Back in the headlines is the issue of drug manufacturing and smuggling via Syria and Lebanon to Arab countries through the liaisons of Iran, Syrian Regime, and Hezbollah. A few days ago, the Jordanian army announced a qualitative operation on the Syrian-Jordanian border that ended in the killing of four smugglers.
The Captagon industry is notoriously active in the areas controlled by Hezbollah in the border areas. The drug is transported between Lebanon and Syria and it is later smuggled to Jordan and other Arab countries. The latest fruits and vegetables shipments hiding Captagon pills that were seized in Saudi Arabia illustrate how such smuggling operations take place almost on a daily basis.
From the Syrian side, Major General Maher al-Assad, brother of Bashar al-Assad and commander of the Fourth Division in the Syrian army, is directly responsible for the manufacturing and export of Captagon. The funny thing is that not only is Maher responsible for drug trafficking, with the knowledge of his brother and blessing, but even the locations of Captagon laboratories have become known. If the Assad regime was truly a victim of this trade as it had deluded, it would have razed down those laboratories, knowing that nothing deterred its warplanes from bombing civilians. The reality, however, is that the Captagon laboratories are adorned with signs of a closed military zone and Assad’s soldiers protect them.
This is not the first Jordanian’s army operation against smugglers on the borders with Syria. The shipment confiscated a few days ago was not the first and it will not be the last. Only last year, the Jordanian army announced that it had thwarted 361 drug infiltration and smuggling attempts, and confiscated more than 15 million Captagon pills. So how many smuggling operations succeeded? And how many Captagon pills managed to find their way through? Jordan is not the only victim of the Syrian regime and Hezbollah when it comes to drug trafficking. The Egyptian authorities have previously seized four tons of hashish packed in baby milk cartons belonging to a company owned by Rami Makhlouf, Assad’s cousin (before their dispute). The Saudi authorities also seized two shipments hiding 45 million pills in matte boxes, coming from Syria from a company owned by a member of the Assad family. There also the shipments that were seized in Greece, Italy, among other countries.
The Syrian regime truly deserves the title of a “drug lord.” The French newspaper "Le Monde" previously revealed that the Assad regime has developed the Captagon industry to support its economy. A study issued by the Center for Operational Analysis and Research (COAR) described Syria as the “global epicenter of Captagon production” and revealed that Captagon exports from Syria reached a market value of USD3.46 billion.
Probably part of why the Assad regime and Hezbollah are highly skilled in drug manufacturing and trafficking is to finance their operations, especially amidst the worsening economic sanctions against them. Many of their funding sources were dried up, knowing that Hezbollah was established in the nineties of the last century as a network for drug trafficking and money laundering. Imad Moghnieh founded it as an additional source of funding, in addition to the money the party received from Iran. Likewise, the Syrian regime's drug activity dates back to more than thirty years.
However, is it only the need for money that drives Iran's agents to flood Arab countries with drugs? Or are drugs also a weapon used by the Islamic Republic against the Arab countries that are not aligned with it? Drugs are as lethal as the militia artilleries that Tehran has deployed in the region.
One day, Hassan Nasrallah, the Secretary-General of Hezbollah, proudly bragged in front of the entire world that he is a soldier in the Wilayat al-Faqih party, and that the guardianship of his command and his party and the decision of war and peace are in the hands of the Wali al-Faqih. So, what is the head of the Syrian regime, Bashar al-Assad, waiting to say the same? Knowing that he is the one who turned Syria into a corridor used by Iran to spread chaos, terrorism and drugs in the Arab countries.