The French....does this surprise you at all?

  1. A French company has been selling spare parts to Iraq for its fighter jets and military helicopters during the past several months, according to U.S. intelligence officials.
    The unidentified company sold the parts to a trading company in the United Arab Emirates, which then shipped the parts through a third country into Iraq by truck.
    The spare parts included goods for Iraq's French-made Mirage F-1 jets and Gazelle attack helicopters.
    An intelligence official said the illegal spare-parts pipeline was discovered in the past two weeks and that sensitive intelligence about the transfers indicates that the parts were smuggled to Iraq as recently as January.
    Other intelligence reports indicate that Iraq had succeeded in acquiring French weaponry illegally for years, the official said.
    The parts appear to be included in an effort by the Iraqi military to build up materiel for its air forces before any U.S. military action, which could occur before the end of the month.
    The officials identified the purchaser of the parts as the Al Tamoor Trading Co., based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. A spokesman for the company could not be reached for comment.
    The French military parts were then sent by truck into Iraq from a neighboring country the officials declined to identify.
    Iraq has more than 50 Mirage F-1 jets and an unknown number of Gazelle attack helicopters, according to the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies.
    An administration official said the French parts transfers to Iraq may be one reason France has so vehemently opposed U.S. plans for military action against Iraq. "No wonder the French are opposing us," this official said.
    The official, however, said intelligence reports of the parts sale did not indicate that the activity was sanctioned by the French government or that Paris knows about the transfers.
    The intelligence reports did not identify the French company involved in selling the aircraft parts or whether the parts were new or used.
    The Mirage F-1 was made by France's Dassault Aviation. Gazelle helicopters were made by Aerospatiale, which later became part of a consortium of European defense companies.
    The importation of military goods by Iraq is banned under U.N. Security Council resolutions passed since the 1991 Persian Gulf war.
    Nathalie Loiseau, press counselor at the French Embassy, said her government has no information about the spare-parts smuggling and has not been approached by the U.S. government about the matter.
    "We fully comply with the U.N. sanctions, and there is no sale of any kind of military material or weapons to Iraq," she said.
    A CIA spokesman had no comment.
    A senior administration official declined to discuss Iraq's purchase of French warplane and helicopter parts. "It is well known that the Iraqis use front companies to try to obtain a number of prohibited items," the official said.
    The disclosure comes amid heightened anti-French sentiment in the United States over Paris' opposition to U.S. plans for using force to disarm Iraq.
    A senior defense official said France undermined U.S. efforts to disarm Iraq last year by watering down language of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1441 that last fall required Iraq to disarm all its chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programs.
    France, along with Russia, Germany and China, said yesterday that they would block a joint U.S.-British U.N. resolution on the use of force against Iraq.
    French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin told reporters in Paris on Wednesday that France "will not allow a resolution to pass that authorizes resorting to force."
    "Russia and France, as permanent members of the Security Council, will assume their full responsibilities on this point," he stated.
    France has been Iraq's best friend in the West. French arms sales to Baghdad were boosted in the 1970s under Premier Jacques Chirac, the current president. Mr. Chirac once called Saddam Hussein a "personal friend."
    During the 1980s, when Paris backed Iraq in its war against Iran, France sold Mirage fighter bombers and Super Entendard aircraft to Baghdad, along with Exocet anti-ship missiles.
    French-Iraqi ties soured after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait that led to the 1991 Persian Gulf war.
    France now has an estimated $4 billion in debts owed to it by Iraq as a result of arms sales and infrastructure construction projects. The debt is another reason U.S. officials believe France is opposing military force to oust Saddam.
    Henry Sokolski, director of the private Nonproliferation Policy Education Center, said French transfers of military equipment to Iraq would have "an immediate and relevant military consequence, if this was done."
    "The United States with its allies are going to suppress the Iraqi air force and air defense very early on in any conflict, and it's regrettable that the French have let a company complicate that mission," Mr. Sokolski said.
    Secretary of State Colin L. Powell last month released intelligence information showing videotape of an Iraqi F-1 Mirage that had been modified to spray anthrax spores.
    A CIA report to Congress made public in January stated that Iraq has aggressively sought advanced conventional arms. "A thriving gray-arms market and porous borders have allowed Baghdad to acquire smaller arms and components for larger arms, such as spare parts for aircraft, air defense systems, and armored vehicles," the CIA stated.
    Iraq also has obtained some military goods through the U.N.-sponsored oil-for-food program.
    A second CIA report in October on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction stated: "Iraq imports goods using planes, trains, trucks, and ships without any type of international inspections-in violation of UN Security Council resolutions."
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    This is from the Washington Times.

