Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

"Welt am Sonntag" (Germany): A Veto for Oil and Weapons.. Good Explanation of Financial Connections
"Welt am Sonntag" ^ | March 9, 2003 | "Welt am Sonntag" / Hans Krech and Heimo Schwilk

Posted on 03/08/2003 6:57:53 PM PST by longjack

A veto for oil and weapons

France, Russia and China are playing the peace card in the UN Security Council. In reality, though, it's all about their business dealings with Baghdad amounting to billions.

By Hans Krech and Heimo Schwilk

It was the hour of the hypocrites and moralists. After the German Secretary of State Joschka Fischer, at that time still chairman of the UN Security Council, had opened the debate about the work of the weapon inspectors in Iraq on February 14th, France's Secretary of State Dominique de Villepin caught the chairman's eye.

With a concerned voice and with the stage manners of a diplomat who represents the Grand Nation, the gray-maned Frenchman adeptly told his American counterpart, Colin Powell: "We French know, my dear colleague, what a fight for freedom means, but similarly, we also know what war and destruction mean!" "France, obligated to her eternal values, believes that we can create a better world together". But, as Villepin continued, we must do that with peaceful means, not with war.

After the long-lasting applause had faded, the Russian Secretary of State, Igor Ivanov, got in on the action with the announcement, "Russia will exercise its veto against American war plans in order to maintain the international stability". The Chinese representative in the Security Council nodded in agreement.

What connects the three potential veto powers who have engaged the Americans for months in a stubborn diplomatic wrestling match over war and disarmament in Iraq? The answer is as simple as it is banal: It's all about big business.

If the USA and Great Britain should prevail, Russia, France and China would be weakened economically as well as strategically. The leaders of several Iraqi opposition groups have already announced that after the fall of Saddam Hussein they wouldn't want to have economic contacts with states which would have supported the regime of the dictator.

Iraq has the second greatest occurrence of oil in the world with about 100 billion barrels. Added to that are significant natural gas stocks, which, until now, have hardly been exploited. The financial contracts alone for the reconstruction of the Iraq after the fall of the dictator will amount to about 200 billion dollars. Who will get these contracts is the reason the UN Security Council is presently fighting.

Russia is traditionally the most important economic partner of Iraq. About 90 per cent of the armaments and equipment of the Iraqi forces was obtained from former Soviet Union. An Iraqi delegation led by General Amir Rashid signed a contract in Moscow in February 1995 for the delivery of 4000 T80 U battle tanks to Baghdad. The delivery shall start as soon as the UN sanctions are lifted. It would be the largest weapons order for Russia since the end of the cold war. Iraq would be able to quickly regain full offensive ability in the Gulf and once again be able threaten its neighboring states Kuwait and Iran militarily.

In March 2001 Iraqi vice-president Taha Yassin Ramadan submitted an offer to the Russian government in Moscow for financial orders with a value of 21 billion dollars, if Russia would support the lifting of UN sanctions. In August 2002, the Russian government first officially confirmed 70 economic projects in Iraq, among these seven in petro-chemical areas and 14 in the areas of traffic and communication with a total value of 40 billion Euros. The contracts were signed in September. In so doing Iraq became the most important Russian foreign market of all, the most important hard currency source and the symbol of hope for an economic upswing in Russian industry. Furthermore, Moscow expects orders for the rebuilding of the Iraqi armed forces, such as delivering fighter planes, air defense missiles and modern radar equipment.

Russia's first contact with the Iraqi opposition happened in Washington in August 2002. Andrei Kroschkin of the Russian embassy explained to Intifad Kanbar, the head of the office of the Iraqi national convention INC in Washington, that the policy concerning Iraq was conducted exclusively by economic interests. Iraq is still indebted to Russia for six billion dollars.

Iraq's and Russia signed another three agreements for the development oil fields in the south and west at the beginning of this year. Furthermore the Russian energy group Lukoil disclosed that Iraq has overturned its decision of November 2002 to withdraw the contract for development of the West-Kurna oil field. The contract is valid again. Baghdad had cancelled it to force Russia to fully support the Iraqi position in the Security Council.

White Russia (Belarus) is sailing in Russia's wake. The country doesn't produce any weapons itself, however, it sells Russian equipment. Minsk is the sixth largest weapon's exporter in the world. As is well known, the Iraqi air defense hasn't managed to shoot down a single American or British fighter plane over the no-fly zones since 1991, because the radar equipment and air defense missiles have become obsolete.

It became known in March 2002 that 30 Iraqi officers at the military academy of Minsk were trained in the use of the modern Russian air defense misile S 300's the Russian counterpart to the patriot of NATO. The delivery of these S 300's to Iraq by White Russia shall have also been agreed to. At the Beirut airport in January of this year twelve tons of radio equipment and helmets for tank crews were confiscated which should have been delivered to Iraq from White Russia.

