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Al-Qa'ida is in control of many of the newly established opium farms and has sometimes taken the land of farmers it has killed, said a local source. At Buhriz, American military forces destroyed the opium farm and drove off al-Qa'ida last year but it later returned. "No one can get inside the farm because it is heavily guarded," said the source, adding that the area devoted to opium in Diyala is still smaller than that in southern Iraq around Amara and Majar al-Kabir.
After being harvested, the opium from Diyala is taken to Ramadi in western Iraq. There are still no reports of heroin laboratories being established in Iraq, unlike in Afghanistan.
Iraq has not been a major consumer of drugs but heroin from Afghanistan has been transited from Iran and then taken to Basra from where it is exported to the rich markets of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the Gulf. Under Saddam Hussein, state security in Basra was widely believed to control local drug smuggling through the city.
The growing and smuggling of opium will be difficult to stop in Iraq because much of the country is controlled by criminalised militias. American successes in Iraq over the past year have been largely through encouraging the development of a 70,000-strong Sunni Arab militia, many of whose members are former insurgents linked to protection rackets, kidnapping and crime. Muqtada al-Sadr, the leader of the powerful Shia militia, the Mehdi Army, says that criminals have infiltrated its ranks.
The move of local warlords, both Sunni and Shia, into opium farming is a menacing development in Iraq, where local political leaders are often allied to gangsters. The theft of fuel, smuggling and control of government facilities such as ports means that gangs are often very rich. It is they, rather than impoverished farmers, who have taken the lead in financing and organising opium production in Iraq.
Originally posted by khunmoon
It seems to be part of a war economy, that opium production is just another spin-off.
I just wonder if like in Afghanistan --and as it was in SE Asia-- if CIA and covert operations can have something to do with this.
Actually I think it has to do with Haliburton/KBR ..and posibly Blackwater, getting the pipelines mended and secured. Trafficing routes always seems to followpipelines.
Originally posted by IgnoranceIsntBlisss
In October of 2001, the United States invaded Afghanistan. While its rather peculiar that American officials were already threatening to attack Afghanistan before 9/11, whats even more curious is the fact that not only has opium production (in the worlds undisputed number 1 opium supplying nation) increased significantly since the invasion, and even the traffickers have squeezed down on the profits of the opium farmers. Production and exports have increased ala American industrialist style, while traffickers have farmers making as little as ¼ of what they deserve ala Walmart style.
"No one can get inside the farm because it is heavily guarded," said the source...
Originally posted by twitchy
Did I read that right? An un-named 'local source' says no one can get into a farm? That sounds a little fantastic, the most powerful miltary in the world can't get onto a farm... Are they kidding?
They are serving and protecting, you know ..also the property of their masters.