Lebanon Plans New Drug Crackdown
Lebanonese Interior Minister Elias Murr expressed sympathy on Monday for farmers forced by economic necessity to plant drug-related crops, but nevertheless announced a government crackdown on such crops in the Bekaa Valley, reported the Daily Star newspaper.
“What I want to stress is that although Lebanon will not permit planting [drug-related crops], the motives for such plantation must also be taken into consideration,” he said after meeting with Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri to discuss security reports on the resurgence of such cultivation in the Bekaa Valley.
Also attending the meeting were Defense Minister Khalil Hrawi and Justice Minister Samir Jisr.
Murr said that while a plan of attack would be drawn up “within days,” the government would also consider the “difficult situation” of farmers.
“Accordingly, we will take into consideration the farmers’ social and living conditions,” Murr said. “We are not prepared to starve people to please anyone. At the same time, we are not ready to see our country being discredited to please someone else.”
According to the paper, Murr’s remark was quickly interpreted as an indication that the government planned to pay compensation to farmers growing marijuana.
But one source who attended the meeting later explained that the government would enlist the help of international organizations in finding alternative crops for the farmers so they could make a living – Albawaba.com