Trafficking of Narcotic in the GCC Countries

Running head: DRUG TRAFFICKING 1
Trafficking of Narcotic in the GCC Countries
Student’s Name
Institutional Affiliation
Trafficking of Narcotic in the GCC Countries
Illicit trafficking of narcotics in the Gulf Cooperation Council Countries (GCC) has
become a menace over the last decade. It is believed that the colossal amount of money
generated from the illegal trade is used to fund criminal groups such as Al Qaeda. This is a major
crime considering that the region observes strict rules and religious norms.
The problem of narcotics no longer affects a single country or a group of nations. It also
causes massive decline in the health of individuals, families, and communities (Middle East and
North Africa Financial Action Task Force [MENAFATF], 2011). Additionally, drug trafficking
increases crime rates, corruption, and violence. Although illegal drug trafficking does not
directly lead to violence, enough evidence is available concerning the relationship between the
trade and insecurity (Snyder & Duran, 2009). Numerous finances and other resources are used to
combat the illegal drug trade at the expense of social and economic development. The problem is
more rampant in developed countries such as the United States. In the GCC, the issue is a prime
concern in Dubai where thousands of individuals are involved in it. For example, several British
expatriates have been jailed by Kuwaiti’s criminal court after they were found guilty of
smuggling drugs into the country. Rutherford, a civil contractor, was arrested while trafficking
49 kilograms of hashish (, 2017). In 2009, several American nationals were arrested
for peddling cannabis in Kuwait through the military postal services.
Security forces in Dubai have conducted major drug raids targeting the foreigners.
During these operations, hundreds of kilograms of heroin and over 650, 000 Captagon pills have
been recovered by the police and customs department (, 2017). Notably, many
immigrants to GCC from the Western states blatantly flout the local laws. For example, about 60
British citizens have been incarcerated in the GCC in the last one year for drug-related offenses.
Again, another renowned artist was sentenced to a four-year jail term after he was found in
possession of two kilograms of cocaine and other substances. Apart from that, a UN’s agency,
International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), which monitors drug activities, warned the GCC
of an increasing trend in the number of drug traffickers in the region (, 2017). In the
report, it cautioned that heroin and cocaine are frequently smuggled through the network of
airports, free zones, and marine ports with the United Arab Emirates being the major entry point.
Additionally, the counter-narcotics agency informed the GCC head that drug barons were
increasingly taking advantage of the war and political turmoil in Iraq to smuggle drugs into the
country. INCB categorically highlighted that heroin, cannabis, and cocaine were transported
from Mexico and the U.S. to Jordan and later to the Arabian Peninsula. Notably, Iraq, Syria, and
Jordan are the crucial smuggling zones used by barons to gain access to the GCC. Interestingly,
the Gulf Region would not be termed as an area of concern in relation to drugs due to the strict
rules. Evidently, the governments of particular countries within the region have stringent
regulations that are clearly stipulated in the Quran. Researchers have noted an unusual concern
that the GCC has for a long time been termed as a drug-free zone. Nonetheless, the trade zones
have been converted to international transit points for most of the illicit narcotics (,
2017). Other interesting statistics reveal that one-third of all global seizures of illegal drugs
happened in Saudi Arabia, GCC’s largest country. During the operation, over 50 million tablets
of Captagon, 70 kilograms of heroin, and 17 tons of hashish were seized between January and
April in 2009 (, 2017). With such outrageous statistics, necessary measures need to
be put in place to curb the rising cases of drug trafficking within the GCC countries.
After the grand drug seizure at Saudi Arabia, the directors of anti-drug abuse at the GCC
converged in Qatar to deliberate on the way forward. Their aim was to develop and strengthen
coordination among member states to aid in fighting drug peddling. During the meeting, several
policies were drafted to help in curbing the menace. First, they unanimously agreed to set up a
unitary anti-criminal strategy aimed at addressing issues of international crime. Notably,
narcotics traffickers that have high organizational structures such as Hizballah operate globally.
They trade in the United States, Lebanon, Burma, and Colombia. For example, in a raid
conducted in 2008, more than 130 criminals were arrested and about 360 kilograms of cocaine
seized (Killebrew, 2011). A majority of the arrestees were Lebanese allied to an international
militant group, Taliban which is affiliated to Al Qaeda. This law allowed the local authorities in
the GCC countries to arrest, prosecute, and jail drug barons. Again, if an Iraqi citizen was
arrested in the UAE either smuggling or peddling narcotics, the policy provided for immediate
prosecution in the country of arrest. The law abolished the safe repatriation clause in every
country that required foreign arrestees to be deported to their countries for trial. The policy is
still effective and has greatly facilitated the reduction of illicit drugs in the GCC bloc.