France is also behaving hypocritically in its resistance to Washington. What Secretary of State Dominique de Villepin forgot to mention in the United Nations Security Council: The Iraqi-French business relations are based on the long-standing and close relations of president Jacques Chirac with Saddam Hussein. In 1974, the only foreign trip to a western country the Iraqi vice-president at the time, Saddam, undertook was to Chirac in Paris. Thereupon France built the Iraqi nuclear reactor Osirak, which was destroyed in 1981 by Israeli fighter planes. Essential components of Iraq's secret nuclear weapon program come from France.

In the first gulf war (1980-1988) of Iraq against neighbor Iran, France supplied Mirage fighter planes and the anti-ship missiles, "Exocet", to Baghdad. Only through this was it possible for Iraq to hold against the superior Iranian navy.

Iraq still has substantial debts to France, also. Should Saddam remain in power, Paris beckons weapon's orders in the sectors of navy, air force and missile technology, and, as well, next to Russia, they will receive the most important share of the contracts for the rebuilding of the Iraq, including the development of new oil fields by the ELF group.

China, the third party in the federation against the USA,also has clearly defined economic interests in preventing the fall of Saddam. Chinese companies and technicians have been wiring the military communication facilities of Iraq for months, particularly in the area of air defense, with eavesdrop-proof fiber optic cable. Beijing can expect orders in the sectors of infrastructure and the navy if the dictator stays at the power. Two guided missile frigates have already been built for Iraq in China, which can be transferred ed as soon as the UN sanctions are lifted.

Germany, however, pursued a clearly defined policy opposing the Iraqi regime prior to 1998. She aimed for democratizing the country and thereby to protect the interests of the German economy. Hans-Dietrich Genscher was the first Secretary of State of a NATO country to denounce the Iraqi attack on Iran in 1980 as aggression. At that time, France and also the USA still strongly supported Iraq with supplies of arms. In 1991 Genscher demanded that Saddam be put before an international war crimes tribunal. German firms that violated the UN sanctions were prosecuted legally. By doing that, Germany secured for itself, on the side of the USA, the main share of the expected contracts for the reconstruction of Iraq, as well as supplying Germany with mineral oil for the next 50 years.

After 1998, admittedly, the government Schröder/Fischer changed the strategic orientation of German- Iraq politics. Should the USA should be successful in an Iraq campaign Germany would be on the outside looking in, together with Russia, China and France. Germany would have no share at all of the expected financial contracts with a total worth of 200 billion dollars.

Artikel erschienen am 9. März 2003

Translated by longjack

Ein Veto für Öl und Waffen

TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: china; france; germany; iraq; russia; un; warlist


1 posted on 03/08/2003 6:57:53 PM PST by longjack
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: americanbychoice; An.American.Expatriate; a_Turk; BMCDA; CatoRenasci; demlosers; eabinga; ...
German ping
2 posted on 03/08/2003 6:58:44 PM PST by longjack
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: longjack
Weasels ping!
3 posted on 03/08/2003 7:05:32 PM PST by norton
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: longjack
Very nice.

Danke for the clear translation.
4 posted on 03/08/2003 7:09:22 PM PST by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: norton
This Troka's opposition is all about money...Politics defined..Who gets what and when.
5 posted on 03/08/2003 7:13:25 PM PST by TUX
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: *war_list; Ernest_at_the_Beach
6 posted on 03/08/2003 7:29:37 PM PST by Free the USA (Stooge for the Rich)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Free the USA
Outstanding analysis.
7 posted on 03/08/2003 8:04:50 PM PST by Don'tMessWithTexas
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: longjack

have you noticed a subtle shift in reporting and opinion after the anti-american orgy a couple of weeks ago? It seems to me that after the catharsis of the anti-american venom fest, quite a few Europeans sobered up. Even some French deputies publicly questioned Chirac's course. Even Die Zeit seems to have lightened up.

But perhaps I'm dreaming.

8 posted on 03/08/2003 8:23:16 PM PST by pierrem15
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: pierrem15
I think the reporting in Germany is more anti-American. It's hard to find anything where I look that will try to show America in even a little positive light. This article is an exception.

The "WamS", this paper, has an op-ed that strongly criticizes Schroeder. The article blames him for the state of the world as it is now. Maybe I'll have time to translate that tomorrow.

There are Germans who realize that the US is defending itself. The majority of the media, though, uses conjecture and insinuation to paint our motives as suspect.

Now they've decided that the best tactic to avoid a vote is to say it isn't necessary. The inspections are working, the resolution (1441)is in place, etc., B.S., etc.

Bush shut them up for a few days, though. If the UN doesn't vote the UN becomes irrelevant. The media knows that, but still doesn't have the ba..s to call the members to vote.

This is a rant, btw. JMO.


