At the inaugural meeting of the US-led “Global Coalition Against Synthetic Drugs,” Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen called for the development of a regional coalition to address the industrial-scale production and distribution of Syrian narcotics.
He noted that “the main culprit in the distribution of the drug is the al-Assad regime which must be held accountable for its actions and we must impose significant sanctions on this drug-distributing regime.”
Fortunately, the State Department already has a blueprint for action: its new congressionally mandated strategy to “disrupt and dismantle” al-Assad-linked narcotics networks.
While the strategy presents clear and constructive goals, improvements must be made in defining actionable steps the administration can take to ensure that the al-Assad regime is held accountable for turning Syria into a narco-state.
The State Department’s strategy calls for synchronised action with the Department of Defense, Treasury Department, and federal law enforcement agencies along four lines of effort.
Diplomatic and intel support
First is the provision of “diplomatic and intelligence support to law enforcement investigations,” which entails working with regional partners to facilitate information sharing, improve interdiction efforts, and dismantle trafficking networks.
Effective interagency and international cooperation should result in joint investigations, prosecutions, sanctions, and seizures. On the intelligence front, the US and its partners need to develop an information-sharing mechanism outside of INTERPOL.