Wednesday, April 09, 2003

Of French plunderers and Russian absconders
One ethical question worth considering is whether or not any international contracts signed with the inhumane Saddam regime are still valid? Should the Iraqi people be forced to accept deals with foreign businesses that were made without their consent or for their benefit?
TotalFinaElf wants post-war Iraq deal
Agence France-Presse

. . . In an interview with Belgian newspaper L'Echo, TotalFinaElf chairman Thierry Desmarest said "international law must be respected" when the United States hands out reconstruction contracts. "Calls for international tenders must be launched to determine who will take part in the reconstruction and the development," he said.

Desmarest said TotalFinaElf holds the "trump cards" in Iraq's oil industry with drilling concessions in the southern region of Bassorah.

. . . French and Russian companies led the way in forging contracts with Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's government, before a United Nations embargo imposed after the 1991 Gulf War. . .

And as for those anti-war Russians and their sanction-violating armament of Saddam post 1991, here's something to chew on:
Russia might helped top Iraqi officials get out of Iraq

. . . Russian ambassador Vladimir Titorenko had left Baghdad and arrived in Damascus, Syria, on Monday, claiming that US forces had fired on his diplomatic convoy as it left the Iraqi capital. Surprisingly, the Russian diplomat returned to the Iraqi capital on Tuesday, officially to bring out an embassy driver wounded in the incident and a diplomat who stayed to look after the hospitalized victim.

However, well-informed sources have told Al Bawaba that the real goal of the Russian convoy journey to Syria was to provide a safe haven for senior Iraqi officials who feared to be prosecuted by the American forces.

. . . The Nezavisimaya Gazeta reported that the US rangers' attack on the Russian Ambassador's convoy near Baghdad was a clash between SVR, Russian's Foreign Intelligence Service, and the CIA. Russia had asked for a safe passage for its Ambassador's convoy to move from Baghdad to Syria, but a "Predator" drone had been hovering over the convoy all along the way, according to the Russian daily. . .

Moscow denies Saddam hides in Russian embassy

. . . Meanwhile, according to reports, Saddam Hussein is hiding in the Russian Embassy in Baghdad. He is said to be trying to negotiate a deal allowing him to go free in return for surrendering. This report has been strongly denied by Russian officials. It was first made by the speaker of the Lebanese parliament, Nabih Berri. He pointed out that Russian ambassador Vladimir Titorenko had left Baghdad on Saturday. . .