Yemen

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."

Seeing patterns, from Colombia to Cape Town

Africa and the War on DrugsFor those who have been wondering what the truth is behind the media sensationalism about global cartels establishing Africa as their new theater of operations, Africa and the War on Drugs  by Neil Carrier and Gernot Klantschnig (Zed Books, London, 2012) clears the air in a welcome way.

The authors, a pair of British academics, portray a strategy by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to hype the threat and replicate the hardline policies pursued in Latin America and elsewhere on the African continent. Drug trafficking has definitely been growing in Africa in recent years—ironically, the authors argue, as a result of "successes" in Latin America. As the old cartels and their smuggling routes were broken up, new more fragmented networks have sought new routes and markets. This conveniently coincided with South Africa's reintegration to the world economy after the end of apartheid, and more generally with Africa's globalization.

Yemen: khat fueling or holding back revolution?

Posted on February 12th, 2011 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , .

khatYemen's opposition has repeatedly drawn tens of thousands to the streets to protest against President Ali Abdullah Saleh's three decades of autocratic rule in recent weeks, but by noon the protesters quietly vanish. Many head straight to the souk, or market, to buy bags of khat, the stimulant leaf that over half of Yemen's 23 million people chew daily. Some activists maintain, however, that khat serves as a social lubricant that helps fuel the opposition movement.

DEA prepares khat crackdown

Posted on March 26th, 2010 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , , .

khatThe DEA is said to be preparing a new crackdown on khat, the mildly psychoactive leaf grown in Yemen and the Horn of Africa, in response to a boom in domestic demand as more Somali, Ethiopian and Eritrean immigrants arrive in the US. In a joint raid with local police, US Customs and Border Patrol intercepted a 22-pound package of the leaf in Wisconsin's La Crosse County March 13. It was apparently bound for the Twin Cities area. (La Crosse Tribune, March 13)

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