9 posted on 03/08/2003 8:41:41 PM PST by longjack
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: pierrem15
I don't think it's your imagination. I occasionally tune into a newscast from Deutsche Welle (in English) on either World Link TV or News World International. I saw their coverage of the Blix report and was impressed; they did a good job.
10 posted on 03/08/2003 8:45:55 PM PST by Vroomfondel
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: longjack
Middle East

Germany's leading role in arming Iraq
By Marc Erikson

Expurgated portions of Iraq's December 7 report to the UN Security Council show that German firms made up the bulk of suppliers for Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs. What's galling is that German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and his minions have long known the facts, German intelligence services know them and have loads of information on what Saddam Hussein is hiding, and Schroeder nonetheless plays holier than thou to an easily manipulated, pacifist-inclined domestic audience.

If it's not the height of hypocrisy and opportunism, Schroeder's preemptive "no war. period" stance on Iraq and insistence on a "German Way" (Deutscher Weg) certainly come close. German Way? Haven't we heard that sort of talk before sometime, somewhere? But leave that be. It falls in the same category as Schroeder's former justice minister's comparison of US President George W Bush to Adolf Hitler in last summer's election campaign. Not only Schroeder and that unfortunate lady, but politicians elsewhere are of limited mental accountability when desperate about winning an election, and suffer lapses of speech and memory.

In 1991, Iraq fired dozens of Scud missiles at Israel and threatened to arm the missiles with poison-gas and biological warheads. Most of the contents of those warheads were made in Germany or made with the aid of German engineers and technology. In light of German history, can Herr Schroeder countenance the possibility of a future poison gas attack on Israel (or anyone else) facilitated by German know-how? Schroeder may not want to go to war. So be it. But he should regard it as his most solemn obligation to do his absolute damnedest to make sure that in the future "good Germans" don't once again stand there and say: "We didn't know."

Friedbert Pflueger, foreign policy spokesman of the main opposition Christian Democratic parties and an embittered critic of Schroeder's and Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer's Iraq policy, last Thursday accused the red-green coalition government of deliberately keeping the German and world public uninformed of BND (German foreign intelligence service) evidence and assessments on the continued existence of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction (WMDs). "If we trust our [intelligence] services, and I do, then we know that there exist weapons of mass destruction in Iraq," said Pflueger, and referred to a November 13, 2002, BND briefing of members of parliament's foreign affairs committee in which relevant information was disclosed. As a member of parliament, added Pflueger, he was bound by his secrecy oath not to pass on such information, but challenged Schroeder to make it public forthwith. This was necessary, he said, "so that Herr Schroeder cannot continue to spread the impression that the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq is a figment of George W Bush's imagination". He said further that he would dearly like to know exactly how many different types of smallpox virus were in Iraq's possession as - during a November 13 budget committee meeting - Health Minister Ulla Schmidt had motivated her request for a several million euro allocation for the purchase of smallpox vaccine with reference to such Iraqi stocks. Well, Gerhard, why's your minister worried? Or do vaccine purchases fall into the category of economic stimulus for the pharmaceutical industry?

The reason the BND is well-informed of Iraqi WMD programs - nuclear, biological and chemical - is straightforward: since the early 1980s, it has monitored German exports of dual-use nuclear technologies, precursor chemicals for poison-gas weapons, and "pharmaceutical" products and equipment for biological weapons manufacture to the Middle East. Indeed, there are strong suspicions that it was a silent partner in a Hamburg front company, Water Engineering Trading or WET, which covered for and facilitated such exports. Chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix said in his January 27 report that tons of Iraqi chemical and biological agents and precursors were unaccounted for. Over the years, well over half of the precursor materials and a majority of the tools and know-how for their conversion into weapons were sold to Iraq by German firms - both prior to and after the 1991 Gulf War. The BND has the details.

In the summer of 1994, the BND conducted a major study to estimate the magnitude of the - as at that time - still undeclared and concealed Iraqi WMD arsenal, relying on sales records in its possession of post-Gulf War German, Austrian, and Swiss exports of technologies, sub-systems and strategic materials to Iraq. It concluded that these exports pointed to several specific weapons programs, ranging from ballistic missile upgrades to poison gas manufacture, which Iraq had not declared and UN inspectors were unaware of and hence, not surprisingly, had failed to discover. While the magnitude of the current (1994) Iraqi weapons program "is difficult to assess", said the BND, there is no doubt that "some of the material and equipment" has eluded discovery and certain projects "are being revived and run clandestinely".

In February 2001, the BND compiled a further report and intelligence chief August Hanning told Spiegel magazine that, "Since the end of the UN inspections [December 1998], we have determined a jump in procurement efforts by Iraq," adding that Saddam was rebuilding destroyed weapons facilities "partly based on the German industrial standard".

