Remember when France decided not to support our war and occupation of Iraq?
And some media neo-cons derided French culture? And some called french fries, freedom fries?
It was fashionable at the time to promote the idea that we were helping Iraq, building relationships, and bonding in a way that meant guaranteed oil and great trade relations.
During this past week, China and BP won the only oil contracts awarded so far by Iraq (see previous post), and on Thursday French Prime Minister Francois Fillon visited Baghdad with a delegation of officials and businessmen to raise France’s profile in Iraq.
“Iraqis were keen to remove themselves from American guardianship, and that is because they want to do business with other investors that they know well, among them the French,” a French aide told journalists.
Iraqi spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said: “Our country wants France to be a strategic partner, particularly in trade, and Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has indicated his desire to see bilateral relations grow significantly.”
The French arrived some 48 hours after US troops withdrew from cities under a security pact initiated by Iraq.
An aide to the French premier said there is plenty of international corporate interest in business deals with Iraq.
“Security is the major worry for the French,” he said. There was no offer to send troops from France to Iraq, where some 4,300 Americans have died so French business vultures can pick the Iraqi carcass.
Among those travelling with Fillon and Finance Minister Christine Lagarde were the heads of oil major Total, the Lafarge building materials group and European aerospace giant EADS. After meeting Maliki in Baghdad, Fillon traveled to Sulaimaniyah in Iraqi Kurdistan to meet President Jalal Talabani who, the French prime minister said, will make a state visit to Iraq in November, according to AFP.
Several agreements were signed during Fillon’s visit, including technical cooperation in domestic security and the military sector, an aide said. There are some nice tanks and planes from America that France could take apart for new ideas for their military.
France undertook to help Iraq in its application to join the World Trade Organisation and to support proposals for a trade partnership between Iraq and the European Union.
Where’s Hillary while the French and others eat our lunch? Probably, answering calls from her New Democrat and DLC buddies, who voted for the Iraq invasion.
America, Frances, Iraq, what’s the difference when your view is global?
The good news is that we can’t be accused of colonizing Iraq for our interests, because so far, we did it for France, BP and China, who are now in the position to reap the benefits of our sacrifices.