Bush’s ‘new’ Iraq now grows opium, like Bush’s ‘new’ Afghanistan

Opium poppy

From British daily The Independent:

Opium: Iraq‘s deadly new export

Amid the anarchy, farmers begin to grow opium poppies, raising fears that the country could become a major heroin supplier

By Patrick Cockburn in Baghdad

Published: 23 May 2007

Farmers in southern Iraq have started to grow opium poppies in their fields for the first time, sparking fears that Iraq might become a serious drugs producer along the lines of Afghanistan.

Rice farmers along the Euphrates, to the west of the city of Diwaniya, south of Baghdad, have stopped cultivating rice, for which the area is famous, and are instead planting poppies, Iraqi sources familiar with the area have told The Independent.

Many people are so poor in Iraq that they cannot afford rice any more.

So, crops for export might look more economically viable; like in Afghanistan

There is no inherent reason why the opium poppy should not be grown in the hot and well-watered land in southern Iraq.

It was cultivated in the area as early as 3,400BC and was known to the ancient Sumerians as Hul Gil, the “joy plant”.

Some of the earliest written references to the opium poppy come from clay tablets found in the ruins of the city of Nippur, just to the east of Diwaniya.

Opium fields spread across Iraq as farmers try to make ends meet: here.

Opium addiction in Afghanistan: here.

8 thoughts on “Bush’s ‘new’ Iraq now grows opium, like Bush’s ‘new’ Afghanistan

  1. Iraq becoming major hub for international narcotics smuggling
    By Agence France Presse (AFP)

    Monday, July 07, 2008

    Iraq becoming major hub for international narcotics smuggling

    Salam Faraj

    Agence France Presse

    BAGHDAD: War-torn Iraq is emerging as a key conduit in the global drugs trade, as criminal gangs exploit its porous border with Iran to channel their illicit goods to the Middle East, Africa and Europe. The Iraqi authorities say that since the 2003 US-led invasion the trade in illegal opiates, cannabis and synthetic pharmaceuticals has risen steadily



  2. Vice And Victory

    April 19, 2009: The war in Afghanistan is having a growing impact on Iraq. This is in the form of a growing quantity of heroin and opium from Afghanistan. Despite the prevalence of Islamic conservatives in the Persian Gulf, there is also a lot of oil money, and young men without jobs. These men have money from their families, are bored, and eager customers for drugs from Afghanistan, and synthetic drugs (prescription and non-prescription) from the West. Vice, in general, has returned to Baghdad. No more religious vigilantes attacking liquor stores or video shops. The night clubs are open again, and prostitution flourishes along with gambling and all manner of depravity.



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