According to the report:

Iraq has resumed its nuclear program and may be capable of producing an atomic bomb in three years;

Iraq is developing its Al Samoud and Ababil 100/Al Fatah short-range rockets, which can deliver a 300kg payload 150km. Medium-range rockets capable of carrying a warhead 3,000km could be built by 2005 - far enough to reach Europe;

Iraq is capable of manufacturing solid rocket fuel;

A Delhi-based company, blacklisted by the German government because of its alleged role in weapons proliferation, has acted as a buyer on Iraq's behalf. Deliveries have been made via Malaysia and Dubai. Indian companies have copied German machine tools down to the smallest detail and such equipment has been installed in numerous chemicals projects. [Note that such Indian cooperation with Iraq is something of a tradition: during the Iran-Iraq war India delivered precursors for warfare agents to Iraq - and later was found to have delivered quantities of the same materials to Iran. Baghdad's middleman at the time, an Iraqi with a German passport, founded a company in Singapore expressly for this purpose.]

Since the departure of the UN inspectors, the number of Iraqi sites involved in chemicals production has increased from 20 to 80. Of that total, a quarter could be involved in weapons production.

The BND's warnings didn't stop with that report. In April 2001, Hanning told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper that Iraq was developing a new class of chemical weapons, reiterated his alert on Iraq's missile and nuclear programs, and said that several German companies had continued to deliver to Baghdad components needed for the production of poison gas. In March 2002, he told the New Yorker magazine that, "It is our estimate that Iraq will have an atomic bomb in three years." The German opposition parties' demand that the government make public what it knows is thus no irresponsible, idle, politically inspired chatter as the ruling Social Democrats and Greens charge. The irresponsible chatter and politicking is Herr Schroeder's.

Houston, Texas, attorney Gary Pitts announced late last December that his firm, Pitts and Associates, would soon launch a class action suit on behalf of more than 3,000 sick Gulf War veterans against dozens of European companies accused of helping arm Iraq with weapons of mass destruction. Pitts said he had received a list of 56 international suppliers of equipment and raw materials necessary to make sarin, VX, mustard gas and other chemical agents from the Iraqi government. The list, brought back from Iraq by former weapons inspector Scott Ritter last September, proves identical to one included in a 1998 Iraqi chemical weapons declaration to the UN, resubmitted unchanged on December 7 and withheld from publication by the inspectors - along with other items - for reasons of "sensitivity". Withheld as well is a list of Iraqi nuclear technology suppliers originally contained in a 1996 declaration and also resubmitted on December 7. That nuclear weapons production details on uranium enrichment, detonation, implosion testing and warhead construction contained in Iraq's declarations should be withheld from all but the five permanent UN Security Council members may have some justification. That lists of suppliers for nuclear, chemical and biological weapons components are being withheld makes sense only if the UN inspectors want to save supplier countries and firms from embarrassment - precisely the embarrassment they should be exposed to to forestall future deliveries.

The list in Iraq's 1998/current chemical weapons declaration contains 31 "major suppliers", 14 from Germany. The 1996/current nuclear suppliers list has 62 company names on it, 33 from Germany. As Iraq claims that since 1991 it has not engaged in WMD production, the lists name no post-Gulf War suppliers. Call it old news. So much the sillier that the UN refuses to make them public. But since the BND claims that deliveries did not stop at the end of the Gulf War as well as simply as a matter of record of German complicity in arming Iraq, the issue remains an urgent current concern.

Leading the honor roll of chemical agents and production equipment suppliers (in this case nerve gas precursors and manufacturing) to Iraq is the German firm Preussag, now a subsidiary of Europe's largest travel agent and tour operator TUI - happy holidays! And Preussag has long been a firm dear to Schroeder's heart. In early 1998, when Schroeder was running for re-election as prime minister of the state of Lower Saxony which he had governed for eight years, he had the state buy 51 percent of Preussag's troubled steel division to the tune of US$500 million, claiming that 12,000 jobs were at stake. It was a characteristic Schroeder move: he knew that the Social Democrats would appoint him chancellor's candidate if he won in Lower Saxony. Win he did - first in Hannover, later in 1998 at the federal level to become chancellor. What did he know about the Preussag conglomerate's Iraq poison gas dealings? Don't ask.

Included on the Iraqi suppliers' lists are other world-renowned (eg, Hoechst, Daimler-Benz, Siemens, Kloeckner, Carl Zeiss, Schott Glas, etc) and smaller German firms. Notable are Karl Kolb/Pilot Plant and WTB (Walter Thosti Boswau) who built and equipped Iraq's two major "pesticide and detergent" plants which, said a WTB employee, produce "detergents to exterminate two-legged flies" (Spiegel 4/1989, p 24). The WTB undertaking was supported by a credit guarantee for several hundred million German marks by Hermes, a German government export and credit insurer. Noteworthy also is Rhein-Bayern, which supplied Iraq with eight mobile toxicological labs housed in sand-colored, camouflage-painted Magirus trucks.

