Cathedral Model United Nations 2011 Study Guide Study Guide UNITED NATIONS COMMISSION ON NARCOTIC DRUGS Dear Delegates, It is my pleasure to welcome you to Cathedral Model United Nations 2011! The simulated UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs has an extremely ambitious topic area to cover. Each delegate shall, explore the tumultuous world of Afghanistan’s illicit drug trade; treading through the mountainous borders of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran, while uncovering a trail of drugs, an addicted populace, and widespread crime.
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Afghanistan produced a record opium poppy crop in 2007, supplying 93% of the world’s opium. Opium trade has become an increasingly substantial source of revenue for various criminal groups and finances criminal and terrorist activities. Having introduced the topic to you, a little about your chair: I am a 12th standard Science and Art student at the Cathedral and John Connon School. I have attended several MUNs including the Harvard Model United Nations 2011. I was also an assistant director at CMUN 2010.
Your moderator Noshir Engineer is a talented debater and has attended the MIT Model United Nations 2011. Together we shall spare no effort to make your experience enjoyable and enriching. In a country where approximately 85% of the population depends on agriculture and agribusiness as a source of livelihood, poppy cultivation and opium trade continue to play a significant role in the agricultural economy. This committee has to deal delicately with the afghan economy, terrorism, and international politics, it promises to be a compelling experience for all delegates.
Although your study guide is extremely informative, I sincerely urge you to research further and widen your perspective on the issue, and your country’s stand as this problem requires creative yet feasible solutions, along with a high level of diplomacy. Knowledge on the topic is of course, vital, without which your committee sessions will be frustrating and fruitless. On behalf of the entire dais staff, I wish you best of luck with your preparation. I look forward to meeting you in August.
Till then, dwell upon these words by William Shakespeare, “Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon ’em. ” Yours creatively, Anushka Pai, Director – United Nations Commission on Narcotics and Drugs Cathedral Model United Nations 2011 The Cathedral and John Connon School 6 Purshottamdas Thakurdas Marg Mumbai 400001 Contact Number: +91-2222094940 Email address: uncnd. [email protected]. com Website: cathedralmun. com
ANUSHKA PAI DIRECTOR NOSHIR ENGINEER MODERATOR CYRUS CHOKSEY ASSISTANT DIRECTOR VARUN MEHTA ASSISTANT DIRECTOR Study Guide HISTORY OF THE PROBLEM Soviet Invasion (1979-1989) Opium production and consumption has been an issue in Afghanistan since the time of the Shahs, when the Shah banned the production of opium in Persia and Iran, a lucrative trade was set up, to feed the addicted Iranian population. And so the golden crescent came into being, but the crescent as we see it today evolved primarily as a result of the Soviet and US involvement in Afghanistan.
When in the 1970s the Soviet Union decided to enter the perilous world of Afghan politics, many Afghan people joined the rebel forces, the Mujahideen, these forces, in order to fund their military activities relied heavily on American aid reaching them through Pakistan. In addition to this, they revived and increased opium cultivation in the southern provinces of Helmand and Kandahar. This opium was then shipped off to Europe through various channels including the ancient Silk Route and the Balkans route through Eastern Europe.
Since these southern areas were under the control of US funded groups they received a lot of criticism for their role in Afghanistan. The Soviets were not uninvolved in the flourishing drug trade either. A Soviet ship, the Kapitan Tomson was captured by the Dutch police in 1986, with 220 kilograms of pure heroin on board, which at that time was the largest heroin seizure in Europe. It succeeded in proving beyond doubt that Soviet authorities were involved in the opium trade in Afghanistan.
Though no such concrete evidence was found during the Afghan war against the USA the US’ sympathetic attitude towards opium cultivation and trade in the region is now common knowledge. The situation continued to worsen, with the drug trade increasing steadily but surely as the war progressed. Soon some of the more influential factions of the Mujahideen even controlled heroin laboratories situated within the Pakistani border. The condition in Afghanistan was detrimental to Pakistan’s population as well. The opium addicted population of Pakistan rose from 5000 to 1. 3 million in a span of just eight years.
