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Al-Monitor/Semafor summit: Jordan’s King Abdullah II laments Syrian drug crisis, Iran’s regional role

The monarch also addressed the refugee crisis, the importance of Israeli-Palestinian peace and other regional issues at the Al-Monitor/Semafor Middle East Global Summit.
Jordanian King Abdullah II at the Middle East Global Summit on Sept. 20, 2023. (Al-Monitor/Yvonne Tnt)

NEW YORK — Jordan’s King Abdullah II expressed doubt as to whether Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is in control of his country at an Al-Monitor/Semafor event on Wednesday, while also offering his thoughts on the challenges regarding Israel-Gulf normalization, Iran’s role in the region and more.

Speaking at The Middle East Global Summit in New York City, King Abdullah said he was unsure whether Assad is fully in charge of the country in light of the “major problem” of drugs and weapons being smuggled into Jordan. 

“I think Bashar does not want that to happen, does not want a conflict with Jordan. I don't know how much he is in control,” said the king.

King Abdullah spoke extensively on the situation in Syria, especially about the flourishing drug trade in the country, saying Iran as well as elements within the government are benefitting from this.

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