We all know that drug trafficking can be a deadly business. But can drug trafficking set the precedent for even larger conflict—that is, civil war?
That’s the question that former journalist Jonathan Marshall set out to answer in his newly released book The Lebanese Connection. Looking specifically at Lebanon in the lead up to its 15-year civil war, Marshall traces out how the country’s fledgling drug trade in the 1970s turned the country into a narco-state and financed the war. In other words: there was a sure connection between drugs and civil war in Lebanon—and Marshall warns that that connection can apply to any state.
And that makes modern-day drug trafficking in Afghanistan and Mexico all the more urgent. Afghanistan leads the world in opium production, as it has for the past two decades. Mexico’s drug war has regularly peppered American news sources with brutal images and chilling stories, and has become a party platform priority as the July 1 presidential election draws near. This isn’t just about the drugs anymore—there’s a lot at stake.
Some food for thought:
- “Breaking the narco-state in Afghanistan is essential, or all else will fail.” The New York Times recently ran an article that explains why fighting the opium industry in Afghanistan is of upmost importance.
- The top three contenders for the Mexican presidency have all declared domestic-centered approaches to the drug war to be a priority over curbing drug trafficking into the U.S. See the NYT article here.
- And check out Marshall’s book The Lebanese Connection here.