekistan or Turkmenistan to Kazakhstan and Russian Federation. The value of drugs transferred via this route is estimated to be 13 billion dollars per year. The Islamic Republic of Iran is located in the corridor connecting Europe to Afghanistan which is the main producer of opium. The UN has reported that the region straddling on the Pak-Afghan border is one of the vast free zones for illegal trade of drugs in the world. As per the UN figures, currently the drug trade constitutes 15% of Afghanistan's GDP.
History shows that China was the first country in which narcotics were smuggled and distributed and the Chinese had been the first victims of this destructive phenomenon.
John Coleman, a former member of the British spying agency MI6, in his book "Committee of 300" writes that the Committee 300 is the main stealthy organization which directs all global transactions in the domain of narcotics. According to another account, opium as a narcotic substance, entered India first and then China. With the arrival of the Spanish, the Dutch and the British in Asia in the 17th century, opium consumption was increased. One of the main factors behind spread of drug addiction was the British East India Company. This company had changed vast swaths of Indian farms to poppy fields and massive production of opium needed huge markets out of India. In 1820s-1830s, British capitalists were eying China as a gargantuan market for drug consumption which they got access to. Regarding the colossal profit of drug trade, the British began producing narcotics immensely in India and the Indian opium would be exported to China. This was a very lucrative for the British. Hence, they forced the Indian villagers to harvest poppy and export opium to China in exchange for tea, silk and other Chinese products. This led to nothing but calamity for the Chinese. The people of China, sensing the stakes of opium import; so that, with the edict of Emperor Daoguang, the law for banning of opium consumption was approved and executed. In order to fight the drug trade, two wars of 1840-42 and 1856-58 occurred between Britain and China. Britain was the victor due to military and economic supremacy. Thus, it legalized opium trade as an imposed law in China. In this way, narcotics spread to every stratum and class in China and millions of drug addicts caused a plethora of socio-economic catastrophes for the Chinese nation.
Global examinations indicate that the US spying apparatus (CIA) is the directing center for drug trade. It is mentioned in the book, "White Death, CIA and Narcotics" that the CIA had clandestinely collaborated with other criminal organizations in the domain of narcotics trade. The book continues that one of the reasons for the American invasion of Afghanistan was to restore drug trade to CIA and benefiting from its tremendous economic revenues. Drug trafficking has now entered the layers of world politics and the drug mafia is the orchestrator of the scene. Therefore, the global campaign against this devilish phenomenon has been undermined by hegemonic powers. Considering the enormous volume of investment in drug market, it can be understood how much illegal assets are circulated in the global market. These assets, due to being fluid, can pose serious threat to the economy of countries. In view of globalization of this sinister trade, it is seen that transfer of these substances have gone beyond the borders of a single country. The continuation of this trend has caused expansion of drug trafficking gangs which, at times, have faced harsh criminal punishments in the world. These gangs cross through borders of countries easily and keep narcotics out of the national and international watchdogs.
The increase of narcotics consumption has led to catastrophic consequences for different countries. This cannot be solved except with a comprehensive global plan and resolve.