The problem was clearly escalating to a level where it was no longer in control as the US Drug 3 Study Guide Enforcement Administration (DEA) estimated that a colossal 25 % of Afghanistan’s GDP was through the illicit cultivation of opium and through the trade of opiates. The Taliban era (1989-present) After the soviet pullout from Afghanistan in 1989, and the following loss of US interest in the region, the various factions comprising the mujahideen were vying to fill the power vacuum created. The lack of US funds to the Mujahideen now meant that the only significant inlet of funds was now the cultivation and marketing of opiates.
And so in the decade following the Taliban, Al Qaeda, managed to establish themselves as what we know them to be today. The drug trade flourished in Afghanistan, as the international community watched helplessly as Afghanistan was about took over the spot of the world’s top opium producer from Burma (The Golden Triangle) in 1991, during this period the opium production in Myanmar was steadily decreasing due to various factors while in Afghanistan the rise in the same continued undeterred. After a few years the Taliban had established a sufficient monopoly over the opium trade to be the sole threat to the government.
The only period in recent history when there was a significant decline in the opium production in the Golden Crescent was in the year 2001, when the Taliban issued a ban on the cultivation. The success of this ban was unbelievable, the opium cultivating areas all over Afghanistan drastically reduced. However the motivation of the ban is still unclear. Some say the Taliban had come to an agreement with the United Nations and decided, for the benefit of Afghanistan to issue the ban on cultivation. Others suggest that due to the reduction in prices of opium and opiates which caused ignificant drops in the Taliban’s income, to overcome this the Taliban decided to ban opium cultivation for a year so that the shortage in supply of opiates would cause the prices to shoot up. Whichever the true cause may be, the next year opium production shot right back up to the levels of the previous year once again enriching the Taliban and displaying, the harsh reality to the world: that control was in the Taliban’s hands and that the only way to effectively reduce opium cultivation would be if they decided it themselves. 4
Study Guide In 2001, following the US invasion, the production of opium continued regardless of the war, funding the Taliban s before but now also forming the income of a large number of warlords and allegedly members of the Northern Alliance as well. So the US for a long time made little or no effort to eradicate the poppy fields, but rather, they adopted the attitude that the opium and drug problems were someone Else’s to tackle and they did not need to deal with it till their war was won. STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM THE GOLDEN CRESCENT
The production of opium in Afghanistan is only a fraction of the problem of the golden crescent. The crescent refers to the area of poppy cultivation, trade, and opium production in the area encompassing the Pakistan Afghanistan and Iran. As mentioned earlier Afghanistan is the main area in terms of cultivation of the poppy crop among the three. The cultivated opium from Afghanistan makes its way through what is popularly referred to as the golden route. Here the opium makes its way through the so called crescent first travelling East into Pakistan where a large part of it gets processed into a morphine base.
After this, the goods are shifted into Iran where a small part of it is consumed, and then onto Turkey which is the major centre for conversion of the morphine base opiates into heroin and hashish. After this it finds its way into European markets and feeds the addict population in the continent. This route is probably the most important route in terms of the quantity of opium traversing the passage, but the other main route for opiates is the so called northern route.
As the name suggests, the route leaves Afghanistan from the north and proceeds further north through various nations in central Asia finally entering Russia through Kazakhstan. Russia has been possibly the worst affected by the modern boom in Afghan opium production. The route itself has only been used since the early 1990s and was founded primarily to feed Russia’s two and a half million strong addict population. Both these routes are plagued by poor security facilities.
Most of them readily accept bribes and most of the security personnel usually have neither the willpower nor the means required to deny trafficking rights to allies of the Taliban. The commissions paid increase steadily at each level and the system works seamlessly and enriches both the US supported Northern Alliance and the Taliban supporting Rebels. 5 Study Guide The crescent due to its mountainous terrain provides excellent cover for those smuggling drugs which makes the tracking of drug traffickers and the opium itself a lot more difficult and often impossible by satellite as well.
Cultivation, smuggling and processing of these opiates is a multi-billion dollar enterprise and enriches the economies of the involved nations similarly. Another part of the issue is that the nations in the crescent are among the most corrupt in the world. The government officials receive ample amounts of money simply to turn a blind eye on the traffickers and thus even at the highest level of government there is often hesitancy and sometimes unwillingness to have a major crackdown on drug lords.
