I notice in the English language press there has not been any mention of Chirac’s latest. We are, to say the least, not admirers of Chirac’s domestic policies, or of his corruption, but he has been smarter than anybody else about Iraq. He found a reason not to meet Allawi in Brussels (Saddam’s former hit man, unperturbed, got his photo op, fittingly enough, with Tony Blair) – sudden business in the U.A.R. But he has invited Ghazi al Yawer to Paris.

LI had guessed in the earlier, happy time before Nov. 2 that if Kerry were elected, Yawer would probably receive a much more prominent role. Allawi had been much too much a Bush re-election campaign puppet. Well, we know what happened. But Yawer is still out there, and he is poised to receive the popularity that comes from opposing the crime everyone is foretelling in Fallujah – a strategy which the Americans modestly claim to have had no hand in. Yes, they are only carrying out the rule of Allawi. The dummy, here, supposedly controls the ventriloquist – but outside of that old horror movie, Magic, this type of thing really doesn’t happen. It certainly doesn't fool the Iraqis.

So is Chirac trying to find his own angle in the mess? Sooner or later France is going to have to make some decision about what to do in Iraq. Unlike Vietnam, which had no material bearing on French welfare, what happens in Iraq has a central bearing on it.

Meanwhile, the Club of Paris is as unenthusiastic as ever about relieving Iraq of its debt. The report from Naomi Klein which we cited in a previous post shows why: Kuwait is still collecting war reparations from the country. One would truly have to be blind to think that this is a situation going on against the will of the Confederate occupiers – as Klein pointed out, James Baker, while officially making the rounds to relieve the debt, was, under his other hat at the Carlyle group, relying on a hefty paycheck for guaranteeing the continuing flow of money out of Iraq into the pockets of the wealthy despots in Kuwait.