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HomeBusinessFrench Energy Giant Total Signs Mega Contracts with Iraq

French Energy Giant Total Signs Mega Contracts with Iraq

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French energy giant Total signed some $27bn worth of oil and gas contracts and a crucial water project with Iraq.

Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi has attended the signing ceremony.

The deals came as the US companies and other big oil companies are leaving Iraq.

However, France is seem to be looking for a chance for growing influence over Iraq’s energy sector.

France’s Growing Influence

Last weekend, while attending a regional summit in the Iraqi capital, Emmanuel Macron began to make the case for France.

The French president wants to present Paris as a supporter and strategic ally of the Baghdad government. Thus, a regional summit in Iraq’s capital was a perfect place to start.

Iraqi-French relations are considered good and stable.

France was among the first countries that recognised the new political system. This came despite its refusal to participate in the international military coalition led by the US to topple Saddam Hussein in 2003.

And it comes second only to the US in the number of personnel deployed in Iraq. It was also a key Nato member.

For France, the planned US withdrawal is a chance to dig its heels into Iraq and establish a launching pad to expand its influence in the Middle East, provide balance to Iranian influence, and compete with Turkey, a Nato ally it is often at odds with.

The French believe that after decades of war, weakness, and tumult, Iraq is ready to receive them. And that it will provide them with a base to build political and economic bridges with the countries of the region, Iraqi officials said.

The Baghdad Conference on Partnership and Cooperation, held last weekend, witnessed the launch of this plan. It was “the official gate” through which France entered Iraq to introduce itself as “a partner to the Iraqi government in its concerns and a sponsor of Iraq’s regional and international interests”, as one Iraqi official put it.

At the conference, Macron said in a televised press conference that France will maintain its presence in Iraq to fight against terrorism, “no matter what choices the Americans make”.

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