France Scores Big In Iraq Contracts

America may yet win the war in Iraq, but France, which bitterly opposed the war, looks set to win the contracts. Foreign investment in Iraq rose 1,500 percent as stability returned last year, but U.S. firms are "negligible players," says a report from Dunia Frontier Consultants of Dubai. The French are likely to emerge the big winners from the West, building on political links that date to the era of Saddam Hussein, when France built much of the infrastructure that now needs replacing.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy is pushing the advantage. He recently went to Iraq to drum up business, and Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki repaid the visit this month. France plans a new embassy in Baghdad and two new consulates. French giant -Lafarge already accounts for one in four tons of the concrete poured in Iraq. And France's leading oil company, Total, has been invited to bid to develop (with Chevron) two major oilfields. Iraq is even asking for French aid to build a nuclear-power plant. To the surrender monkeys go the spoils.