In 2003, the year the United States attacked Saddam Hussein in Iraq, the French and the Germans were united against the military operation, as you can read at the following Guardian article, titled “France and Germany unite against Iraq war”, January 2003. Russia was of course against the intervention too, because Saddam Hussein was her ally, and a major importer of Russian arms. Moreover the sanctions against Iraq prevented the western multinationals from operating in Iraq, which kept the Iraqi oil production at very low levels, and kept the oil prices higher. The same was true for Iran.
With the overturn of Saddam Hussein the Kurds of the rich in oil and natural gas of Iraqi Kurdistan (North Iraq), who were oppressed by Saddam, could finally send their oil and gas to Europe through Turkey. That is if of course if Turkey finds a solution with the Kurds of the Turkish Kurdistan (PKK), so that they stop sabotaging the networks. Recently Turkey allowed for the first time the Kurds of Turkey to enter the Turkish parliament.
The overturn of Saddam Hussein was very important for the Americans, because at the time Vladimir Putin and Gerhard Schroeder were arranging the construction of the North Stream pipeline, which would transport Russian natural gas to Europe through the Baltic Sea. After Gerhard Schroeder ended his term as the German chancellor in 2005, Putin made him managing director of the North Stream company, with an annual salary of 250.000 euros, as you can read at the following Reuters article, titled “Putin’s apologist? Germany’s Schroeder says they’re just friends”, March 2014.
Therefore the American attack to Iraq in 2003 was not very convenient for the German socialists, even though they knew that it would put downward pressure on oil prices. Also keep in mind that all socialists prefer autocratic regimes like the Russian, the Chinese and the Venezuelan ones, and they have a natural distaste for the United States.
Also note that besides oppressing the Kurds, Saddam Hussein was a Sunni socialist who was leading a country with a Shiite majority. Saddam was as socialist and did not leave too much room for religion, in order to avoid this problem, and it was mainly people from his cast that held the top positions in Iraq. The same situation was true in Syria, except that Assad, the father of Bashar al Assad, was an Alawite, an offshoot of Shiite Islam, who run a country with a Sunni majority. That’s why the Turks and the Arabs of the Gulf want elections in Syria. Because they hope that the Sunni majority will help them take control of the country.
France was against the attack to Saddam Hussein, because there is a lot of business between France and the Arabs of the Gulf in the areas of energy and the military industry. Arabs are major importers of French arms.The fall of Saddam would not be good for the Arabs, because the Shiite Iranians would use their religion to take control of the Shiite majority of Iraq. And that’s exactly what happened when Saddam fell. Iraq became an Iranian satellite. Saddam was a Sunni socialist, and the Saudis were Sunni islamists, and they were not in good terms. But the Saudis knew that at least their number one enemy, the Iranians, would not take control of Iraq as long as Saddam was in power.
The Americans did not overturn Saddam in 1991, when Saddam invaded Kuwait and set the oil fields of Kuwait on fire. Saddam was angry with Kuwait, because Kuwait produced more oil than agreed at OPEC, in order to increase its market share. But the larger production put downward pressure on oil prices, and that hurt Iraq. The Americans did not overturn Saddam in 1991 even though they reached Baghdad, because they knew that this would hurt their allies the Saudis. But that was before the TAPI pipeline, before Al Qaida, before the 9/11 attack. In 2003 the Americans did not care about the Saudis.
Note that OPEC is the international oil cartel, and its purpose is to make sure that oil production does not push oil prices too low. Saudi Arabia is the queen of OPEC and Russia is not a member. Also note that OPEC hurts the interests of both China and the US, since these two countries are the two largest importers of oil.
For France there was one more problem with the Iranians. From the great powers France was the one with the strongest objections to the deal about the recent deal about the Iranian nuclear program. Iran is one of the countries that attack France in Niger and other African countries, because Iran and China need the uranium of Africa for their own nuclear programs. Niger is one of the largest producers of uranium in the world, and France is the second largest producer of nuclear energy in the world, second only to United States. France covers most of her energy needs with nuclear energy, and uranium is for France more important than oil. The state owned French nuclear producer Areva is the traditional producer of uranium in Niger.
All the above are a deterioration of the unity of NATO. But whoever believes the attack of 2003 in Iraq is responsible for the war in Syria and Iraq today is wrong. See “Who is Responsible for the War”.
For the Guardian article see
“France and Germany unite against Iraq war”, January 2003
For the Reuters article see
“Putin’s apologist? Germany’s Schroeder says they’re just friends”, March 2014