As so-called French intellectuals like to say,
the war to liberate Iraq was indeed about blood and oil
— American and Iraqi blood and French oil
Yahoo Financial News printed this a week before Arafat died…
Geopolitics: A gravely ill Yasser Arafat's final journey to Paris has reunited the father of modern-day terrorism with the birthplace of modern-day appeasement.
Arafat's presence in Jacques Chirac's France must warm the hearts of America's enemies who cite our support for Israel and our liberation of Iraq as the prime motivations behind their desire to do us harm.
The French government's opposition to our Iraq policy seems less rooted in principle and more rooted in cash. As so-called French intellectuals like to say, the war to liberate Iraq was indeed about blood and oil — American and Iraqi blood and French oil.
French oil company TotalFinaElf had exclusive rights to develop the Nahr Umar and Majnoon oil fields, which hold 25% of Iraq's reserves. Some 60 French companies did $1.5 billion in trade with Iraq under the U.N. oil-for-food program. France controlled 22.5% of Iraq's imports. And, most important, from 1981 to 2001, France sold Iraq 13% of its arms imports.
Soon after Desert Storm in 1991, French oil companies Total SA and Elf Aquitaine, which later merged to become TotalFinaElf, signed secret and exclusive deals with Saddam Hussein's regime to develop future Iraqi oil fields, deals estimated to be worth $100 billion over a seven-year period. They were conditioned on the lifting of U.S. sanctions on Iraq and the avoidance of war.
Enter the U.N.'s corrupt oil-for-food program. A French bank, BNP Paribas, handled the oil-for-food accounts that provided Saddam a slush fund to build palaces, buy foreign weapons and bribe foreign leaders. A number of movers and shakers in France — including government officials and friends of Chirac — got rich.
France built the Osirak nuclear reactor outside Baghdad, which Israel destroyed in 1981 and which would have given Saddam a nuclear weapon by the time he invaded Kuwait, making the world a very different place.
And by 1989 an estimated half of French arms output went to Iraq. It was an Iraqi French-built Mirage fighter firing a French-made Exocet missile that hit the USS Stark in the Persian Gulf on May 17, 1987, killing 37 American sailors. …
(Thanks to Gregory Schreiber)