Cultural Revolutions

Cancelling a Contract

Saddam Hussein, a Kremlin source told the Russian Information Agency (RIA-Novosti), “isn’t so nice that you would want to defend him just for his own sake.”  Following the December 12, 2002, announcement by the Iraqi government that it had cancelled its contract with Russia’s Lukoil, which held the rights to develop Iraq’s vast West Kurna oil field, there was no longer any reason for Russia to pretend that it opposed military action against Iraq as a matter of principle: Russia, as the anonymous source told RIA-Novosti, would look after her economic interests.  By canceling the contract, Baghdad was merely acknowledging what most observers had maintained since last fall: Russia had made a bargain with Washington regarding possible “regime change” in Iraq.  If the United States decided to use military force to overthrow Saddam, Moscow would make no serious effort to stop it.  In exchange, as President Bush himself stated in a November interview with Russia’s NTV, Washington would “take into account” Russia’s “economic interests” in a post-Saddam scenario.  By scuttling the Lukoil contract, Baghdad probably was attempting to complicate matters for the Russian turncoats, whose claims to a share of Iraq’s oil wealth are based on such deals.

Chronicles readers are aware that Lukoil may have been pressured to adopt a pro-American...

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