Chemical agents? Biological agents? Machine tools and parts and materials for uranium enrichment and missile production? You name them and the Germans delivered them - and not only that: they supplied the plants and know-how for Iraq to make its own "pesticides" ("to protect the date harvest"), "vaccines" ("to eradicate smallpox and other contagious diseases"), and "x-ray machines".

Karl Kolb told investigative reporters following up the Pitts and Associates law suit that it has done business with Iraq for 35 years, but had no connection to its weapons programs. Preussag claimed that accusations it had supplied precursor chemicals for Iraqi weapons were untrue. Schott Glas said it was "a manufacturer of glass and glass components, not of weapons".

If Herr Schroeder had his way, one assumes, then that's where things would end. Happily, with some nasty American trial lawyers on the case, that's unlikely. And happily, though he tried once more in advance of last Sunday's state elections in Lower Saxony and Hesse to rally Germans to his party's cause with anti-Iraq war rhetoric, Schroeder was dealt a humiliating defeat in both states. He should have bought re-privatized Preussag once again. Even the most gullible of German voters saw through his miserable Iraq-war ploy this time around, blamed him for over 10 percent unemployment, and threw his candidates and party into the trash bin.

(©2003 Asia Times Online Co, Ltd. All rights reserved. Please contact for information on our sales and syndication policies.)

11 posted on 03/08/2003 9:18:51 PM PST by Kay Soze (F - France and Germany - They are my Nation's and my Family's enemies.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: longjack


12 posted on 03/08/2003 9:20:14 PM PST by Kay Soze (F - France and Germany - They are my Nation's and my Family's enemies.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: longjack
Ewigen Werten bumpen.
13 posted on 03/08/2003 9:40:12 PM PST by concentric circles
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: longjack
Great translation, longjack. You may find this article from the nachbarland interesting.
14 posted on 03/09/2003 1:17:21 AM PST by Int (Ever notice how the Freepers that have been here longest are the most 'moderate'?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: Int
Thanks Int.

That's a good example of conjecture and insinuation by the media that I was talking about:

"Swiss Gold Stored In Fort Knox!" (along with a lot of other European institutions, including the ECB, who store Gold there, also, you know, incidentally.). "USA might not give it back!" (but the people who know what they're doing don't seem to be at all worried about it, also, you know, incidentally, and, also, you know, incidentally, the sun might not come up tomorrow, either.)

The "Blick" is the Swiss "Bild", isn't it? That explains some of this story. Unforunatly, it seems that a lot of the media I look at are pulling similiar types of articles out of their A.., er, Hat.


15 posted on 03/09/2003 3:09:38 AM PST by longjack
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: longjack
I am glad to see the German public at least has the opportunity to be informed as to what is behind the Axis of Weasels.

Longjack,do you think this type of information is getting any traction with the public?
16 posted on 03/09/2003 3:17:15 AM PST by fightinJAG (Scouts Out!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: longjack
Yeah, although the Sunday Blick is usually almost readable when compared to the week-day Blick. But it's still cheap stuff - a la Bild - the headlines take up more space than the accompanying articles.

17 posted on 03/09/2003 3:21:58 AM PST by Int (Ever notice how the Freepers that have been here longest are the most 'moderate'?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: longjack
Thanks for the translation!

In addition to business dealings I would not rule out the possibility of old-fashioned bribery.

Baksheeh is ingrained in Arabian culture, Saddam is rich and I would not put it past Chirac accepting multi-million Euros in a secret bank account.

Such a deal would explain his basically weird behavior more plausibly than bone fide (or even shady) business dealings since he would face French prison if found out following a successful war. If he had cooperated with the USA from the beginning French interests in post-Saddam Iraq would be respected. Now he's putting them at risk.
18 posted on 03/09/2003 3:44:19 AM PST by aculeus
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: fightinJAG
Longjack,do you think this type of information is getting any traction with the public?

I think it's inconsequential to the public. The public thinks this is normal, it's what politicians do, ergo, no biggie.

A lot of people use thought processes that are not logically connected. They can hold various, even contadictory viewpoints, without finding it necessary to consolidate them logically. Thus, the media can easily manipulate issues to bring about a desired result. The people react emotionally to the present issue, forgetting the previous ones.



19 posted on 03/09/2003 6:20:33 AM PST by longjack
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: MizSterious; rebdov; Nix 2; green lantern; BeOSUser; Brad's Gramma; dreadme; Turk2; Squantos; ...

If people want on or off this list, please let me know.

20 posted on 03/09/2003 7:09:59 AM PST by knighthawk
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: longjack; MadIvan; marron
Iraq has the second greatest occurrence of oil in the world with about 100 billion barrels. Added to that are significant natural gas stocks, which, until now, have hardly been exploited. The financial contracts alone for the reconstruction of the Iraq after the fall of the dictator will amount to about 200 billion dollars. Who will get these contracts is the reason the UN Security Council is presently fighting.