    Dave
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  2. 108 Comments

  3. by   portland_guy
    ----------
    Hmmmm.....read below. Seems like maybe we might be in the wrong when no one is with Bush.
    ---------

    FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES


    Last week a member of the Canadian Parliament for the ruling party, Carolyn Parrish, was caught on television declaring: "Damn Americans. I hate those bastards."

    Then the Toronto Globe and Mail newspaper conducted a (hopelessly unscientific) poll on its Web site, asking Canadians whether they agreed that "Americans are behaving like `bastards.' " The returns aren't good: as of yesterday, 51 percent were saying yes.

    When even the Canadians, normally drearily polite, get colorfully steamed at us, we know the rest of the world is apopleptic. After all, the latest invective comes on top of the prime minister's spokesman calling George Bush a "moron" last fall.

    Canada's incivility is a reminder that the U.S. and its allies are slugging one another to death while Iraq watches from the sidelines. If, as Mr. Bush suggested in a press conference last night, the U.S. may lose a vote in the U.N. and then promptly go to war anyway, the internecine warfare within the West will grow far worse.

    The U.S. debate on the antipathy toward us has been misleading, I think, in its focus on France. (There's now an American bumper sticker: "Iraq Now, France Next.") It's not just the prickly Gauls who are taking potshots at us-it's even our buddies, like the Canadians and the Irish.

    In a survey, The Sunday Independent newspaper of Ireland polled Dublin residents about whom they feared most, Saddam Hussein or George Bush. The result: 39 percent picked Saddam; 60 percent, Mr. Bush. Even in Britain, a poll by The Sunday Times of London found that equal numbers called Saddam and Mr. Bush the "greatest threat to world peace."

    So let's take stock of how our invasion of Iraq is going. The Western alliance is ferociously strained, NATO is paralyzed, America is resented by millions, the United Nations is in crisis, U.S. pals like Tony Blair are being skewered at home, North Korea has exploited our distraction to crank up plutonium production, oil prices have surged, and the world financial markets have sagged.

    And the war hasn't even begun yet.

    Of course, one school of thought holds it doesn't much matter that the United States is perceived as the world's newest Libya. If the Canadians don't like us, we can always exercise the military option and push our border up to 54-40.

    But global attitudes do matter. Before the first gulf war, Secretary of State James Baker made three visits to Turkey. This time around, Secretary of State Colin Powell hasn't visited once. So it's not surprising that Turkey refused to accept U.S. troops, impairing our plans for a northern offensive.

    President Bush is now making great progress in the war against Al Qaeda. And that's happening because Mr. Bush was willing to work with the Pakistani leaders; what made the difference was not just our military power, but also our diplomacy.

    Of course, the U.S. may have a solid plan, as Jay Leno said: "President Bush may be the smartest military president in history. First he gets Iraq to destroy all of their own weapons. Then he declares war."

    The worry is that we're already taking such losses, in terms of our alliances, that one wonders what will happen when the hard part begins-the day after Saddam has toppled, when we may see Shiites slaughtering Sunnis in southern Iraq; thousands of armed Iraqi exiles pouring in from Iran; Turks and Kurds fighting over the Kirkuk oil wells in northern Iraq; Iraqi military officers trying to peddle anthrax and VX gas; and radical Islamists trying to take control of nuclear-armed Pakistan.

    As one savvy official observed, occupying Baghdad comes at an "unpardonable expense in terms of money, lives lost and ruined regional relationships." Another expert put it this way: "We should not march into Baghdad. . . . To occupy Iraq would instantly shatter our coalition, turning the whole Arab world against us, and make a broken tyrant into a latter-day Arab hero . . . assigning young soldiers to a fruitless hunt for a securely entrenched dictator and condemning them to fight in what would be an unwinnable urban guerrilla war. It could only plunge that part of the world into even greater instability."

    Those comments may overemphasize the risks, but they are from top-notch analysts whose judgments I respect. The first comment was made by Colin Powell in a Foreign Affairs essay in 1992; the second is in "A World Transformed," a 1998 book by the first President Bush.
  4. by   Tilleycs
    I've heard for some time that both France and Germany both had business dealings with Iraq, hence their resistance to our aggression toward Iraq (and it's more about dollars than ideals IN REALITY). And no, it doesn't surprise me at all.
  5. by   Vsummer1
    Nope. No surprise what-so-ever.

