Saudi prince caught drug smuggling

tsj column writers - power and politicsBy Zachary Toillion

On Tuesday, Prince Mohsin Bin Walid Bin Abdelaziz of Saudi Arabia’s ruling royal family was found smuggling large amounts of drugs into Lebanon. Abdelaziz was detained at a Beirut airport with several purported co-conspirators. Allegedly, Abdelaziz and his accomplices were “attempting to smuggle two tons of Captagon pills and some cocaine,” according to one security source close to the situation.

The bust was also the largest seizure of illegal narcotics ever in the airport, which has a history of planes secretly trying to smuggle large amounts of drugs across international lines.

The broader importance of this particular drug bust is what it represents. The production of amphetamines is a massive black market industry in some of the most war-torn parts of the Middle East. In 2014, a UN report found that seizures of drugs in Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Syria amounted for more than half of all recovered worldwide.

The illegal drug trade is not only for the realm of the affluent Saudi family. Many terror groups, including ISIS, have also joined the illicit drug trade in order to build up cash reserves for vehicles and weapons. Additionally, terror groups use many of the same amphetamines on the battlefield; a tactic which dates back to World War II. The drugs act as a jolt of energy and are used when “tired” is not an option.

Abdelaziz’s being caught is one of many examples of how many wealthy Saudis are helping the ISIS terror network. Most of the funding ISIS has received is largely funded by wealthy Saudi Arabian backers. Saudi Arabia has a controversial record when it comes to terrorist groups. On 9/11, 15 of the 19 suicide hijackers were Saudis  and Bin Laden Himself belonged to a wealthy Saudi family. However, the U.S. formally views Saudi Arabia as a regional ally.

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