You know, while exposing the hypocrisy of the French and Russians -- but especially the French -- this article does raise some questions about US/British policy.

We know this isn't a war about oil, in the crude sense of the US going into Iraq in order to steal that country's oil. That would be colonialism, which has never been what the US is about.

But upon reading this article, which impresses me as well researched if all the facts are true, then one could be excused for wondering if France and Russia may not have a legitimate grievance after all.

This is hypothetical, of course, but what if one year ago, these two countries were told that in a reconstructed Iraq, Saddam's contracts with TotalFinaElf and Lukoil will be torn up, and Exxon and British Petroleum will be taking care of business? We don't know about negotiations behind the scenes but I have to assume there was some kind of haggling going on in the time between the unanimous adption of UN Resolution 1441, and the point in time where Paris and Moscow came out in public and committed themselves against war on Iraq. Now I'm not suggesting that France's $60 billion contract, reportedly three times the actual worth of the oil, should be honored to the letter; we all know that this was mostly a huge bribe in exchange for a promise to protect Saddam via the UN.

Still I wonder, did the US and the UK leave France and Russia no financial incentive at all to sign on to the anti-Saddam coalition? If so, then the anti-war Lefties, clueless morons though they are, may be onto something.

21 posted on 03/10/2003 3:56:31 AM PST by tictoc
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: tictoc
An Interesting perspective.

I am presuming, as you said, France and Russia were invited to sign on the the coalition. I would ask, in view of the approaches of Russia and France in the matter, why France is seeking to push the issue to the point of endangering the UN, NATO and the EU. Russia appears to be acting appropriately from it's side of the bargaining table, firm, but predictable. From France's perspective, threatening to upset the entire applecart indicates a weak bargaining position. Presuming that's the case, for argument's sake, why is their position is weak?


22 posted on 03/10/2003 4:25:58 AM PST by longjack
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 21 | View Replies]

To: longjack; zefrog
I would guess that France's position is weak because the TotalFinaElf contract is a sweetheart deal that they could not expect a post-Saddam, democratic government to honor. And they have few options to hold on to that (reportedly) $60bn contract except if Saddam stays in power. (The value of the oil underlying the contract - again, reportedly, but I have not seen any French denial - is "only" $20bn.)

However, once it became crystal clear that Saddam is a goner no matter what, you might expect that the French government would retrench and say, Okay, You can take down Saddam if you'll let TotalFinaElf have a contract at "arm's length" conditions, i.e., for about $20bn. Then the U.S. agrees and everybody's happy.

But that isn't what has happened.

Let's ask zefrog to weigh in with his perspective.
23 posted on 03/10/2003 5:13:13 AM PST by tictoc
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies]

To: tictoc
Let's ask zefrog to weigh in with his perspective.

Thank you. Frankly, the oil explanation for France's stance does not appear to make much sense: Total's deals cannot be exploited as long as Saddam stays in power and Iraq remains a pariah state. The only positive developement for Total's interests would be a regime change, and then France would ensure that the current deals are maintained with the new regime. The best and only way to achieve this would have been for France to support America all along the way and be rewarded in the end. What France has done the last few weeks is, in effect, turning America into a bitter foe, who will work hard to punish France and hence Total once this is over. Hence I am more than sceptical with this explanation.

24 posted on 03/10/2003 5:40:14 AM PST by zefrog
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: zefrog
The best and only way to achieve this would have been for France to support America all along the way and be rewarded in the end.

Right. Now I'm only talking through my hat, and have no hard evidence at all on which to base my line of inquiry. But, if we assume for the sake of argument that the caricature of "Bush the Oil Man" has some basis in reality, then I could imagine a scenario in which the US administration played France "b*lls to the wall" and never really left open an option for France to preserve a reasonable financial interest in Iraq, and thus no option to climb down gracefully from its obstructionist stance.

It would have been an extremely aggressive policy for the US to pursue, and one that could have forced France into where it stands today. For this reason alone I do not consider it very likely that this is what happened, but stranger things are found in history books.

Note that I am not claiming that US/UK greed brought us to this point, but I would like to see some smart investigative journalists dig into this possibility.

(I hope I don't get banned from FreeRepublic now.)

25 posted on 03/10/2003 6:09:56 AM PST by tictoc
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: tictoc
My scenario may be far-fetched, but I keep thinking there has to be an explanation for French actions that makes sense from a viewpoint of rational self-interest.

Neither Rhyme Nor Reason

26 posted on 03/10/2003 6:20:01 AM PST by tictoc
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 25 | View Replies]

To: tictoc
It would have been an extremely aggressive policy for the US to pursue, and one that could have forced France into where it stands today. For this reason alone I do not consider it very likely that this is what happened, but stranger things are found in history books.

