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Friend of the Arabs

France's pro-Arab policies sometimes pay dividends. But popularity comes at a price

By Tim King   October 2004

Eighteen months after the invasion of Iraq, France is increasingly proud of its decision not to join the US-led coalition. Until recently, it was assumed that this opposition would render French citizens immune from danger, with many American and British journalists “pretending they are French when they go into hot spots,” according to Georges Malbrunot, a French journalist working for Le Figaro. A few days after writing these lines, he himself was kidnapped in Iraq, along with his colleague Christian Chesnot. Nevertheless, believing them immune, the French embassy in Baghdad was not initially worried. Four days later, however, French secret…

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