Are the French against the Iraq war because they want peace or because it’s bad for business? U.S. intelligence has discovered that a French company has been selling Iraq spare parts for its fighter jets and military helicopters through a trading company in the United Arab Emirates, which then ships them to Iraq. This has been going on for years, despite the fact that Iraq is not allowed to import military goods, according to a UN Security Council resolution passed after the 1991 Persian Gulf war. “No wonder the French are opposing us,” a U.S. official says.
It’s not clear that the French government knew about or approved of this activity. Nathalie Loiseau, of the French Embassy, says, “We fully comply with the UN sanctions, and there is no sale of any kind of military material or weapons to Iraq.”
French arms sales to Iraq increased during the 1970s and President Jacques Chirac once called Saddam Hussein a “personal friend.” Iraq now owes France an estimated $4 billion as a result of arms sales and construction projects, which may be another reason the French don’t want to get rid of Saddam.
No matter how the UN votes, it’s likely we?ll be going to war any day now. Hope for the best, but be prepared for the worst.
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