    In 1987 IRAQ using a FRENCH mirage, carrying FRENCH exocets bombed an American ship, the USS Stark, in the Persian Gulf killing 37 AMERICAN military personnel. Iraq has never lived up to its promises on that event, and the French have a well documented history of supplying Iraq in the past.

    What you are bringing up here may be old news, but it needs to be brought up because many, many people forget about the French and their ties to Iraq.

    As history has shown, the French won't agree to war until the Germans are parked in their city. Then they asked America to help bail them out.
  6. by   maureeno
    Russia also has had economic dealings with Iraq.
    But has China?
  7. by   Dplear
    Honestly I am not sure if China has dealings with Iraq...but I personally think that China would be better served dealing with North Korea threating Nuclear war right on their Border.....

    I will research though how much trading China does with Iraq.

    Dave
  8. by   Vsummer1
    XLNT point once again Dave.
  9. by   Dplear
    Allure of the Iraqi Market

    Baghdad has manipulated its import policy much like its oil contracts, but arguably with greater long-term success. By being selective with its official purchases under the Oil-for-Food program and its smuggling efforts, the Iraqi government has reestablished important trade relations that have served it well politically. The UN's Office of the Iraq Program (OIP) recently published revealing figures: the lion's share of import contracts over the past four years have gone to French, Russian and Chinese companies, whose governments have been the most sympathetic among the veto-wielding Security Council members to Baghdad's cause. Collectively, these firms accounted for $5.48 billion of the $18.29 billion of import contracts approved by the UN since 1997.(5)

    this was published in this paper:

    THE IRAQI KLONDIKE: OIL AND REGIONAL TRADE

    By Raad Alkadiri

    Published in Middle East Report, 220

    Fall 2001

    There is a link between the Chinese and Iraq also.....

    This war is about Oil...for France, Germany, Russia and China.

    Dave
  10. by   passing thru
    Hello??? We are STILL purchasing oil from IRAQ and "doing business with them!"
  11. by   NurseDennie
    I'm going to edit this quote down quite a bit to get to the point that I've got a comment about.

    Originally posted by portland_guy
    ----------
    Hmmmm.....read below. Seems like maybe we might be in the wrong when no one is with Bush.
    ---------

    FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES


    Last week a member of the Canadian Parliament for the ruling party, Carolyn Parrish, was caught on television declaring: "Damn Americans. I hate those bastards."

    Then the Toronto Globe and Mail newspaper conducted a (hopelessly unscientific) poll on its Web site, asking Canadians whether they agreed that "Americans are behaving like `bastards.' " The returns aren't good: as of yesterday, 51 percent were saying yes.

    When even the Canadians, normally drearily polite, get colorfully steamed at us, we know the rest of the world is apopleptic. After all, the latest invective comes on top of the prime minister's spokesman calling George Bush a "moron" last fall.

    I disagree with this statement quite a bit. Canada and the USA are great allies and Canada has a semi-reputation for being a very sweet and polite country, but that's not saying that they're going to be nicy-nice all the time. You hear rumblings from the Canadian politcos all the time. Come on - we share a border of how many THOUSANDS of miles? I heard statements down through the years from the Canadians that being neighbors with us is like sharing a bed with an elephant.

    In relationships with Canadians, myself I can't tell you how many times fairly bitter friends of mine went down the lines of aviation, music, entertainment, etc., etc., etc., CANADIANS who are supporting their industry here in the States.

    I'm not saying that people don't have valid opinions about this political statement or that possible war.... but in my experience, most of my Canadian friends, when given the chance to post to a poll asking if Americans are acting like bastards would trip all over themselves to post time after time after time "YES"

    Come on - who could blame them???

    My personal opinion is that popularity polls are a totally irrelevant way to try to make decisions. Who know who replies to these things? Even intelligent, expressive people can be totally ignorant in huge areas!

    Love

    Dennie
  12. by   portland_guy
    Originally posted by passing thru
    Hello??? We are STILL purchasing oil from IRAQ and "doing business with them!"
    Good point! Yep, we are still buying our oil from the Middle East where the money invariably ends up being used for purposes we never intended.
  13. by   Vsummer1
    Originally posted by portland_guy
    Good point! Yep, we are still buying our oil from the Middle East where the money invariably ends up being used for purposes we never intended.
    Which, albeit not the right way to protest IMHO, is the point behind the burning of the SUV's at dealerships and all those commercials stating that SUV driver's fund terrorism.
  14. by   Mkue
    I've heard from various sources that the US doesn't need oil from Iraq, I hope this is true.

    According to Dave's article France is very dependent on Iraq or vice versa, with Iraq "being in debt" to France, France has a huge interest in Iraq's future.

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