The French had a very good reason not to go along with the US in the War in Iraq. For over 50 years US oil companies and US policy have "stolen" French oil properties and contracts which has cost the French trillions of dollars.
In 1954 the French lost Vietnam at the battle of Dien Bien Phu because the US did not send any assistance. Actually at the end of WWII, the US had given a good portion of the massive amount of weapons, stored on Okinawa in 1945 for the final land invasion of Japan, to Ho Chi Min to assist his program to "nationalize" French Indo-China, which is now the independent country of Vietnam.
Thus General Giap of 'Nam war fame got his weapons from the US, to drive out the French and later the US. But it was all carefully planned. The result was that the French lost a vast oil-rich property, and the US took over in South Nam. After the contrived Gulf of Tonkin Incident in 1964, for 10 years US oil companies did a secret seismic oil survey offshore of South Vietnam from 1965 to 1975 under the guise of spent bombs dropping in the sea from returning US jets to the offshore carriers.
Less than a decade later, in 1985 when the new independent nation of Vietnam finally opened up the offshore region for oil exploration, only Chevron knew where to put their bids and get the oil-rich undersea tracts. The Vietnamese had gotten a "free" oil survey to make them one of the largest petroleum producers in Asia and Chevron hardly paid a nickel, since Uncle Sam had "paid" for the survey. All the many other nations who also bid on undersea oil lots only came up with very costly dry holes. The French never even had a chance.
Also in 1954 when the French were being driven out of the French north African colony of Algeria by "home-grown nationalist" uprisings, again the US refused to help. The result was the French lost the colony in 1962 after 8 years of brutal war and the loss of millions of casualties. When the newly independent Algeria opened up the desert for oil prospecting, darn if it wasn't Texaco-Mobile-Chevron who got all the goodies and the French got nothing. Algeria is one of the largest oil producers in Africa. The French were starting to see a pattern.
Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the CIS and a year later, Russia was ready and willing to sell its vast supply of Black Sea and newly found Caspian Sea oil to get some badly needed international cash. But how to get the oil to the customers? The Black Sea oil was already filling up the narrow Bosporus channel through the ancient city of Istambul, Turkey with a daily conga-line log jam of oil tankers. But the Russians found another way to get the new found oil to their big European customers, the French and Germans. Just take oil barges and bypass the narrow Bosporus and simply sail up the wide Danube River from the northwest edge of the Black Sea.
The Blue Danube goes right up past Romania, the old Yugoslavia, the Czech Republic, Austria and right into downtown refineries in Germany and France just miles away from the river. It was a good deal for the Russians, the Germans and the French. Cheap Russian oil direct from the producer, with no middle-man charging high OPEC or US market prices. That is, until the Serbian/Kosovo war in 1999.
While nobody was paying attention, the Clinton administration bombed and dropped all the bridges across the Danube in Serbia. Why did they do that? That action instantly stopped all river traffic for the next 10 years. So now what are the Russians, French and Germans to do? They are all losing money and their economies hit a sharp downturn in 1999. The Russians can't sell their oil to make quick cash and the French and Germans need to buy oil from the "American multi-national oil companies" at the higher double-markup spot market price.
In 1999, all three countries found a willing go-between who would transport the oil for cheap. It was Saddam Hussein right next door in Iraq. He needed the cash he could make as an oil transporter. He couldn't sell his own oil by UN edict, but he could legally pipe Russian Black Sea and Caspian Sea oil right through the Caucasus Mountains through existing Iraqi pipelines to the Persian Gulf and then the cheap Russian oil is sent direct to the customers in Europe. Since it wasn't Iraqi oil, its all legal and the French, Russians and Germans were fat and happy with Saddam's minimal markup for transport. And if Saddam slipped in some of his own oil in the process, who's to know.
Then along comes G. W. Bush and stops the process. No more oil is piped through Iraq. Russia, Germany and France are upset, they are losing billions. They don't want to go along with Bush on any war in Iraq. Bush wants to "free" Iraq from that Saddam guy and then the control of Rusian oil shipments through Iraq would again be by Texaco-Mobile-Chevron. And even bigger is Standard Oil. But where is Standard? In January 1988, Standard merged with British Petroleum to form the world's largest international oil explorer, marketer and shipper. But the merged mega-giant took the name BP-America, later just BP, to make you think its a British company. Not! Its still Standard Oil but now wearing "environmentalist BP-green" just to fool you.
But "the Iraqi oil belongs to the Iraqi's," justifies Bush, but the Germans and French don't care. They don't want the Iraqi oil, only that cheap Russian oil coming through the Iraqi pipelines. And of course, without Saddam, the price for being the middleman who runs the Iraqi pipeline spigot suddenly shoots up. The Russians lose market share, the Germans and French pay the higher world market price. The French are now really pissed. They finally clearly see the devilish 50 year old pattern. The French, along with most other countries in the world, see US President Bush and British Prime Minister Blair as the guerilla hitmen snipers for BP, nee Standard Oil.
That explains why the French want Bush and Blair to take a long flying leap off a short pier. It wasn't Americans or American policy that had gypped the French for the last 50 years. It was the "American" multi-national oil companies. Most foreigners don't distinguish between the hated exploitative big-oil companies and the Americans. To most foreigners, America is the oil company. Now you know why the French, Germans and Russians did not go along with the UN resolution to attack Iraq. Would you willingly vote to double the price of energy in your country? Now you know why there is oil on your French Toast. Can you blame them?
If you are not old enough to remember WWII, the Vietnam War or the many 1954 “American oil takeovers” in French Indo-China, Algeria, and even Venezuela and Iran, then you probably would believe all the media hype that the War in Iraq is about Iraqi oil. Not so. Its about the only existing oil pipeline direct from the Russian oilfields to the Persian Gulf. He who owns that pipe controls the world price of oil, simply by opening and closing the spigot. The vast Russian oil reserves make the Saudi and OPEC oil fields look lilliputian.
And if you did not know about that Iraqi pipeline then you would believe that the “shock and awe” tactics were aimed at shocking and fooling the Iraqi’s. Not so. It was aimed at you. While you were watching the fabulous fireworks on TV as the bombs fell on Baghdad, you did not notice what the British-American coalition ground troops were really doing. Within hours the troops had rushed in and taken control of the southern pipeline terminal and tank farm facilities at the Persian Gulf port of Basra.
Likewise the troops quickly took control of the northern pipeline facilities at Kirkuk and Mosul in the Caucasus mountains. That was to make sure that in the confusion of war, the Turks did not rush in and take control of the area. For decades the Turks have wanted to wrest control of the area from the Kurds so that Turkey would become the major pipeline for Russian oil. But that is not in the BP-Standard oil plan. General Tommy Franks knows who he is working for. He made sure that never happened.