For example, in Pakistani, in the earlier times majors and army generals had been proven guilty of assisting the opium traders as well as Hamid Hasnain, the vice president of the Pakistani government’s Habib Bank. Hasnain was the personal account manager for President Zia-ul-Haqn who served as prime minister twice and was also a general in the army. Afghan and Iranian leaders have also been involved in their fair share of drug scandals. This situation has further stalled and deterred many of the international community’s efforts to reduce production of opiates.
Hamid Karzai, the current president of Afghanistan, has been more forthcoming in his intentions to eradicate the drug plantations, he readily combined with US forces to push for an eradication programme, however, the most effective methods of controlling the opium crops in Afghanistan include aerial spraying of the crops with poisons, primarily glyphosate. This plan was supported strongly by the US forces after the bumper crop in the region in the year 2006. Negotiations began between US, NATO and the Afghanistan government regarding this.
Karzai, backed strongly by the UK, argued that this would not have the desired effect. According to them, the uneducated farmers and opium cultivators will be intimidated by the outlandish devices, which are nothing like anything the primitive farmers have seen before. The fear is that if the farmers discover the government is behind this, the deeply religious Afghan masses will turn against them and join, further strengthening Afghan terrorist groups like the Taliban.
These discussions were completed in January of the year 2007, with an agreement being reached to use more old fashioned, and less alien to the people approach of ground based eradication techniques. However this was strongly criticized by Russia as well as other nations, who accused the government of inadequate resolve. 6 Study Guide Russia too has had an important role to play in the system, suffering the worst from Afghan opium production. 30,000 Russians, many of them in their youth, die every year due to Afghan opium.
The Russian government has not been actively involved in Afghanistan since the end of the Soviet invasion in 1989; the nation has certainly been keeping a close eye on the US’ activities in the region, and attempting to speed up eradication processes by pressuring the concerned governments into accelerating their efforts. Though they agree with the US in their modern day strategy on drug eradication they have not been allowed to start an offensive of any kind in the region by the Afghan government. Recently however, in 2010, Russian forces took part in a joint raid where they destroyed opium and hashish worth an estimated 250 million dollars.
This caused some reaction in Karzai, who called it a violation of sovereignty and criticized Russia for the act. Russia simply says that what Karzai claims is not possible since the Afghan Interior ministry participated in the joint raid and hence knew that Russian forces would be present. Iran, the origin of the poppy cultivation in the crescent has successfully reduced its heroin addiction, trafficking and cultivation. Since historic times, the shahs of Iran have banned poppy cultivation, reducing their people’s financial dependence on poppy farming. This however did not help in reducing the addict population significantly.
After the revolution, the new regime’s stance did not change, however, policies did. Initially, the policy was supply sided, and a massive crackdown began with the arrest of 68,000 traffickers and many more arrests in subsequent years. Thousands of troops were deployed; to stop trafficking along the border this plan met much success. Next, under President Mohammad Khatami rehab centers were set up and an anti-narcotic campaign was carried out. However, under President Ahmedinejad, policies once again shifted back to supply side policies, with a resurgence of troops on the border it shares with Afghanistan.
As a result of these policies, Iran has been the most successful country in combating trafficking, in terms of drug bust. Pakistan on the other hand, has been hugely unsuccessful in dealing with the problem due to greed and graft. Suffering from a massive population of addicts, the government has been helpless in the face of powerful drug lords who own laboratories all along the border Pakistan shares with Afghanistan. It is estimated that 80% of Afghanistan’s heroin is 7 Study Guide processed there. POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS There is no easy solution to this problem.
Spraying will allow crops to be eliminated in the heartland of Taliban controlled territory, with relatively less risk. However, as mentioned earlier, the Afghan people are against aerial eradication as they fear it, and ground based eradication is comparatively slow and unfeasible. Only then will the incentives provided actually have effect, because without the fear of eradication, no farmer will willingly give up a crop as lucrative as poppy. No change is needed to the incentives provided to farmers to change from poppy growth. The real reform must come in two areas.
