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Pompeo Urges Peace, Sides with Greece in Turkish Border Dispute



Mike Pompeo sec State FNSunday Noko

On Monday, the United States and Greece issued a joint statement calling for a peaceful solution to the ongoing dispute in the Eastern Mediterranean between Greece and Turkey, according to POLITICO.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who is visiting Greece for the second time this year, released a joint statement saying that the U.S. and Greece “reaffirmed their belief that maritime delimitation issues should be resolved peacefully.”

The United States and Greece “reaffirmed their belief that maritime delimitation issues should be resolved peacefully,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

The statement continues, emphasizing that the two countries were ready and willing to employ “all appropriate means at their disposal, in order to safeguard stability and security in the wider region.”

The dispute, over potentially abundant natural gas reserves in the Eastern Mediterranean, has seen tensions between the two Aegean neighbors come closer to war than they have been in twenty-five years. In 1996, the two rival countries, both in NATO, almost clashed over an uninhabited island in the Aegean Sea that lies between them.

In 2016 there were a mind-boggling 16 rounds of talks between the two countries. The nations sought to resolve their maritime border disputes. Those collapsed. Since then, Greco-Turkish relations have worsened dramatically.

Recently, Greece announced that it would be bolstering its military capabilities in what will be its biggest military build-up in decades, according to The Guardian.

This build-up, part of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’s €6.8-billion ($7.93B) defense plan, will see Greece purchase 18 French Rafale jets and four multi-purpose frigates, as well as upgrading its current naval vessel and old aircraft, as reported.

Additionally, the relationship between the U.S. and Turkey has also deteriorated severely over the past decade as their objectives in the Middle East have increasingly conflicted with one another. Most notably, they have clashed diplomatically in the drawn-out Syrian Civil War and conflict with the Islamic State (IS) over the roles of Kurdish anti-IS militias and Russian forces.

Following a Tuesday visit to a U.S. naval base on the Greek island of Crete, Sec. Pompeo will depart to visit Croatia, Italy, and the Vatican.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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More Deadly Fentanyl Has Been Seized at U.S. Borders Than Heroin For First Time in History



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Photo by SANDY HUFFAKER/AFP via Getty Images

History has been made in the worst of ways. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) data shows 2021 was the first time in American history that federal law enforcement seized more of the deadly drug fentanyl than heroin at our borders.

Data shows 11,200 pounds of fentanyl was seized in 2021 compared to 5,400 pounds of heroin. The numbers were double that of 2020’s fentanyl seizures. 319,447 pounds of marijuana, 190,861 pounds of methamphetamine, 97,638  pounds of cocaine and 10,848 pounds of ketamine were also seized in 2021.

Taking the 2022 fiscal year into account, 2,158 pounds of fentanyl has already been seized. 277 pounds of heroin have also been seized in the same time period. The Washington Examiner reports:

Not only were fentanyl seizures at the highest level ever recorded, but fentanyl overdoses within the United States also hit new highs, indicating the success that transnational criminal organizations had in pushing their deadly products to the public. A DEA investigation this fall found a direct link between criminal drug organizations in Mexico and fentanyl-related overdose deaths.

Many drug users are unaware they are taking the substance because street drugs are being laced with fentanyl, making even the most dangerous of illicit drugs deadly.

The Examiner adds, “Because just a few grains of the substance is all it takes for a user to feel its effect, its value per ounce is higher than other drugs, such as cocaine or methamphetamine. For example, the DEA states 2 milligrams is enough to kill someone who inhales, consumes, or injects it.”

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) additionally “seized 20.4 million pills that were fake versions of prescriptions and pumped full of fentanyl. The pills were enough to kill every American, according to the DEA.”

Due to small dosages of the drug being so potent, “it also makes it significantly easier for the criminals transporting it to sneak into the country.”

The Examiner also reported on the deadly drug’s connection to Wuhan, China:

Mexican cartels purchase the ingredients for fentanyl from labs in Wuhan, China . The cartels will produce the fentanyl from those ingredients and push it into the U.S. Chinese-based financiers launder the profits for the cartels out of the U.S., back to China, and on to Mexico.

The cartels are in the business of selling whatever drug brings in the most money and is easiest to produce. Through the decades, federal law enforcement at the U.S.-Mexico border has seized millions of pounds of drugs — most of which was marijuana.

Over the past five years, marijuana seizures have significantly declined as U.S. states legalized recreational cannabis and legal grow operations began in the U.S. Because marijuana can only be grown in certain climates, similar to cocaine, it made drugs such as fentanyl and methamphetamines more attractive because they can be produced anywhere, any time.

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