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[The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: 4/30]
Reports indicate French greatly aided Iraqi regime
"The French government's do-or-die attempt to prevent any interference with Saddam Hussein's rule was more like the actions of a sworn enemy than an alleged ally."
If true, the underhanded and dishonorable Chirac government must never again be trusted except to stab the United States in the back.
By ROWLAND NETHAWAY
Before the war, French President Jacques Chirac huddled with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder to plan strategy to undercut American efforts to enforce U.N. sanctions on Iraq.
Part of the French-led strategy included sandbagging Secretary of State Colin Powell in a bait-and-switch private meeting to discuss terrorism. Actually, Powell was ambushed in an anti-war crossfire.
This underhanded tactic left no doubt that Chirac was more interested in sabotaging the United States than in disturbing Saddam Hussein's unchecked tyranny.
Despite its best efforts in the United Nations, NATO and the European Union, France ultimately failed to block a U.S.-led attack on Iraq.
French opposition to American interests is hardly new. But the French government's do-or-die attempt to prevent any interference with Saddam Hussein's rule was more like the actions of a sworn enemy than an alleged ally.
Documents recovered on the floor of the damaged and looted Iraqi foreign ministry reveal part of the motivation for Chirac's attempt to protect the Iraqi regime.
The Times of London and other British newspapers have reported that their journalists discovered official Iraqi documents that show the French had been secretly briefing Iraq's regime on U.S. plans relating to Iraq.
According to the recovered documents, "friends of Iraq" at the French foreign ministry passed along information that came from private meetings between French and American officials, including Powell.
The French ambassador to Iraq, according to the newspapers, gave Saddam reports on U.S. war plans, strategy and thinking.
No doubt these reports were valuable to Saddam's brutal regime and likely helped the dictator in his war preparations. The French briefings also may have boosted Saddam's paranoia and motivated his last-minute killing spree of Iraqi citizens suspected of disloyalty.
Other recovered documents, according to the British journalists, show howFrance colluded with the Iraqi secret police to stifle dissent directed toward Iraq at a Paris human rights conference. The documents report that the French government attempted to prevent the meeting of the human rights group Indict.
Also found was a letter from the Iraqi dictator to Chirac thanking the French president for his campaign against U.N. sanctions imposed on Iraq.
One document, according to the British journalists, was dated Sept. 25, 2001, and related a briefing by the French ambassador about talks held between Chirac and President Bush.
Another recovered Iraqi document reported what an Israeli official told the French ambassador in Washington.
The French denied these reports at the same time that French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin met in Iran with the terrorist-supporting Shiite mullahs who are attempting to undermine U.S. efforts to prevent the formation of a Shiite state in Iraq.
The French fought to lift U.N. sanctions on Iraq before the war. They had no concerns about weapons of mass destruction in Saddam's hands. Now they oppose U.S. efforts to lift the sanctions because of phony concerns about the need for U.N. inspectors to certify the destruction of all WMD.
Chirac recently met privately with the leaders of Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg to plan for a new joint military defense system for Europe despite the similar role of NATO, which has U.S. membership.
These reports need to be officially verified.If true, the underhanded and dishonorable Chirac government must never again be trusted except to stab the United States in the back.
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