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It's the oil, stupid

There are any one of a dozen reasons that explain the obstructionist tactics of the Germans and the French in recent weeks (and the Belgians, for no discernible reason whatsoever, apart from reminding everybody they were still there).

One can understand German reluctance to back the United States in a war against Saddam Hussein. The Germans explain it this way, and some people seem to think it makes a kind of sense: One German official drew himself to his full height and snapped, “We know about dictatorships.”

What kind of circular logic is that? If the Germans know about dictatorships, (and they do) why haven’t they sent both tanks rumbling toward Baghdad at the head of the column?

Maybe it’s because the Germans know what weapons of mass destruction that Saddam actually has. Quite probably, because it was the Germans who sold them most of the stuff they needed to build them. And they would be just as happy if nobody went poking around in Saddam’s purchasing department files.

The Germans know about dictatorships. I.G. Farben proved that there’s big money in them.

Money might have something to do with France’s seeming indifference to the threat posed it directly by Saddam Hussein’s regime. France stands to make a tidy profit from oil deals it cut with Saddam Hussein – deals that highly favor the French.

To get these fat oil contracts, Paris did some “favors” for Saddam throughout the 90’s when Iraq was under sanctions. King Jacques of Europe (I mean, President Chirac of France) would rather the Americans weren’t sifting through the French sales slips in Saddam’s bookkeeper’s office, either.

Paris pontificated long and loud about “honor” and about being an “old country” at the U.N. as it blocked every effort to get the United Nations to uphold its own honor, having passed 18 resolutions over 12 years in an effort to get Saddam to do what he was supposed to do within 90 days of the 1991 Gulf War ceasefire – disarm.

When asked if France’s unwillingness to meet its NATO commitment to Turkey as well was due to an aversion to war, Chirac snapped, “France is not a pacifist.”

It’s true. The French are more than happy to go to war. They do it all the time. They’ve spent the last 50 years at war with little countries throughout Africa, propping up and then knocking down dictatorships that failed to “behave” according to French dictates.

Germany admits it is pacifist, but that isn’t the reason it opposes war with Iraq. Germany supported the 1991 Gulf War with troops and materiel.

Actually, most of the world supports removing Saddam. A handful of important countries oppose it. It isn’t idealism, or concern for the Iraqi people, or fear of destabilizing the region or even anti-Americanism that is behind it.

It’s oil. As of October 2002, Iraq reportedly had signed several multi-billion dollar deals with foreign oil companies mainly from Russia, France and China.

Deutsche Bank estimates some $38 billion total profit on new fields. With the potential production capacity of 4.7 million barrels per day if all the deals come to fruition.

The oil companies reportedly having signed deals with Iraq are Lukoil and Tatneft from Russia, TotalFinaElf from France, China National Petroleum Corp from China.

The plot thickens.

France has a separate deal with Saddam worth more than $50 billion – a deal that heavily favors the French, thanks to U.N. sanctions.

A post-Saddam government would not be obliged to keep existing contracts. And no legitimate Iraqi government would let the French deal stand. A legitimate Iraqi government could sell that oil on the open market, instead of the black market prices France was offering.

Paris and Germany would prefer to keep Saddam right where he is. Not in the interests of peace. Not in the interest of the suffering Iraqis. They are suffering more under Saddam.

It’s about the oil.

The hypocrisy knows no bounds.