Iraq gets pro-French US official

Published May 9, 2003

PARIS: “Won’t George W. Bush be surprised,” notes a close friend of Paul Bremer, the newly-appointed US civilian administrator for Iraq, “when he learns that the career foreign diplomat is not only strongly pro-French and Francophone, he’s also a longtime resident of France, notably of the port city of Saint-Jean-de-Luz.”

According to the longtime French friend and neighbour, Didier Chancerel, Bremer, who is a practising Catholic, decided many years ago to buy a residence at the celebrated vacation village, where, he notes, “he’s so impassioned by French culture that Bremer has learnt to sing all of the traditional songs of the Basque region.” He’s also become, notes Chancerel, “one of our most knowledgeable local historians, with an unquenching desire to learn everything he can about our mores and customs.”

Bremer, says Chancerel, calls him regularly to keep an eye on his house, and says he hopes to return to Saint-Jean-de-Luz as soon as his new job permits him to spend a few days in France, especially as his French port-of-call is much closer to Baghdad, where he will be based, than to Washington.

Bremer’s appointment, says a French diplomatic source, may very well turn out to be France’s golden opportunity to at last get its foot in the door and be able to have its just role to play not only in reconstruction, but also the operation of the country’s oil fields and eventually the rearmament of Iraq, where such companies as Dassault, EADS and Thales say they’d like eventually to set up shop.—By Paul Michaud

Opinion

Editorial

Dark days
Updated 26 May, 2022

Dark days

The PTI, on its part, does not seem to have been prepared to face such a large deployment of state machinery.
26 May, 2022

No room for dissent

WHILE political turmoil roils the land, a number of incidents over the past few days have demonstrated that though...
26 May, 2022

Harassing passengers

REPORTS of the confiscation of personal items from passengers’ private luggage by customs officials at Karachi’s...
Back to bedlam
Updated 25 May, 2022

Back to bedlam

FEAR tactics have never worked in the past, and most likely will not this time either. The government’s ...
25 May, 2022

Balochistan blaze

THE forest fire on the Koh-i-Sulaiman range in Balochistan’s Shirani area is among a series of blazes to have...
25 May, 2022

Unequal citizens

INDIFFERENCE would have been bad enough, but the state’s attitude towards non-Muslims falls squarely in the...