Border security, to prevent the opium from leaving, and the legal system. Trapping the heroin and opium within the country might bring prices down so much, that poppy might become unprofitable. Secondly, the Jails of the country need to be secured, to prevent inmates (especially traffickers) from escaping while strengthening the legal system to prosecute more traffickers and drug lords. An innovative idea to dissuade the people from growing poppy and countering Taliban logic is to conduct an advertisement campaign, by highlighting the costs of poppy to the nation.
An alternate way of approaching this problem is to crack down on the Hawla system of money transfer. This would choke the Taliban of funds. OPPOSITION TO TRADITIONAL ERADICATION Efforts are underway to eradicate poppy crops from the ground, but they are inefficient and costly. In one instance, the central eradication force set out to eliminate poppy crops in an area and were met with such resistance, that they had to retreat. This establishes that ground eradication is not the best possible option.
However, President Karzai is against aerial eradication fearing it will turn public sentiment against the government. Karzai also portrays his poppy farmers as poverty stricken; claiming that there is no way this section of the Afghan population will be able to survive financially without their current means of livelihood. However he has been a big fan of incentives to turn farmers away from poppy cultivation. A great deal is being is being done to eliminate trafficking, but corruption runs so deep, that it is impossible to catch anyone, since everyone from the judges to the policemen are corrupt.
The former attorney general attempted to prosecute some of them, but was stopped by Karzai for political reasons. THE ROLE OF POVERTY Recently however, new proof has emerged, that the ones trying to grow the poppy aren’t the poor farmers, as consistently propagated by the Afghani government. Satellite photos have shown that in the southern part of Afghanistan wells and canals are being dug, 8 Study Guide fertilizer bought and poppy is being grown on massive industrial-size plots, making it obvious the farmers are rich.
Farmers are abandoning their traditional means of lifestyle, to get into the more profitable business of poppy cultivation. In recent UNODC reports it has been stated, that farmers growing poppy have now begun hugely costly land reclamation process. This means that the farmers have more resources to evade capture, increase output and possibly even survive the eradication of their crop once. It is the high margins that have made it the most effective poverty eliminator in rural Afghanistan. Per hectare, wheat yields 250-300 dollars, while poppy yields 1200 dollars.
Poppy cultivation is soaring in the wealthier districts, while it is on a decline elsewhere. Considering poppy’s potential to eliminate poverty however, several economists have suggested, that the production of poppy for medicinal purposes be allowed, this however this is absolutely unacceptable to the international community. The Afghan government keeps professing the poverty of poppy growers, which allows countries to sympathize with the government in not following hard-core cracking down on opium production.
Many believe that the poor poppy farmers are in fact the ones who are easier to stop and convert to licit crop-growers, and that the government’s claim that eradicating opium fields would cause a loss of livelihood, is not entirely true. Though many may disagree with the idea that the Afghan governments claim that the opium trade is the only means of livelihood for millions of Afghans, there is no denying some truth in the statement. Some say that it’s really only the rich farmers who are the producers of the majority of the opium and the poor ones are the ones who are easier to convert into licit crop-growers.
Much against this theory, another view is that the cultivators in the Southern regions and the Helmand province are richer, and have larger opium fields at their disposal. Most of these farmers also have the protection of major warlords and sometimes even the Taliban. Thus, the government has obvious, and justified fears regarding storming these regions. US and NATO forces too, have steered well clear of this dangerous and volatile region. Even if they tried to convince the farmers to cultivate another crop instead of the poppy they do, think for a moment from the perspective of a farmer who has grown up in Afghanistan.
When he was a youth, the country was being torn apart by war during the period of Soviet invasion. In those days, he never had enough to eat, and today, he earns a lot of money 9 Study Guide cultivating a crop with an almost unlimited demand and protection from deterrents provided by his buyers. Why would such a farmer choose to change his crop to something that will inevitably be less profitable, and risk being rounded up by his former protectors the warlords for halting his flow of income?
On the other hand, in the Northern regions, where the farmers are poorer, there are less poppy fields, and smaller land holdings. So as a result, the farmers are poorer and have less chances of coming up to the standard of their Southern counterparts. Also, the Northern part of Afghanistan is the part that the government has more control of, in these regions it is easier for US and Afghan forces to carry out raids without fear of being attacked by the Taliban and its allies.
