March 31, 2003

MORT ZUCKERMAN IS ALL OVER THE FRENCH:

This is all part and parcel of Saddam’s incestuous political and commercial relationship with the defense, business, and political elites of France that will undoubtedly be exposed after the war. As the Weekly Standard reported, Saddam threatened to expose what he saw as France’s betrayal in the 1991 Gulf War, saying, “If the trickery continues, we will be forced to unmask them, all of them, before the French public.”

The French fan dance with Iraq dates to the 1970s, when Chirac was the point man in selling nuclear reactors to Iraq, including the Osirak plant bombed by Israel in 1981. (The plant, incidentally, was known as the O’Chirac reactor.) It was Chirac who signed the treaty with Iraq allowing for the transfer of French nuclear technology and specialists. It was this same Chirac who lavished praise on Saddam as a “personal friend,” a “great statesman,” and who invited him to his home. And, yes, it was the very same Chirac who has led the French efforts to sell arms to Iraq, some $20 billion worth. Today, France remains Iraq’s biggest European trading partner. Those who believe the United States went to war against Iraq inspired by oil are looking in the wrong direction. Try Paris.

Seems that Zuckerman isn’t alone. David Carr has more dirt on oil money and French politics.