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Chirac's France was always Saddam's special friend

With the evidence that has come out this week about the U.N.'s oil for food scandal, it would seem that France's position of opposing the war to liberate Iraq was actually tainted by oil, not the other way around like most people suggested. Before the war, Paris tried to claim that they were opposing the war as a matter of principle, but now that we know that a couple high ranking officials, with very close ties to Jacques Chirac, were receiving millions of barrels of oil as payoff from Saddam from 1996 on. Full story here

The Times of London calculated that French and Russian companies received $11 billion worth of business from Oil for Food between 1996 and 2003. Not a bad haul for using your vote on the security council to veto any action against Saddam's Iraq. But this is nothing new for Chirac's France, they have always been a very special friend of Saddam in his times of need.

Take for instance the time Saddam was shopping the globe trying to buy a nuclear reactor so he could build a nuclear weapons program. When no other country would sell Saddam what he needed, his good friend Jacques Chirac came through for him selling him whatever he needed for some lucrative contracts.
"France was dependant in Iraq for 20% of its oil. As part of the deal, Hussein offered France 70 million barrels of oil a year at present market prices for ten years. In addition, Iraq would purchase billions of dollars of French military hardware, including tanks, helicopters, antiaircraft missiles, radar and 100 mirage F-1 fighters. Chirac practically trembled when Saddam threw in gratis contracts to purchase 100 000 Peugeots and Renaults in two blocks of 50 000 each. And as a final sweetener, the French would develop a planned billion dollar lake resort outside Habbaniyah, the location of a large airforce base west of Baghdad. In return Saddam got his nuclear reactor."
Chirac did get a hell of a deal though for selling out to Saddam, the list price of the Osirak reactor that France sold Iraq was about 150 million, Saddam paid Jacques 300 million, double what it was worth. Saddam didn't mind paying the extra money,
"We were happy to pay, after all, who else was going to sell us a nuclear reactor?"
Did Jacques Chirac and his staff feel bad for arming Saddam with the ability to build nuclear weapons, from what the Iraqis could tell, no they weren't. Those on Saddam's staff noticed that the French were all too eager to deal with Saddam as long as they got their price, damn the consequences.
"Saddam knew Chirac and his entire cabinet would happily have eaten old tires from the Tigris if it would have bought them hundreds of millions in cheap oil."
So as far as I can tell history repeated itself, the French were looking for money and Saddam needed a big favor, so Chirac steps up to the plate for his old friend and gives him a helping hand for a price. The first time Saddam came calling, Chirac gave him the future ability to kill millions. The last time, Chirac sold out his NATO allies to a brutal dictator, for what? Oil money. With friends like Jacques Chirac, who needs enemies.

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