- By Patrick FitzgeraldPatrick Fitzgerald is a researcher at Foreign Policy.
Today, apparently, is International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, and the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is launching a new three-year campaign called “Do drugs control your life?”
But instead of releasing statements from Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon or posting video clips in Serbian on YouTube, maybe the office should spend more time lobbying the Security Council and the IAEA.
The ongoing standoff with Tehran over its nuclear aims is threatening a rare cooperative venture between Iran and the West: Tehran’s campaign to stem opium and other drug trafficking from Afghanistan through Iran to Europe. In a little-noticed provision in the incentives package offered to Tehran on June 14, Western countries threatened to cut off further aid to the anti-drug efforts unless Iran agrees to halt its uranium enrichment.
Such measures would harm anti-drug efforts in the Middle East and Europe, U.N. officials say. Iran caught approximately 900 tons of Afghan drugs in 2007, and UNDOC Director Antonio Maria Costa warned that a “heroin tsunami” could hit Europe if aid were cut. And it could be devastating for Iran as well. Despite devoting 30,000 troops (like the fellow in the photo above) to drug patrols in border areas, the Islamic Republic already contains the highest proportion of heroin and opium addicts in the world, experts believe.
Colum Lynch is Foreign Policy's award-winning U.N.-based senior diplomatic reporter. Lynch previously wrote Foreign Policy's Turtle Bay blog, for which he was awarded the 2011 National Magazine Award for best reporting in digital media. He is also a recipient of the 2013 Elizabeth Neuffer Memorial Silver Prize for his coverage of the United Nations.
Before moving to Foreign Policy, Lynch reported on diplomacy and national security for the Washington Post for more than a decade. As the Washington Post's United Nations reporter, Lynch had been involved in the paper's diplomatic coverage of crises in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Sudan, and Somalia, as well as the nuclear standoffs with Iran and North Korea. He also played a key part in the Post's diplomatic reporting on the Iraq war, the International Criminal Court, the spread of weapons of mass destruction, and U.S. counterterrorism strategy. Lynch's enterprise reporting has explored the underside of international diplomacy. His investigations have uncovered a U.S. spying operation in Iraq, Dick Cheney's former company's financial links to Saddam Hussein, and documented numerous sexual misconduct and corruption scandals.
Lynch has appeared frequently on the Lehrer News Hour, MSNBC, NPR radio, and the BBC. He has also moderated public discussions on foreign policy, including interviews with Susan E. Rice, the U.S. National Security Advisor, Gerard Araud, France's U.N. ambassador, and other senior diplomatic leaders.
Born in Los Angeles, California, Lynch received a bachelor's degree from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1985 and a master's degree from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism in 1987. He previously worked for the Boston Globe.| Turtle Bay |