Thursday, January 17, 2008

Iraq is Not What It Was

Just as in Afghanistan, where in the wake of the US led war on the Taliban, farmers were left without any sort of income and a large proportion turned to growing opium poppies, Iraqi farmers are now seeing themselves forced to do the same as The Independent reports:

The cultivation of opium poppies whose product is turned into heroin is spreading rapidly across Iraq as farmers find they can no longer make a living through growing traditional crops…..

The speed with which farmers are turning to poppies is confirmed by the Iraqi news agency al-Malaf Press, which says that opium is now being produced around the towns of Khalis, Sa'adiya, Dain'ya and south of Baladruz…

Afghanistan has now become the world’s number one exporter of heroin, providing over 75% of the world’s market. The Afghan opium is normally processed in Afghanistan and then shipped through Iraq. This process was allegedly impossible during Saddam Hussein’s time because of his fanatical dislike of drugs and his control of ports such as Basra.

Although there seem to be no labs in Iraq as yet, one can imagine it is only a matter of time. The question is, who is going to stop or even control this? Is this the next thing the US army is going to have to deal with?

Just for the record, since the US led invasion the following has changed in Iraq:

Women are afraid to go on the streets without traditional muslim dress [check]
Christians are no longer free to worship where they wish [check]
Most of Baghdad is without power and water most of the time [check]
On average about 50 Iraqis die from violence in Baghdad every day [check]
Iraq has started growing opium poppies [check]

That’s a pretty impressive record considering the country was apparently ‘freed.’ Good on ya’ George.

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