Booze Flows in Baghdad

Despite security risks, business is booming
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 2, 2008 11:09 AM CDT
Majid Barnham, a 23 year old salesman at a liquor store, gets a kiss from his brother as he lies wounded in an emergency room in Kirkuk.   (AP Photo/Emad Matti)
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(Newser) – Iraq may be a war-torn nation with deep-seated sectarian divisions, but things are picking up for a certain thirsty segment of the population. That’s right: booze is flowing again in Baghdad, McClatchy Newspapers reports. Though a predominantly Muslim nation, Iraq, even under Saddam Hussein, permitted any citizen to sip, though only non-Muslims could sell the stuff.

Many Baghdad liquor stores (bars are rare) have been intermittently shuttered since the American invasion and the resulting unrest. Though extremists are still bombing the shops and cutting off the arms of entrepreneurs, some stores are turning out the hooch in increasingly regular hours. “I open my store at 10am and close it at 7pm," one owner said. “The security situation is much better.” Cheers.