Well, it is a reasonable possibility. I've heard many french officials saying in private the following:

- We have absolutely no interest in going along with the US since they are hostile to our interests anyway, no matter what we say or do.

- We don't give a damn about destroying NATO, its members are just puppets of the US anyway.

- If there is a major crisis in the UN each time other members oppose the US, it just means that the UN resolutions cannot be anything else than administrative formalities whose only purposes are to validate USian policies. In this case, the UN is de facto already irrelevant, and we don't have much to lose if the US leaves. Plus, if that happens, the US will look like the evil unilateralists and we might even gain a maximum leverage in the UN.

27 posted on 03/10/2003 6:25:54 AM PST by zefrog
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 25 | View Replies]

To: longjack
I have another couple of reasons of why France and Germany are against us. One is that most backdoor deals for banned equipment Iraq had with their countries will come to light. Saddam sure isn't going to cover their rear ends on this one. Another is that as long as French and German leaders can keep stirring up anti American hate, they don't have to worry about having much pressure from their own people to solve their country's problems like high unemployment. Distraction politics taken to the tenth power.
28 posted on 03/10/2003 6:33:32 AM PST by Hillarys Gate Cult ("Read Hillary's hips. I never had sex with that woman.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies]

To: longjack

I can't believe this appeared in the German press.

Gut gemacht LongJack. Ich gratuliere.

29 posted on 03/10/2003 6:43:48 AM PST by 12B
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: 12B
Bump for the article and translation.
30 posted on 03/10/2003 7:08:42 AM PST by tictoc
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 29 | View Replies]

To: tictoc; longjack; MadIvan
I remember earlier on that Putin was being publicly very supportive, and the Russian press quite explicitly stated that it was about money, and it was in their interest to support the US in Iraq. Russian oil companies were pushing Putin to support the US. I saw reports at the time that suggested that they were looking for a promise that their concessions would be respected. During that same time, Saddam reacted quite angrily and threatened to kick the Russians out for dealing with the US.

It was about that time that the Russians began to move away from our position publicly. I don't know if this is inter-related, but it could be. Press reports at the time indicated that they wanted their concessions to be honored, we were promising them only that they would get a fair shake after the war.

Similarly the French wanted the same promises, and did not get them. I think our position was that these concessions were obtained in the face of sanctions, and should not be respected. But, if they would support us, they would get a fair chance.

The problem with honoring their concessions, beside the fact that they were ill-gotten to begin with, was that they were really quite exagerated in value.

Chirac of course supposedly has a very close relationship going back 25 years, supposedly according to articles I have seen here on FR Saddam financed his first run for office years ago, maybe all of his campaigns. They are supposedly very close. So Chirac isn't going to go against Saddam no matter; it is possible that he really can't.

The US was invited into Saddam's oil fields at the end of the Iran Iraq war. We lost that invitation by backing Kuwait in the war. I almost suspect that we had a crisis of conscience behind the scenes, that we were trying to have it both ways, and perhaps reluctantly sided against him, and it may well be that this played a part.

But we did give up a lucrative business deal for strategic reasons. We could easily have traded an end to sanctions at any time for concessions, if that were what we were about.

You will also notice that our northern "no-fly" zone leaves the Kurdish oil fields in Saddam's hands. If it were about oil, for us, we could have easily occupied the no-fly zones instead of simply patrolling them by air. In my opinion, for humanitarian reasons, we should have.

It does seem that the French and Russians have tried to strike a deal with us on the oil fields, and that we have rebuffed them, and now we are paying a price politically. But if we hold to our guns, we will owe them nothing afterward, and perhaps better yet, the Iraqis will owe them nothing.
31 posted on 03/10/2003 8:10:04 AM PST by marron
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 21 | View Replies]

To: tictoc
Hi tictoc.
I still believe that the French and Germans are gambling right now for a greater cause.
Gamble # 1, Veto the vote, hoping that they can avert action in Iraq in order to maintain that cash cow together with Russia.
Gamble # 2, This one will make more sense. Collaborate with Germany, which was done already to show the prospective EU members that a United Europe is again a World power in order to entice them to adopt D'estaign's EU constitution. It will be a hard sell if it is maintained in it's present form. The Gamble is that either it will be adopted, or there will only be a handful of coutries left. In it's present form, a nations soveirnity will be taken away and appointed Buerocrats in brussels will determine everything from taxes to education, to defense, etc. That is the real power game in their mind. Add Russia, who will probably be granted admission into the Union. Together, they believe that it will offer a real opposition to the U.S. Infact, it will have the old Warsau pact nations together with Europe as a united front. A gamble, which may pay off.
Of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong.
32 posted on 03/10/2003 8:16:37 AM PST by americanbychoice
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 25 | View Replies]

To: marron
Thank you.

Oh to have been a fly on the wall during those backroom discussions!

