Under threat from the U.S., Syria has recently kicked out most of the Iraqi officials who fled there. But how did they get to other countries? According to the Washington Times, the French government secretly supplied them with passports that allowed them to escape to Europe. Since these are European Union passports, Saddam's family and henchmen?and maybe even Saddam himself?could be scattered throughout 12 different countries by now. A U.S. official says, "It made it very difficult to track these people."
Another official says, "It's like Raoul Wallenberg in reverse," referring to the Swedish diplomat who helped Jews escape the Nazis. "Now you have the French helping the bad guys escape from us." Few of the most senior leaders on the list of the top 55 officials of Saddam?s regime have been caught, and now probably none of them will be.
"France formally denies this type of allegation, which is not only contrary to reality but is intended to discredit our nation," says Nathalie Loiseau, a spokeswoman for the French Embassy. "It is certainly time for rumors of this type?totally unfounded and a dishonor to those who spread them?to stop."
Intelligence operatives have also discovered that a French company secretly sold military spare parts to Iraq in the weeks before the war, and a that French and Russian oil companies were working together to conclude a deal with Saddam's government at that time as well. Also, a Chinese chemical company may have used French and Syrian brokers to avoid UN sanctions and provide Iraq with chemicals used in making missile fuel.
Is EVERYTHING for sale these days?
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