The attending members noted with great concern that corruption at the customs offices as
well as the clearance sections in the airports heavily contributed to smuggling of drugs into the
region. Apart from that, they pointed out that security agencies were mostly compromised by
traffickers to allow the passage of narcotics (United Nations, 2009). As a result, they had to draft
a policy to reduce this aberrant behavior. The Dubai’s representative proposed a law that could
first address the crimes that generate corruption and violence. In this regard, they agreed to have
a comprehensive rule based on reducing demand and supply. Since they realized that some
traffickers had started planting the drugs in secluded places, they agreed to use helicopters to
spray and destroy them. Again, they resolved to increase awareness on the effects of drug use
and trafficking through various media platforms and civil societies (Kuna, 2017). The policy was
effective even though it failed to provide a long-term solution.
Finally, GCC’s Anti-Narcotics directors resolved to establish a common police agency to
solely handle drug trafficking and peddling both internally and internationally. They agreed to
allocate sufficient financial resources towards the same and purchasing advanced equipment that
could detect drugs (United Nations, 2009). The troops were dispatched to the major sea ports,
airports, customs offices, and the boarders as those were the major entry and exit points. Few of
them were assigned to guard the major cities and report any drug-related activities. In the first
three years of operation, the agency was effective as it confiscated massive volumes of different
types of narcotics. It succeeded in informing the general public about the various effects of drug
abuse and trafficking (Sweileh et al., 2014). The Drug Combating Unit held frequent progress
evaluation meeting with the GCC’s Anti-Drug directors. However, after some time, the agency
lacked a clearly defined structure of operation and started weakening. It was later abolished in
December and left the country susceptible to frequent cases of drug trafficking.
Despite the effectiveness of the policies, some changes can be made to the existing ones
to strengthen them and increase their efficiency. Notably, the major drug zone in the GCC area is
Captagon. Since the abolishment of the Drug Combating Unit, the region has been flooded with
drug traffickers and peddlers. Therefore, it would be important to establish a unified GCC team
with the aim of combating narcotics use, arresting the barons, and prosecuting them. Again, the
directors need to establish an emergency response unit to complement local efforts in the fight
against drug trafficking in the region.
Notably, the directors serving in GCC’s Anti-Drug agency have been working for over 10
years with little success in the fight against drug trade. As such, I would recommend an overhaul
to pave the way for new and vibrant individuals who would more committed to alleviating the
problem. Such a reshuffle effectively introduces a new approach for managing the problem.
Notably, the members have failed in ensuring that the region is free of drug. Therefore, a change
of the agency’s management would guarantee success. Apart from that, each government from
the respective countries needs to amend the existing Anti-Drug laws to allow the GCC members
to wield full authority to arrest and charge those found in possession or trafficking narcotics.
Finally, since the major impediment to fighting drug trafficking is the internal wrangles between
GCC countries, it would be appropriate to adopt a policy that promotes cooperation among the
nations (Killebrew, 2011). Instead of engaging in the supremacy battles, the nations should be
more focused on curbing the menace.
Illegal drug trafficking in has been on the rise in many countries around the globe. The
Gulf Cooperation Council Countries (GCC) has been on the spotlight for an upsurge in such
activities. Notably, the region comprises countries such as Dubai, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Iran.
Despite the GCC having stringent rules against drug use, trafficking is rampant as the major
seaports and airports serve as the entry and exit points for narcotics. Although numerous policies
have been adopted to curb the menace, little success is achieved due to corruption, extortion, and
other social vices. As such, the existing ones need to be amended or changed altogether. For
example, the GCC needs to constitute a new body that espouses the values of all countries to
manage the problem.
Alarabiya.Net. (2017, April 9). The Gulf cracks down on major drug trafficking. Alarabiya
News. Retrieved from
Killebrew, R. (2011). Criminal insurgency in the Americas and beyond. Prism, 2, 33-52.
Retrieved from
Kuna. (2017, April 10). Kuwait hails joint effort against drug traffickers. Kuwait Times.
Retrieved from
Middle East and North Africa Financial Action Task Force (MENAFATF). (2011). Illicit
trafficking in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances and money laundering.
Retrieved from
Robins, P. (2014). Narcotic drugs in Dubai: Lurking in the shadows. British Journal of Middle
Eastern Studies, 41(2), 151-166.
Snyder, R., & Duran-Martinez, A. (2009). Does illegality breed violence? Drug trafficking and
state-sponsored protection rackets. Crime, Law and Social Change, 52(3), 253-273. 10.1007/s10611-009-9195-z
Sweileh, W. M., Sa’ed, H. Z., Al-Jabi, S. W., & Sawalha, A. F. (2014). Substance use disorders
in Arab countries: Research activity and bibliometric analysis. Substance Abuse
Treatment, Prevention, and Policy, 9(1), 33.
United Nations. (2009). Successful fight against drug trafficking, transnational organized crime
requires interlocking national, regional, international strategies, third committee told.
Retrieved from

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