Tuesday, October 18, 2005


Boidevaux told Le Monde that he had been in "constant touch" with the foreign ministry, which he said was fully aware of his Iraqi activities
the AFP reports.
A judicial investigation into two high-ranking former French diplomats -- both suspected of benefitting from the largesse of Saddam Hussein's Iraq -- has cast a spotlight on the often ambiguous relations between Paris and the former dictator.

The affair also casts a shadow over France's Iraqi policy and raises suspicions about the complicity of top political figures, according to French analysts and newspapers.

"It is at the very top of the state, where no-one can have failed to be aware of these transgressions ... and whose zealous servants these men were, that ultimate responsibility resides," said the left-wing daily Libération on Thursday.

"These suspicions will knock a deep hole in the image of French diplomacy," said Le Monde. "Even the most indulgent will wonder about the risks of a pro-Arab policy that was at times wilfully blind."

…Foreign ministry spokesman Jean-Baptiste Mattei also sought to refute any suggestion of a link between the two investigations and France's firmly-held opposition to the US-led invasion of Iraq.

"The reasons which led France not to participate in the war in Iraq had to do with our conception of international law," he said.

But several commentators nonetheless underlined the often ambiguous relations that France maintained with the government of Saddam Hussein, which Paris supported through its long war with Iran and regarded as a key economic partner.
Haven't we said as much all along?

What accusations have our detractors hurled at us from the beginning? Basically, that we were blinded, patriotic dupes whose love for Dubya masked the truth from our eyes. The truth, as voiced by lucid Frenchmen, their suave spokesmen, their courageous diplomats, and their visionary politicians.

This charge was repeated against us, and against Americans, and against Bush-supporters, both domestic and foreign, ad infinitum, in ways both polite and sophisticated and less so.

And always we repeated the same message: it's double standards, of a type you never apply towards yourselves.

Were we wrong? Hardly…

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