Manage episode 371908640 series 3438634
What happens when a dictator uses drug trafficking as a tool of diplomacy?
The psychoactive drug known as Captagon has exploded across the Middle East and Europe, leading many countries to clasify it as an ‘epidemic’. The highly-addictive pill used to be made in Turkey and Latin America, but that slowly changed after the Syrian Civil War.
Today, 80% of the global supplies come from Syria, and many have accused Bashar al-Assad of using the drug to generate billions in revenue for the government, bypassing sanctions, and to put pressure on his neighbours to resume diplomatic ties.
That gambit seems to have paid off in May when, after more than 10 years, Syria was welcomed back into the Arab League.
In this week’s episode of The Big Picture, we sit down with Dr Lina Khatib, head of the Middle East Institute at SOAS University. Dr Khatib says despite years of sanctions and political pressure, Assad has emerged feeling victorious.
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