The poorer farmers having never experienced true wealth offered by the opium industry in its fullest since they have never been able to expand to the extent of the Southern farmers, So, when the government goes up to these farmers and offers them other crops they do not have much to lose by accepting the licit crops. However, this changes little in their lives and they continue earning a meagre amount. The farmers in Afghanistan rely mainly on traditional methods of farming and are unable to adapt to the means of cultivation of the replacement crop, which may require different techniques from the ones practiced by the farmers.
They soon come to realize that in a country as ravaged as Afghanistan the only crop which can ensure them of a yield every year and also a market is opium. However, now trapped growing the licit crop the government, usually under the influence of the US DEA, is supplying, their income and livelihood spiral from bad to worse. Thus, the opium farmers who the government was able to control, those in the north, have become poorer. And the government does not want to eradicate all the poppy immediately fearing loss of occupation and insolvency for several farmers. In the areas where the cultivation is greater, the farmers are richer. 0 Study Guide NARCO-TERRORISM Narco-terrorism, probably the chief evil arising from opium cultivation is an acute issue that will need resolution. It is best known as action against governments or authorities in an endeavour to illegally traffic opium worldwide. These actions take the form of violence or bribe and are thus acts of terrorism. However, this is a particularly vile form of terrorism in that it feeds itself. Imagine the example of a diamond merchant who owns a security agency. Now, his security agency obviously protects a storeroom full of his diamonds.
Now, as this diamond merchant mines more and more diamonds, the security needed for his diamond storeroom increases simultaneously. Thus, the diamond merchant by mining more and more diamonds is funding both his businesses. This is how Narco-terrorism works, as the illegal opium cultivators harvest more and more opium, more and more terrorism is needed in the form of more violence on authorities to expand this trade. Thus, both the activity of opium cultivation and the practice of expanding trade in refined opium poppy are forms of terrorism which strengthen each other. Eradicate one, eradicate both.
Perhaps the best known example of a Narco-terrorist outfit is the Forces of the Armed Rebellion, Columbia, and the FARC. The FARC originated as an opposition to the right wing parties in Columbia, but after a short, unsuccessful stint at polity, the group’s political nature came to an end and it began military expansion and coincidentally the expansion of its Narco-terrorist activities. This coincidence is attributed to the fact that in the 1980’s there was an international boom in the demand for illegal drugs, specifically cocaine. FARC and some other Columbian cartels became chief suppliers, worldwide.
While the Cali and Medellin cartel’s led the way in cocaine production and distribution, the leaders of FARC soon realized the opportunities that coca cultivation provided. FARC started their foray into the drug and Narco-terrorist world by taxing local coca growers in southern towns. This taxing was carried out by extortion and similar acts of terrorism. The focus of the Columbian government on defeating the Cali and Medellin cartels resulted in much of the cocaine production moved to areas controlled by the FARC. This allowed the increased growth and strength of FARC to continue and consequently their influence grew.
To summarize, FARC’s involvement in the drug trade was born out of rejection from the political system. The drug trade funded their attacks against the Colombian government. Increasingly, these attacks became terrorist in nature. Thus, the drug trade both caused as well as funded the FARC’s terrorism against the Columbian governments’ anti-drug efforts. In order to push their leftist agenda, FARC was using the drug trade to fund the attacks against the Colombian government and even kidnappings and killings of innocent peasants suspected of colluding with the paramilitaries.
The growing power of the FARC forced the Columbian government into poor bargains and finally they granted FARC land the size of Switzerland near south of Bogota, only to have the FARCs drug trade increase by $300 million and anti-government terrorism to continue and grow as the rotten fruit of their hasty bargain. 11 Study Guide In Afghanistan, in recent times, the large influx of drug money has necessitated that this money be laundered through various methods to allow the Taliban to utilize it for their various purposes. This is done all over the world by specialists.
