June 14th, 2010
The war on terror in Afghanistan can’t be won so long as traders in drugs continue to reap enormous profits, writes Alexei Pilko
The structure of international relations has undergone a sea change in recent years: Now, one of its features is that so-called non-state actors have greatly expanded their reach, to the detriment of the global situation. Non-state actors are global political entities that act outside the realm of international law. They include extremist, radical and terrorist organisations, fundamentalist movements, criminal syndicates and commercial entities engaged in illegal activities. The international drug mafia is undoubtedly one of the most influential non-state actors in the world.
The drug mafia, as a non-state actor in global politics, is distinguished by its decentralised and networked structure. It is essentially indestructible because, like the Lernaean hydra of Greek mythology, for every head it loses, it grows two more. Like all businesses, its goal is simple and clear: To make the largest profit possible. The drug mafia’s network now covers the entire globe. There are producer countries — Afghanistan (opium poppy) and Columbia. Drugs from these countries are transported to consumer countries through transit regions — Central Asia, Central America and the Middle East. The profitable markets of Russia, the European Union and the United States (coca bush) form the endpoint in the supply chain.
In a number of cases, the drug mafia enjoys considerable public support, and any efforts to fight it could provoke a backlash of popular anger. This is why the powerful Nato-led coalition focuses on counter-terrorism in Afghanistan and shies away from taking on Afghan drug producers. The recent attempt of Jamaican authorities to arrest drug lord Christopher Coke vividly shows what can happen in this case. The confrontation between his supporters and police resulted in a heavy street fighting in Kingston.
However, it would be wrong to draw parallels between Jamaica and the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. Afghanistan is a unique case. It is, in effect, the world’s only narco-state, and as such, it warrants special attention. The lion’s share of revenue in the Afghan economy comes from the production of heroin, the world’s most dangerous drug. The country’s black market is several times bigger than its legal economy. The drug mafia plays a special role in Afghanistan, and it is aided in its criminal activities by the Taliban, Government officials who have business ties with drug lords and the Nato-led coalition which prefers to turn a blind eye to the problem. As a result, the political system that has taken shape in Afghanistan can be described as a form of drug-fueled military feudalism in which real power belongs exclusively to local warlords, who are closely involved with drug trafficking.
This is fertile ground for the drug mafia. Economically, it stands to gain from the destabilisation currently plaguing Afghanistan. But the drug lords are never content. They are always interested in expanding their business. This is a cause for concern in the important transit countries in Central Asia. By buying off local authorities and forming relationships with the local communities and businesses, the drug mafia is securing its foothold in this strategically important region.
In light of these circumstances, the counter-terrorist operation launched in Afghanistan in the wake of the September 11 attacks has lost all meaning. The drug mafia will provide the Taliban and Al Qaeda with unlimited funds to maintain its position in the country. Fighting them will become nothing more than a battle with windmills. To win the war against terrorism in Afghanistan, we must first deal a blow to its deeply entrenched drug mafia. This will require an effective combination of force, on the one hand, and social and economic measures on the other.
We must also work toward economic renewal in Afghanistan and the creation of a normal economy to replace the current feudal-criminal economy. The international community should initiate an open dialogue to find a solution to the Afghan crisis. This process must be rooted in a clear understanding of the fact that the terrorist threat in Afghanistan is now second to the drug threat.
Source: The Pioneer
Things never change do they?!?! Until the powers at be realize that drug cartels would not grow and flourish around the world, sponsoring and funding terrorism wherever they go, if North America, Europe, Australia, and I guess now Russia, did not have such a large market for drug consumption!!!
Many years ago I lived in Colombia and attended a presentation by the US State Department on the US govt. "Plan Colombia" policy. At the end of the presentation I asked the ever present question "As long as drug consumption in the US (et al.) continues to grow and flourish drug production will continue to grow. Getting rid of it in Colombia will just make it "pop up" elsewhere! So what comprehensive steps is the American government doing to reduce drug consumption within its borders?!?"
And, the US State Department civil servant in his infinite wisdom responded "What do you care lady, as long as we get rid of them here!!!!" At the time I bit my tongue on my response of "Well, that is one of the stupidest things I have ever heard. Of course I care, I am sick of messed up parents, bringing up messed up kids, with everyone needing their respective drugs (legal, illegal, and prescription) in order to survive."
Now after having first moving back to Europe and now the USA and becoming involved in Children's Rights issues in both countries, I have gotten the true answer to my question of so many years ago. "The USA and Europe (et al.) are doing their gog darn best to assure that the demand for drugs grows at a steady if not exponential rate, within their borders!!!!"
If those in power do not start to bring in a bit of logic and reason to their policies and decisions, then problems such as those occurring in Afghanistan will continue to permeate and over-run our planet.
This is where the REAL War on Terror lies!!!!!!