Final Word from Monday, December 22, 2003





The CR has withdrawn its medical personnel from Iraq but is sending 80 policemen to Basra to help train the local force. The CR is being rewarded by the U.S. for its continued support of the Iraq war. At least one contract has been signed, and other big ones are reportedly in the works. ČTK quoted Czech diplomatic sources as saying that choosing Gripen fighters over F-16s could hurt Czech business interests in Iraq, but this seems unlikely. Commerce Secretary Donald Evans and Amb. Craig Stapleton told us on Dec. 16 that there's absolutely no linkage. Stapleton said that any impact on Czech-U.S. relations would be political and military, not economic. U.S. officials grumble in private at times about the CR's self-serving approach to Iraq but praise it for being there when others aren't. F-16s or not, the U.S. won't likely do anything to disrupt this relationship.BAE Saab Lockheed Martin

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