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12.01.2003

Why you shouldn't do business with rogue states 

From the New York Times:



WASHINGTON, Nov. 30 — It was Saddam Hussein's last weapons deal — and it did not go exactly as he and his generals had imagined.

For two years before the American invasion of Iraq, Mr. Hussein's sons, generals and front companies were engaged in lengthy negotiations with North Korea, according to computer files discovered by international inspectors and the accounts of Bush administration officials.

The officials now say they believe that those negotiations — mostly conducted in neighboring Syria, apparently with the knowledge of the Syrian government — were not merely to buy a few North Korean missiles.

Instead, the goal was to obtain a full production line to manufacture, under an Iraqi flag, the North Korean missile system, which would be capable of hitting American allies and bases around the region, according to the Bush administration officials.

As war with the United States approached, though, the Iraqi files show that Mr. Hussein discovered what American officials say they have known for nearly a decade now: that Kim Jong Il, the North Korean leader, is less than a fully reliable negotiating partner.

In return for a $10 million down payment, Mr. Hussein appears to have gotten nothing.

The trail that investigators have uncovered, partly from reading computer hard drives found in Baghdad and partly from interviews with captured members of Mr. Hussein's inner circle, shows that a month before the American invasion, Iraqi officials traveled to Syria to demand that North Korea refund $1.9 million because it had failed to meet deadlines for delivering its first shipment of goods.

North Korea deflected the request, telling Mr. Hussein's representatives, in the words of one investigator, that "things were too hot" to begin delivering missile technology through Syria.


All those stupid companies who are trying to sue Iraq to recover debts the Saddam regime owes them should take note.

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