Patrick Cockburn gives reality a leftist twist for The Independent:
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.
Afghan[s] with experience in planting poppies have been helping farmers switch to producing opium in fertile parts of Diyala province, once famous for its oranges and pomegranates, north-east of Baghdad.
At a heavily guarded farm near the town of Buhriz, south of the provincial capital Baquba, poppies are grown between the orange trees in order to hide them, according to a local source.
Here is the narrative you are supposed to believe. Opium has been grown in Iraq since the Sumerian era in 3400BC. Farmers in Diyala province of Iraq cannot make a living growing regular food crops. Recently, these Afghans just happened to be walking by with everything that was needed to grow opium poppies. Farmers not realizing that opium gets processed and turned into heroin thought it sounded like a wonderful idea to grow opium between the orange trees in their orchards. The fact that the al-Qaeda “resistance” hides out here and has killed a bunch of farmers before seizing their land doesn’t have anything to do with why opium poppies are being cultivated in Diyala. That is just a coincidence. By the way, all the violence in the province is caused not by al-Qaeda but by American troops. There are not any heroin labs in Iraq.
Those who read past the first three paragraphs will discover there is more to it.
Diyala, an area of foothills stretching from just east of Baghdad to the Iranian border, with easy transit across the Iranian border, is the primary center of violence and al-Qaeda terrorist activity in Iraq. Al-Qaeda jihadists and criminals imported opium poppies and Afghan experts in opium cultivation to Iraq, first in the south around Basra and now also in Diyala. al-Qaeda jihadists and other violent criminal gangs have taken over a bunch of farms in the boonies after either killing or driving away the owners and are cultivating opium poppies and preparing for jihad operations on their stolen land. There are not any known heroin labs in Iraq, yet.
The Al-Qaeda “resistance” romanticized by the likes of Cockburn are not Minutemen or heroes. They are criminal gangs something like MS-13, the Crips, and the Bloods, only more violent and fascist and not nearly as civic minded.
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Technorati Tags: al-Qaeda, drug smuggling, Iraq, Jihad