January 10, 2006


Iraq: Paris and Washington on same wavelength (Alain Barluet, 09 janvier 2006, Le Figaro)

The release of French hostage Bernard Planche yesterday earned the Americans warm thanks from Paris. This reflects the rapprochement between the partners on Iraq as well as on other matters in the Middle East. Expressing his thanks to "all those who mobilized" to help the French hostage regain his freedom, Jacques Chirac "thanked the coalition forces that permitted this release". Dominque de Villepin was more explicit. Thanking "the diplomatic services and intelligence services", the prime minister also thanked "the US authorities that lent their assistance to this release". Such expressions of gratitude, which have been rather rare in the Iraqi context over recent years, are a logical consequence of the circumstances surrounded the ending of Bernard Planche's period of captivity.

Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy confirmed yesterday that the French hostage had been "found at the time of a control operation by the coalition forces". As US soldiers were the first to find him, it would have been difficult not to acknowledge their role. In any event, the affair shows that, although it is not participating in the coalition, France can have need of its support or at least say it needs it.

Because other reasons than simple diplomatic courtesy may have caused the French authorities to be sweet to the Americans. "In this kind of affair, they are able, thanks to their system of wiretapping and intelligence, to obtain a lot of information that can sometimes be embarrassing. It is better not to incite them to make it public," said one source who has followed closely the kidnapping of Westerners in Iraq.

Is it still gratitude if we blackmail them into expressing it?

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 10, 2006 10:21 AM

Not to overlook the euroes they saved.

Posted by: Genecis at January 10, 2006 11:12 AM

What's a "chapot?" It that the same thing as a "chapeau?"

Posted by: Lou Gots at January 10, 2006 7:08 PM

It's a sabot when it's a shoe, isn't a hat a chapot?

Posted by: oj at January 10, 2006 11:08 PM