Transnational Crime in Syria

Criminal productions were changing legal business markets, corrupting the conditions of society and demoralizing the social institutions, the government of the United States stated to the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) regarding a general debate on crime, criminal justice, drug prevention and the discussion of an international convention to manage the phenomenon of drug-trafficking as an transnational criminal affair involving the countries of Korea, Israel, Venezuela, Algeria and Syria (Ghazzal, 2007).

Those criminal groups needed pliable host States to facilitate their work, and several such countries had begun to emerge, he warned (Campbell, 1999). The Illegal drug organizations had initiated their moves in order to substantially increase the profit generations, diversify holdings and widen the scope of their operation. The United Nations International Drug Control Programme (UNIDCP) could not possibly match funds with such criminal organizations, and States should take up the slack and protect its citizens.

Some of the mentioned countries had tried to initiate diversions towards a different action by inaugurating a different perspective of crime and drug prevention programs (Dana, 2003 p. 290). According to the Syrian representative, Fayssal Mecdad, “crime and illicit drug trafficking posed a growing threat to humanity and future generations. The coordination of international efforts to curb criminality, enforce laws and technical” (Ma’Oz, 1999 p. 239). Syria initiated its utmost actions to obtain its target in controlling and possibly eliminating, drug-related crimes (Campbell, 1999 p.317).

The government organs in Syria, along with those of other Arab States, were trying to put an end to the abuse of drugs (Lawson, 1996 p. 317). There was no manufacturing of drugs in Syria, and the League of Arab States was cooperating with international organs to implement the targets of drug control (Dana, 2003 p. 289). Political will to combat the transfer of drugs through Syrian territories was quite firm and it would not budge in its beliefs. In addition, the Government rejected and deplored terrorism, which was perpetrated to achieve criminal gain.

It reiterated this belief because Syria drew a distinction between terrorism and the just struggle of people for liberation. The crime of occupation was a kind terrorism, if not a greater crime (Ghazzal, 2007). Bush’s decision to wage war against Iraq was another setback in efforts to combat the problem of drugs. It is believed that, in the past, the United States has been a silent spectator with regard to Syria’s role in drug trafficking, due to the key role Syria has played in hostage release negotiations (MacLeod, 2001 p.

431). Bush’s Persian Gulf War further compromised US, willingness to criticize Syria’s drug trafficking, since it was functioning as an ally against Iraq (Lawson, 1996 p. 318). One could also surmise that Syria maintains the position of intermediary for the United States precisely because the U. S. government will turn a “blind eye” on its drug trafficking industry. Drug production in the Middle East, particularly in Lebanon, soared during the 1980s (Dana, 2003 p. 289). Over the last decade, drug production in Lebanon has soared.

The drugs are grown principally in the Bekaa Valley region in eastern Lebanon, which has been controlled by Syria since 1976. By 1990, Lebanon had an annual production of about four million pounds of hashish and over 20,000 pounds of heroin. This amounted to more than $4 billion in profits in 1990 alone (MacLeod, 2001 p. 432). Drugs have become Lebanon’s single largest export commodity. A small portion is used internally, but the bulk, 75 percent, goes to Egypt, Israel, Europe, and North America.

About 20 percent of all heroin in the United States, roughly 2,500 pounds, comes from Lebanon. More than half of Europe’s heroin is from the region (DeLong and Lukeman, 2004 p. 88). Drug trafficking is controlled by the Syrians and can be traced to an inner circle in the Syrian government. In 1989, this circumstance led to Syria being denied U. S. certification verifying that it was addressing the drug problem. The potential impact of this refusal could have cost Syria half the amount of money it normally received in foreign and military aid (Dana, 2003 p. 289).