people were extremely angered after Prime Minister Adil Abd al-Mahdi said earlier
that drugs are illegally entering the country after being smuggled via
Argentina and through Syria.
“The drugs are transferred from Argentina to Arsal, then to Syria, and end up in Iraqi territory,” Abd al-Mahdi said.
The controversy arose after Iraqi border security forces foiled numerous attempts to smuggle drugs from Iran.
Last November, Basra police chief, Rashid Falih said that 80 percent of the narcotics that enter Basra are coming from Iran.
Since then, security officials have received an approval from the interior ministry to carry out large-scale operations to secure Basra’s border with Iran.
His remarks stirred controversy on social media with critics saying they are typical of the Iraqi political elite's disregard for citizens.
Activists circulated a map with the name Argentina as the name of Iran, calling it the "Islamic Republic of Argentina".
"Does Abd al-Mahdi have the courage to say that all the destruction and suffering of Iraq is sourced by Iran?” said Hussam Ali on Twitter.
Hakim al-Zamili, former MP and a prominent figure of the Sadrist Movement said earlier that Iran and Afghanistan are the biggest sources of drugs smuggled to Iraq.
Zamili said that about 2,650 of drug abusers are imprisoned, adding that drug traffickers always manage to escape punishment, because they are associated with political parties.
Zamili accused some political parties of involvement in the smuggling of narcotics into Iraq, adding that some blocs intervened to release a banana trader who smuggled half a ton of cocaine from Ecuador inside banana boxes.
The political interventions have replaced the judge responsible for this lawsuit, and subsequently the release of the smuggler trader.
In less than a decade, Iraq has been transformed from a transit country for illicit drugs into a consumer and manufacturer, Asia Times reported. The industry seems to be expanding as Iraqi courts handle about 30 drug-related cases daily.
Prior to the April 2003 US invasion, illicit drug activity was limited in Iraq. Saddam Hussein’s regime imposed harsh penalties for both dealers and users, including the death penalty. The situation changed after the fall of the dictatorial regime.
Now, the Interior Ministry issues weekly statements about counter-narcotics operations, announcing the apprehension of traffickers and users. The endless crackdown reveals the extent of the security apparatus’ struggle with the problem.
Abd al-Mahdi's comments were widely criticized by bloggers, while others have commented on the prime minister's remarks ironically.
"The Islamic Republic of Argentina," says Abdullah
Abu Farah wrote: "Thank you to Argentina, Arsal, Syria and etc for delivering the goods (drugs) …"
"Down with Messi the drug smuggler," says Abdelkrim Ali.
Abd al-Mahdi, said during his weekly conference held at the government headquarters in Baghdad that the way drugs are moved to Iraq "is very long," adding that they are transferred from Argentina to Arsal, then to Syria, and end up at the Iraqi territory.