Middle East

Egypt: Muslim Brotherhood scion busted for hashish

Posted on March 3rd, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

Middle EastEgypt's Ahram Online reports March 2 that Abdullah Mohamed Morsi—the son of ousted president Mohamed Morsi of the ultra-conservative Muslim Brotherhood—was arrested for possession of hashish. The young Morsi and a friend were detained at a security checkpoint in the Nile Delta's Obour City, Qalyubia governorate, where officials say they found two "joints of hashish" (presumably hash-laced tobacco) in their car. The two were released after they agreed to give blood and urine samples, which could result in their conviction. Abdullah's brother, Osama Morsi, condemned the arrest on his Facebook page, asserting the claim of drug possession is being used to "taint the image of honest people."

Turkey's hashish boom —fallout from Syria war?

Posted on January 11th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , .

Middle EastTurkish security forces report that they seized 150 tons of hashish in 2013, with 89 tons seized in southeastern Diyarbakir province, Turkey's Kurdish heartland. Authorities also said a somewhat improbable 56 million cannabis plants had been seized in Diyarbakir, and 382 arrested. The provincial Counter Narcotics Department called it a record-breaking year. (Trend, Jan. 9)

Khat-terrorism connection raises its dubious head —again

Posted on December 27th, 2013 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , , .

khatMuslim community leaders in Texas are protesting the latest outbreak of the perennial hype over the khat plant and its supposed links to terrorism. It began when a traffic stop near Houston last year turned up two men chewing the midly psychoactive but thoroughly illegal leaf. This sparked a year-long investigation involving local, state and federal agencies that has so far resulted in more than a half-dozen arrests. The Texas Department of Public Safety took the opportunity to link khat to terrorism in its statewide threat assessment. The statement referred to the "chewable narcotic plant grown in the Horn of Africa whose sale abroad is suspected to benefit Africa-based terrorist organizations such as al-Shabaab." That assessment, the Austin American-Statesman reported last month, was based on Congressional testimony given more than a decade ago by Steven McCraw—then-FBI-assistant director, now DPS director—who said it is likely that khat proceeds "pass through the hands of suspected [Islamic militants] and other persons with possible ties to terrorist groups."

Persian Gulf militarized —by drug war

Posted on December 9th, 2013 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , , , , , .

Middle EastThe past year has seen a spate of dangerous brinkmanship in the Persian Gulf, with Iran and US naval forces along with those of the Gulf's oil-rich Arab mini-states playing chicken over the strategic choke-point of the Strait of Hormuz. But in addition to this show-down over a global oil outlet, the Gulf has seen escalating militarization in the guise of narcotics enforcement. Bahrain's Gulf Daily News on Nov. 26 ran a story boasting of the exploits of a 29-nation Combined Maritime Forces group, based at the petro-kingdom's sprawling US Navy base and commanded by Capt. Robert Slaven of the Royal Australian Navy. While it claims to have "considerably reduced the number of terrorist attacks in the region" over the past decade, it's most concrete gains are hashish and heroin seizures.

Strange bedfellows in Israel medical cannabis push

Posted on October 24th, 2013 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , .

Middle EastIsrael has the world's highest proportion of registered medical marijuana users—but the program has been kept under tight control of the Health Ministry. Now, Israel's parliament, the Knesset, is set to vote on a bill that would allow private physicians to prescribe cannabis for their patients. Health Minister Yael German opposes the measure, making the usual argument that it would open the floodgates of recreational use: "It would not be unrealistic to assume that there would be patients who would pressure doctors to write them a cannabis prescription for any bump, headache or toothache."

Iran smuggles pills, hash to Gulf states?

Posted on October 1st, 2013 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , .

Middle EastThe growing paranoia about Iranian hashish flooding the puritanical Persian Gulf states will doubtless be jacked up by the latest busts—three Iranian men arrested off Dubai by security forces of the United Arab Emirates, accused of smuggling 223 kilograms of hash and nearly 20,000 Tramadol pills in the diesel tanks of their dhow. The Sept. 30 bust comes as a 35-year-old Bangladeshi worker was charged with possessing 10,350 Tramadol pills for distribution in the UAE. Days earlier, agents of Kuwait's Drug Control Department nabbed a Kuwaiti citizen and an accused accomplice of unspecified Arab origin in possession of 8 kilograms of hashish and 5,000  Tramadol  tablets. (Gulf News, Sept. 30; Arab Times, Sept. 28)

Saudi hashish seizures: Taliban blowback?

Posted on September 13th, 2013 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , , .

Middle EastThe arch-puritanical rulers of Saudi Arabia can't be happy about this. A Saudi border patrol ship intercepted a boat loaded with a half-ton of hashish bound for the kingdom's shores on the Persian Gulf Sept. 6—after an exchange of fire with the crew, in which two of the smugglers were shot, one fatally. The three surviving traffickers, identified as Iranian, were taken into custody, along with 552 kilograms of hashish. (Saudi Gazette, Sept. 11; Arab News, Sept. 8)

United Kingdom to ban khat

Posted on July 10th, 2013 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

khatThe herbal stimulant khat is to be banned by the British government—against the advice of its own Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs. In January the ACMD said khat should remain a legal substance, finding "insufficient evidence" it caused health problems. But Home Secretary Theresa May announced her decision to ban it last week, saying the risks posed could have been underestimated. Khat will be treated as a class C drug, along with anabolic steroids and ketamine. The Home Office said the ban was intended to "protect vulnerable members of our communities." 

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