Middle East

Saudi Arabia goes on beheading spree

Posted on September 19th, 2014 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , .

Middle EastWhile ISIS has sparked global outrage with its beheading of journalists (and less global outrage for its beheading of captive Kurdish and Syrian fighters), US ally Saudi Arabia has been gone on a beheading spree of its own. We've noted that Saudi Arabia is among the Middle Eastern nations responsible for a global execution spike. Al Jazeera reported on Sept. 2 that Saudi Arabia carried out more than one execution per day in the first three weeks of August. The Saudi Ministry of Justice has announced the execution of 26 since Aug. 4. In the seven months prior to that date, 15 executions were carried out, bringing the total number to 41 so far this year. Drug charges have been prominent. Four were beheaded in the southwestern city of Najran on Aug. 18 after being convicted of smuggling "a large quantity of hashish" into the country. The Saudi Press Agency boasted that King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud and his government are taking aggressive measures againts the "social ill of narcotics" and meting out punishment "according to Sharia." Creepily, a man was beheaded Aug. 19 in the northern city of Qurayyat on charges of "sorcery." Amnesty International denounced what it called a "disturbing surge" in executions in the desert kingdom. "The Saudi Arabian authorities must halt all executions," the group said, adding that some beheadings were "reportedly on the basis of forced confessions extracted through torture."

ISIS to attack US through Mexico —not!

Posted on September 14th, 2014 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , .

ISISHere we go again. Francis X. Taylor, under-secretary for intelligence and analysis at the Department of Homeland Security, testified before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security on Sept. 10 that operatives of the extremist jihadi movement variously known as ISIS, ISIL or the Islamic State have discussed infiltrating the United States through the Mexican border. "There have been Twitter and social-media exchanges among ISIL adherents across the globe speaking about that as a possibility," Taylor said in response to a question from Sen. John McCain, who wanted to know if any ISIS chatter had been intercepted that "would urge infiltration into the United States across our Southwestern border." But Taylor said he was "satisfied that we have the intelligence and the capability at our border that would prevent that activity." And when pressed further, he admitted: "At present, DHS is unaware of any specific, credible threat to the US homeland from ISIL." This weasily flipping gives the media the opportunity to play it however they want. So the liberal Huffington Post headline reads "DHS Doesn't Think ISIS Is Plotting Attack Through US-Mexico Border," while the establishmentarian Bloomberg goes with "Islamic State Talked of Entering US Through Mexico."

ISIS burns Syrian cannabis fields

Posted on September 1st, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , .

Middle EastThe extremist ISIS—now calling themselves the "Islamic State"—have left a bloody trail of mass murder in their advance across large swaths of northern Syria and Iraq over the past three months, slaughtering and enslaving Christians, Shi'ites and others deemed to be heretics. It is hardly surprising that they've been taking a tough line on cannabis. ISIS militants have posted footage on the Internet showing their men burning  cannabis fields in the Syrian governorate of Aleppo. The video, online at The Telegraph, shows men cutting down the plants in a large field, making a number of piles, dousing them with a flammable liquid and setting them alight. ISIS claim they discovered the farm after having captured the town of Akhtarin from the rival Free Syrian Army in recent weeks. The militants claim the farm owner fled over the nearby border with Turkey, according to Huffington Post.

Saudi authorities hunt for 'hashish kid' vlogger

Posted on June 12th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

Middle EastAuthorities in Saudi Arabia have sought the death penalty against dissident bloggers, and actually imposed prison terms and hundreds of lashes, for such sins as opposing sharia law and advocating equal rights for women. But now the conservative kingdom's General Directorate for Drug Control (GDDC) is hunting for a 13-year-old boy who appeared in a video clip teaching some of his friends the art of rolling a cigarette laced with hashish. Abdul Ilah Al-Sharif, assistant director general of the GDDC for preventive affairs, told Saudi Gazette that the agency is seeking the help of IT experts in tracking down the audacious young vlogger. The video clip, widely circulated on the Path social media platform, showed the boy proudly schooling viewers in the fine art of rolling a hash cigarette—using all the required materials, including a pinch each of  tobacco and hashish, as well as a sheet from Al-Sham newspaper to wrap the goodies up in.

Syria war fuels Lebanon hashish boom?

Posted on May 21st, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , , .

Middle EastA May 20 Reuters report picked up by Israel's dialy Ha'artez portrays Lebanon's government as having basically thown in the towel on cannabis eradiction in the Bekaa Valley, apparently afraid of the war spilling across the border from neighboring Syria. Towns in the Bekaa were hit by rocket fire last year, and the valley continues to be shaken by periodic sectarian attacks related to the fighting across the border in Syria. During Lebanon's own 1975-1990 civil war, the fertile Bekaa Valley produced up to 1,000 tons of hashish annually, before production was nearly stamped out under an aggressive eradication program. "From the 1990s until 2012, cannabis eradication took place on an annual basis," Col. Ghassan Shamseddine, head of Lebanon's drug enforcement unit, told Reuters.  "But in 2012...it was halted because of the situation on the Lebanese borders and the instability in Syria."

Middle East leads global execution spike

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

Middle EastAmnesty International's latest global report on the death penalty, "Death Sentences and Executions: 2013," finds that a number of nations in the Middle East have fueled a spike in global figures with a spree of executions. Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia alone accounted for almost 80% of all reported executions carried out worldwide in 2013—excluding China, where official figures are secret. The upsurge in executions in Iran and Iraq accounts for a global jump of nearly 15% from 2012. Across the Middle East and North Africa, at least 638 people were executed in 2013—mostly by beheadings, hangings or firing squad. In Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, capital punishment was imposed for drug offenses. In Saudi Arabia, one man was executed for "adultery." Vaguely worded offenses, such as moharebeh ("enmity against God"), were used in Iran to repress the political activities of ethnic minorities such as the Kurds.

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)

Who's new

  • Karr Young
  • John Veit
  • YosephLeib
  • Peter Gorman
  • jpproject