French Twist

Timmerman, Kenneth R.
March 2003
New Republic;3/17/2003, Vol. 228 Issue 10, p10
Offers observations on French-Iraqi commerce, which results in funding Iraqi illicit weapons programs. France is responsible for nearly 25 percent of Iraq's imports, trade worth nearly $1.5 billion to French companies. What they overlook is that France has been providing equipment with military uses to Baghdad for years. It's no secret that France has significant oil interests in Iraq. French national oil giant TotalFinaElf recently negotiated a contract with Baghdad to expand Iraq's huge southern oil fields worth an estimated $40 to $60 billion. That contract can only come to fruition if Saddam remains in power. Worse than the oil deals, Iraq turns to France for telecommunications products, pesticides, and other items ostensibly imported to rebuild Iraq's civilian infrastructure but which could be used for Iraqi weapons programs. In private, French officials vigorously deny that commercial motives are driving their alliance with Germany against using force to disarm Iraq.


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