Tim Elfrink wrote this dramatic summary of the recent history of cigarette smuggling as a source of terrorist income for the Miami New Times.
Medical use of opium in 9th-cent. Baghdad (book review)
Matthew S. Gordon (Miami University, OH), reviewing Selma Tibi, The Medical Use of Opium in Ninth-Century Baghdad, in Social History of Alcohol and Drugs 22/2 (Spring 2008): 297-298.
Alcohol returns to Baghdad
The (London) Independent reports the return of alcohol to Baghdad, shops owned by Christians and drinkers who sometimes now are willing to risk consuming alcohol in public. Iraqi breweries haven't reopened, so all the beer is imported. For more, see here.
Baghdad liquor sellers reopen
Improved security has allowed Baghdad liquor sellers to reopen their businesses. Most of the liquor sellers are Yazidis, members of a pre-Islamic Kurdish sect, or Christians. For details, see here.
Iraqis drink more tea than the British
Despite their troubles, the Iraqis drink 1219 cups of tea per capita, slightly more than the Irish at 1214 cups and considerably more than the British at 994 cups. Although the British remain big tea drinkers, they now consume only 5% of the world's tea. In 1955 they drank, along with the Irish, a third of the world's tea. For more, see here.
Growing opium in Iraq
Opium has not been grown in Iraq until recently. Now it flourishes amid the orange groves in Diyada province northeast of Baghdad. For more, see here.
Baghdad blast targets liquor sellers
The Baghdad blasts that targeted liquor sellers hit mostly Yazidis who recently have replaced Christians in the liquor business (as most Christians have left Iraq). The Yazidis are a small sect that live mostly in the Kurdish north. As Muslims aren't supposed to drink, they don't sell alcoholic drink. Obviously, a fair number of Iraqi Muslims buy alcohol when they can. For more, see here.
Iraq's alcohol business
Selling and drinking alcohol is still legal in Iraq, but since the rise of religious parties in this predominantly Muslim country, the trade has come under severe pressure.
Aside from legal restrictions, many liquor shops have been bombed in the past four years. Some who dared sell alcohol from their homes have been killed by religious militias, which use fear and intimidation to keep liquor out of areas they control.
Still, that has not deterred all traders or customers.
Read more here.
Liquor business is dangerous in Baghdad
Although the sale and consumption of alcohol is legal in Iraq, those who sell it--generally Christians or Yazidis in take-out stores--risk being killed by Muslim militias. Liquor stores are closed during Ramadan. Most customers are Muslim, although Islam prohibits drinking alcohol. For more, see here.
Illegal alcohol problem for American troops in Afghanistan and Iraq
According to the New York Times, illegal alcohol has helped fuel violent crimes by American troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. For more, see here.