The Hawla, or informal money transfer system has allowed thousands of dollars to cross continents with ease but the money trail left can not only lead us to the highest reaches of the Taliban. IMPACT OF FOREIGN INVOLVEMENT In the words of CIA director Charles Cogan, “We sacrificed the war on drugs to fight the war on communism. ” 12 Study Guide United States involvement in the opium trade in Afghanistan always believed to have existed has never been proved. Since 1980 the CIA has been active in the region first working to undermine the soviet run government, by providing resources and support to the mujahideen.
In the words of an unnamed CIA officer, the CIA needed the lucrative profits of drug trafficking to fund its para-military activities all over the world. Once its purpose had been achieved, they ceased to support the then Mujahideen forcing it to depend on the most lucrative means of funding itself, opium. The CIA again entered the scene, in 2001, when they began paying off several drug lords, to help undermine the Taliban rule in Afghanistan as a direct result of which poppy production increased in the years after.
Till date, the CIA has many “alleged” links to the drug trade and provides them with a certain degree of protection in exchange for information (denied vehemently). The most prominent of their alleged contacts is Ahmed Wali Karzai, Afghan president Hamid Karzai’s brother, who has many alleged links to Pashtun Drug Lords. He is also said to work with the CIA on smoothening logistical issues for CIA ground forces. Russia has often pressed the Afghan government into cutting off the drug production to no avail.
In Afghanistan, recently a deadly new disease is destroying the poppy crop, and although allegations are being thrown, no proof has emerged. From corrupt army officials on the borders of Pakistan, that allow massive quantities of opium to be processed and trafficked into their country, to corrupt customs officials in Russia that allow their countries to be used as intermediaries to port officials in SE Europe that allow their countries to be used as global distribution centers. How to deal with this chronic disease of corruption is a question that will certainly need answering if we are to go ahead and try to save Afghanistan. 3 Study Guide IMPACT ON THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY The most potent, and widely used product obtained from poppy is heroin. Heroin consumption, especially among the youth, is on the rise, driven by lower prices, higher purity and availability. It feeds a global addict population of around 30 million, 30,000 of which die in Russia alone, annually. Afghanistan alone retains 3%, a significant proportion of its crop, to feed its massive addict population. In the subcontinent alone there are almost a million underage users of heroin. 150,000 new people internationally use heroin every year.
Heroin has several destructive effects on the body in the long and short term, the worst being heart attack as a short term and heart diseases as long term. However, heroin trafficking leaves a trail of death and destruction in its wake, creating gang violence and clashes with security forces, that leave hundreds dead annually. It feeds corruption and greed across 5 continents, undermining governments and pulling thousands into its deadly nexus, of greed and destruction. Not only that, but the profits from these illicit enterprises, are ploughed straight into the criminal underworld fuelling organized crime.
Apart from the obvious terrorist activities, heroin has many hidden effects. Addicts commit serious crimes, like mugging and armed robbery, to pay for their addiction, and still die debt-laden. The cost to countries in term of human capital is immense; many talented people lose their minds and lives to this deadly drug, which takes more than 100,000 lives every year. It is not crime which fuels drugs, but drugs that fuel crime. The international cost due to this addiction directly and indirectly is many times that which is spent in its prevention; after all, prevention is better than cure, and in this case much cheaper.
QUESTIONS A RESOLUTION MUST ANSWER 1. What can be and should be done about corruption in the legal system in Afghanistan? Are special autonomous prosecuting courts a viable option? You must also ensure that your interference in the same does not impede Afghanistan’s Sovereignty. 14 Study Guide 2. Is eradication of opium crops a viable option? If not what are the alternatives? What is the way forward concerning eradication? If yes, how will the population of Afghanistan be affected by eradication? 3. Is heroin production truly a monopoly of the rich or last resort of the poor? 4.
What incentives can and should be offered to wean farmers of poppy production? Why are the present ones not working? And how can you ensure that farmers will accept the alternative crop/occupation? 5. Is legalisation (in whole or in part) a viable option, attempting to harvest the poppy for legitimate purposes like medicinal or others? 6. How can flow of funds across the world by terrorists be shut down? How can we identify their money laundering and transferring entities and shut them down? 7. How can we identify agents of smuggling and stem flow through heroin smuggling routes across Eurasia? 15