Newsbrief: US Invasion Liberates Iraqi Heroin, Cocaine Sales 5/16/03

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Hard drugs have appeared for sale in the streets of Baghdad for the first time in years in the wake of invading US forces, according to a weekend report in Britain's The Independent. The report describes growing anger in Baghdad over the US failure to restore order in a city awash in crime and weapons. "Heroin, banned under Saddam Hussein's dictatorship upon pain of hanging, is now being traded in back streets," the newspaper reported.

"In Iraq there were no drugs until March 2003," pharmacist Salah Sha'amikh told The Independent. "You would be hanged for trafficking. But now you can get heroin, cocaine, anything." Waving a Russian-made pistol he carried to protect his wares, he added: "We are an Islamic society and we don't like drugs. You tell Tony Blair to stop these criminals."

Despite occasional salacious reports about drug use in Hussein's inner circle or among his sons, Iraq during the Hussein era was a virtual non-entity in the global drug war. The country was not mentioned in either the State Department's most recent annual report (http://www.state.gov/g/inl/rls/nrcrpt/2002/html/) or the International Narcotics Control Board's most recent report (http://www.incb.org/e/ind_ar.htm).

Whether Iraq was actually as drug free as as Sha-amikh claims, of course, is another question.

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Issue #287, 5/16/03 Editorial: Coddling Kidnappers | Illinois Over-the-Counter Syringe Bill Passes House, Awaits Governor's Signature | Moves Continue to Win Freedom for Tulia 13 -- Congress to Take a Look | Canada Marijuana Decriminalization Legislation Delayed -- Fears of United States, Discord in Government Cited | Alert and Clarification: Truth in Trials Act | Vote Now in Two Online Marijuana Decriminalization/Legalization Polls | World Social Thematic Forum to Address Drug Policy, Cartagena, Colombia, Next Month | Countdown to Fairness: Celebrity-Led Rockefeller Drug Law Protest Coming June 4th | Six-Year Anniversary of Esequiel Hernandez Shooting This Week | Newsbrief: Indonesia Quietly Supports Needle Exchanges | Newsbrief: US Functionaries Bluster at Bolivia | Newsbrief: US Invasion Liberates Iraqi Heroin, Cocaine Sales | Newsbrief: You Better Watch Yer Ass in Texas, Boy | Newsbrief: Utah Supreme Court Restricts Random Roadblocks, Again | Newsbrief: Supreme Court to Revisit Roadblock Ruling | Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cop Story | Newsbrief: New Jersey Drug Warrior Prescribes More Aggression | The Reformer's Calendar
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