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January 18, 2006
Here Ya Go

Official US agency paints dire picture of 'out-of-control' Iraq

An official assessment drawn up by the US foreign aid agency depicts the security situation in Iraq as dire, amounting to a "social breakdown" in which criminals have "almost free rein".


The picture it paints is not only darker than the optimistic accounts from the White House and the Pentagon, it also gives a more complex profile of the insurgency than the straightforward "rejectionists, Saddamists and terrorists" described by George Bush.

The USAid analysis talks of an "internecine conflict" involving religious, ethnic, criminal and tribal groups. "It is increasingly common for tribesmen to 'turn in' to the authorities enemies as insurgents - this as a form of tribal revenge," the paper says, casting doubt on the efficacy of counter-insurgent sweeps by coalition and Iraqi forces.


A Harvest of Treachery

Afghanistan's drug trade is threatening the stability of a nation America went to war to stabilize. What can be done?

Jan. 9, 2006 issue - In the privacy of his sparsely furnished house in Kabul, a veteran Afghan Interior Ministry official says the situation may already be hopeless. Although he has no authorization to speak with the press, and he could be in personal danger if his identity became known, he's nevertheless too worried to keep silent. "We are losing the fight against drug traffickers," he says. "If we don't crack down on these guys soon, it won't be long until they're in control of everything."

His pessimism is spreading. Despite the recent fanfare over the convening of Afghanistan's first elected Parliament in more than three decades, the rule of law is under attack by a ruthless organization of warlords and drug smugglers that spans the country and transcends its ethnic divisions. Narcotics trafficking isn't merely big, it's more than half the economy—amounting to $2.7 billion annually, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)—that is, 52 percent of the country's entire GDP. And many of the underground industry's most important figures are said to be senior government officials in Kabul and the provinces. Amanullah Paiman, a newly elected member of Parliament from the far northern province of Badakhshan, has studied the country's drug problem and says Afghan government officials are involved in at least 70 percent of the traffic. "The chain of narcodollars goes from the districts to the highest levels of government," he says.

Brought to you by the Party of National Defense. (You know the onne. It's led by men who ran away when they were asked to help fight our last wartime disaster.)

Posted by AnneZook at 07:09 PM