Iraq: October 16, 2002

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President Bush signed the legislation giving him Congressional backing for a war with Iraq. Now comes the effort to get the UN to agree to such an attack. Russia is holding out (and can use it's Security Council veto to thwart such support) over the issue of money. Russia is owed  billions of dollars by Iraq (for purchases during the 1980s war with Iran) and has made deals to develop new Iraqi oil fields. Indeed, some of the 1980s loans were made with the understanding that Russian firms would develop some new oil fields in Iraq. Russia fears that a post-Saddam government would renounce the debts and oil deals. Russia wants some assurances that its money is safe, then it will give support for going after Saddam. For Russia, it's not about supporting a tyrant, it is about taking care of business.

 

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