France’s attempts at creating a coalition of Iraqis opposed to the interim government of Prime Minister Iyad Allawi collapsed yesterday as Paris announced it had abandoned its opposition to an international conference to be held on the future of the newly-liberated country ....
[Paris] wanted what it calls “Iraqi resistance groups” to also attend.
Three guesses whom they solicited:
With help from Syria, France started looking for Iraqi figures that could be invited as “resistance” leaders and opponents of the interim government in Baghdad. Among the Iraqi figures contacted were Muhammad Al-Durri, a former diplomatic aide to Saddam Hussein who had served as ambassador to the United Nations. Also canvassed were Abdul-Razzaq Al-Hashemi, a former minister of science under Saddam Hussein, and Mahdi Salehi, a former Baathist minister of commerce with ties to the French establishment.
None of the figures canvassed, however, are involved in the “resistance” while at least two are in exile in the United Arab Emirates.
Both the Iraqi interim government and the US-led coalition have criticized the French move as a naked bid to find a place for the dissolved Baath party in the new Iraq.“We understand France’s desire to revive part of its influence in Iraq,” says an aide to interim Prime Minister Allawi. “But this does not mean that we can let Baathist criminals and their jihadist allies to gain a foothold thanks to French support.”
One hopes not. But this is not over - RTWT for the next moves, already under way.