It will all come out eventually, but we'll probably have to wait a few years for the book.
33 posted on 03/10/2003 9:12:48 AM PST by tictoc
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 31 | View Replies]

To: americanbychoice
You may be right as far as France is concerned.

As for Germany, I have my doubts, simply because Schroeder has never had any long-term vision. I don't think he is capable of thinking through a machiavellistic geopolitical plan.
34 posted on 03/10/2003 9:15:35 AM PST by tictoc
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 32 | View Replies]

To: tictoc
I agree with you on that evaluation of Schroeder. But look at the time lines. Collaboration with France like never before. He knows that Chirac is a better diplomat. Schroeder has been duped several times already, just look at his acricultural discussions. Why doesn't the Media print anything about the new constitution due in June? Just the English have made some noise about it. To me it is very unsettling. I may be wrong.
35 posted on 03/10/2003 9:19:45 AM PST by americanbychoice
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 34 | View Replies]

To: marron
Well, Marron, that is a very good analysis. I'm especially in agreement with your conclusion. Walking this walk will be a bit tricky, but the only way the Obstructors can profit is by a maintenance of the status quo. For my part, I offer up the following:

It is interesting to note that the current crisis seems to have brought many an established international institution to a rather parlous state. If I didn't know any better, I'd almost say it was by design, like some one or some group, who we can't see, is calling the shots on this.

Take, for example, the current brouhaha at the UN. All at once, as if by magic, there appears from nowhere substantial and vociferous oppostion to a course of action everyone had previously agreed to! And in response, the administration, determined as much as anyone ever has been to go to war, seems increasingly content to give this organization the necessary rope with which to hang itself, as it appears it most likely will do.

And then there is the quixotic turn of events at NATO. Now, ordinarily in a situation like this (1) France wouldn't even bother to be involved, because it's not, and has not for a long time, been part and parcel of NATO day-to-day goings-on; and (2) even if they had, we'd ordinarily tell them to sod off.

However, that hasn't happened. I can countenance an attempt by the Germans to oppose, at least initially, the efforts in Turkey, but in the absence of French posturing they would simply be shouted down, or worse yet, ignored.

Then, too, there is the question of political partitioning of the EU because of this issue. Is the war as an issue bigger than the viability of the EU as an issue? Is it worth berating and belittling the newcomers, getting the expanded union off on the wrong foot, just so France can appear to be leading other European nations around by the nose? Can the schism that is being created between Old Europe and New Europe be worth the price, the renting asunder of the Grand Union that the EU pretends to be?

Of course, when it comes to the French shooting themselves in the foot, anything is possible. They have a grand and glorious past in this regard, so let's not sell them short.

Actually, in an historical sense, if Europe is left to it's own devices this is what they invariably do. There are people over there who can see things differently, and know that the short term expedient is no substitute for a long-term coherent view, but typically their voices are drowned out, primarily because there aren't enough of them.

For the nonce we must stay on plan. If the UN dies (i.e., becomes the reincarnation of the League of Nations), then so be it. If NATO collapses, then we'll have to find something to replace it, or better yet, determine if in fact it does need replacing. The EU? Really, who gives a s***? This union wasn't going to work anyway, let's not kid ourselves. If the dream (of some) of a pan-European entity is to work, they'll have to find some way of overcoming hundreds of years of European history. If they're going to fracture over an issue like the US going to war with a middle eastern dictator, they're going to have a very hard time in the future seeking and stressing commonalities. Apart from being on the continent, what do the Spanish have in common with the Poles, who have what in common with the Bulgarians, who have....well, you get the drift.

Back in the 80's, there was a small book out called "Last Waltz of the Tyrants". Well, we're not there yet. We may in fact be a long ways from that exalted state. But if war is the continuation of politics by other means, then the new paradigm of 21st Century warfare demands a parallel development of 21st Century political thought, and we simply aren't going to get that by relying on institutions that seem to have outlived their usefulness.


36 posted on 03/10/2003 9:22:42 AM PST by Chances Are (Whew! Seems I've once again found that silly grin!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 31 | View Replies]

To: fightinJAG
"I am glad to see the German public at least has the opportunity to be informed as to what is behind the Axis of Weasels."

It is so easy to follow the simple thoughts than to think more - or to read some more lines than the usual fat letters on the first page. Die Welt is my favourite national newspaper, but it´s read by those who usually think more than the others.
37 posted on 03/10/2003 9:30:31 AM PST by Michael81Dus (
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: Chances Are
then the new paradigm of 21st Century warfare demands a parallel development of 21st Century political thought, and we simply aren't going to get that by relying on institutions that seem to have outlived their usefulness.

I agree.

38 posted on 03/10/2003 10:11:52 AM PST by marron
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 36 | View Replies]

To: tictoc

You're still here - "Oil for food" seems to be the answer.

39 posted on 10/14/2005 12:36:29 PM PDT by Chi-townChief
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 25 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson