I heard a very articulate Tunisian woman on the radio last week reminding the world that if and when there is democracy in Iraq, the majority will rule (logical), and the majority is Shi-ite.....

..that is the same people who build thousands of mosques and islamist centres everywhere in the Arab world, in Africa and in Asia (and fund islamist movements in Europe and North America), whereas the current Iraqi situation is of course bad, but at least there are not only muslims in the government (Tariq Aziz, the Vice-Premier is a Christian) and Iraq is officially non-denominational (?) and in practice moderately religious.

I also heard an Iraqi (a political refugee of 25 years here in France) say "better the bad you know than the good you do not know". It seems to be an Iraqi saying, but I think it is also the natural human reaction to the unknown: who can say that the unknown future will be as good as some people (namely, the Americans) promise?

Chirac is now working on preventing the US from taking all the spoils when the war is finished and on reestablishing the UN's authority on the situation. He is also sending humanitarian personnel to Qatar, to be ready to help when needed. France did the same thing in former Yougoslavia: the Americans paraded with their shiny weapons and tanks and the French buried thousands of dead (my cousin spent 6 months there burying people and vomiting, and digging, and burying, and vomiting again, and could not utter a single word for several months afterwards).

Manu