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In documents I obtained during an investigation of the French relationship to Saddam Hussein, the French interest in maintaining Saddam Hussein in power was spelled out in excruciating detail. The price tag: close to $100 billion. That was what French oil companies stood to profit in the first seven years of their exclusive oil arrangements - had Saddam remained in power.
Those two deals, which I detail in "The French Betrayal of America," would have been worth an estimated $100 billion over a seven-year period - but were conditioned on the lifting of U.N. sanctions on Iraq. Simply put, analyst Gerald Hillman told me, the French were saying: "We will help you get the sanctions lifted, and when we do that, you give us this.
NRO: Did Chirac actually lie to President Bush before the Iraq war?
Timmerman: Yes, and this is why the president and Secretary of State Powell were so taken aback when foreign minister Dominique de Villepin pulled the rug out from under United Nations negotiations on January 20, 2003, by announcing, apparently out of the blue, that France would never ever agree to using force against Saddam Hussein.
Before the first U.N. vote in early November 2002 (actually, it was the 17th U.N. resolution condemning Saddam and calling on him to voluntarily disarm or suffer the consequences, which included his forceful ouster), Jacques Chirac picked up the phone and called President Bush at the White House, personally reassuring him that France "would be with" us at the U.N. and in Iraq. To demonstrate his intentions, he said, he was sending one of his top generals to Tampa, Florida, to work out the details with U.S. Central Command leaders for integrating French troops into a Coalition force to oust Saddam.
"Chirac's assurances are what gave the president the confidence to keep sending Colin Powell back to the U.N.," one source who was privy to Chirac's phone call to Bush told me. "They also explain why the administration has been going after the French so aggressively ever since. They lied."
NRO: You accuse France of actually encouraging genocide ó it seems like an outrageous charge.
Timmerman: It's a very specific charge, made by Hoshyar Zebari, who is now the Iraqi foreign minister. Zebari was referring to the massacre of the Marsh Arabs who used to live in the Howeiza marshes along the southern border between Iran and Iraq. In the mid-1990s, at the urging of the French, who worried about sending their oil engineers into the area, Saddam drained the marshes ó an area the size of the state of Delaware ó turning the rich, fertile homeland of this ancient people into a dust bowl. Then he sent in the Republican Guards, massacring thousands of civilians. Why? To make the area safe for French oil engineers and French oil workers.
NRO: You say in your new book that the Iraq war was, in fact, all about oil.
Timmerman: The war in Iraq was indeed a war for oil ó waged by the French, not the United States. The Chirac government was desperate to maintain its exclusive ó and outrageously exploitative ó oil contracts with Saddam's regime, which would have earned the French an estimated $100 billion during the first seven years of operations, according to experts I interviewed for my book. My worry today is that a Kerry administration would back the French, who continue to assert that these contracts are legally binding on the new Iraqi government. That would be a travesty and a dishonor to all those Iraqis who died under Saddam.
A team of international forensic investigators is preparing to blow the lid off the much-disputed U.N. oil-for-food program in Iraq and will present new evidence of corruption at an upcoming congressional hearing that directly will implicate world leaders and top U.N. officials, Insight has learned.....
An Iraqi newspaper, Al-Mada, published the list of 270 recipients of special "allocations" [also known as vouchers] in January. But as Insight goes to press, the testimony of Hankes-Drielsma on April 22 before the House International Relations Committee is expected to provide new evidence of widespread international corruption.
UNITED NATIONS (AP) Former U.S. Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker, tapped to chair a panel investigating alleged corruption in the U.N. oil-for-food program, wants the Security Council to endorse the panel with a resolution before he takes the post, diplomats said Thursday.....
The corruption claims a major embarrassment for the United Nations surfaced last January in the Iraqi newspaper Al-Mada, which published a list of about 270 former government officials, activists and journalists from more than 46 countries suspected of profiting from Iraqi oil sales under the U.N. program