The Coming U.S.-Russia Flank Against the Heroin Plague

Viktor Ivanov, head of the Russian Federal Drug Control Agency, continued the Russian offensive against the Afghan narco-economy, in Miami at the biannual meeting of the U.S.-Russia Counternarcotics Working Group created by the Bilateral Presidential Commission of the two countries. As reported Friday by Itar-Tass, “Russian and U.S. anti-drug services in the near future plan to strike a major blow to the international drug mafias,” as reported to them by Viktor Ivanov in an interview yesterday evening. Further, “The head of Russia’s Drug Control Service expressed confidence that the forthcoming operation would cause ‘a lot of trouble to those involved in drug trafficking.'”

No details were provided, but it is known that U.S. military and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) operatives have conducted limited but successful raids in Afghanistan against heroin storage depots and laboratories built up from this year’s massive opium harvest. The raids have been based on actionable intelligence provided by Russian intelligence, presumably extracted from heroin cartels outside Afghanistan responsible for servicing Russia’s large numbers of heroin addicts via Central Asian trafficking routes. Russia Today TV reported on Ivanov’s Miami appearance emphasizing the just-released, devastating report of the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) on this year’s massive Afghan opium increase, and pointed out that only 10% of the $65 billion business with Afghan heroin is made within the country; the rest, by cartels crisscrossing Eurasia. The head of UNODC is the former Russian Ambassador to the U.K. Yuri Fedotov, who replaced Antonio Maria Costa.

Several weeks ago Viktor Ivanov was in Islamabad, Pakistan, in discussions, and weeks earlier Iranian and U.S. State Department officials discreetly discussed anti-narcotics collaboration at an Afghan government drug agency-sponsored conference in Herat. Sources at the Vienna UNODC headquarters report that Russia is on a full press to get international results against the opium war. Russia had i 2012 assigned experts to the U.S. military’s European Command headquarters in Stuttgart, EUCOM, on a project financed by the EUCOM’s Joint Interagency Counter Trafficking Center which is responsible for monitoring Afghan heroin flows, as well as flows of Western Hemisphere cocaine into Europe. A high-ranking German military (Bundeswehr) officer and Russian expert recently reacted with enthusiasm when presented with this expanding U.S.-Russian collaboration at a public event.

Russia will bring its existential fight against the opium war targeting its youth — whose addiction rates have expanded in parallel to the massive increase in opium planting and heroin trafficking during the 13-year NATO presence in Afghanistan — to the UN Security Council, a move supported by China. U.S.-Russia joint collaboration on anti-narcotics is one of the only working- group relationships that has survived the Obama Administration and British geopolitical intrigues. It should be a new addition to the collaborative efforts on Syria and Iran, and, could become a decisive flank against the drug-money-saturated banking system, a favorite theme of Ivanov. It is only our enemies, and the stupidity of Washington’s Beltway idiots, that prevent the U.S. joining this effort.

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