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December 13, 2002

THIS MEANS SOMETHING -- but I'm not sure exactly what:

Iraq abruptly canceled a contract with Russia's largest oil company and two other Russian companies to develop a major Iraqi oil field.

Iraq's decision announced in a letter to the company, Lukoil, on Monday amounted to a rebuff to Russia, one of Baghdad's strongest supporters at a time when the United States is threatening to go to war over what the Bush administration says is President Saddam Hussein's pursuit of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons.

I suppose it's a signal that Iraq is unhappy with the Russians, which seems like good news to me. But I suspect there's more here than meets the eye.