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French Firms Provided Hussein Power to Launch Scuds at Israel

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Two French companies were named Thursday as the providers of the technology and training that enabled Saddam Hussein of Iraq to endow his Scud missiles with the capability to hit targets in Israel and Saudi Arabia.

According to the current edition of the weekly L’Express, a French company, SAGEM, supplied the technological know-how while another French firm, Interspace, supervised the training of Iraqi engineers, which took place in Brazil.

The transfers took place between 1987 and 1989, L’Express said, adding that SAGEM delivered highly complex guidance systems to a secret consortium made up of 16 companies that was based first in Monaco and later in Switzerland.

Known as CONSEN, it was ostensibly Argentine but actually an Iraqi front which the Baghdad government established with a $5 billion investment, the weekly said.

Iraqi engineers who improved the Scuds were trained by the Brazilian Center for Aerospace Technology. But they were under the direct supervision of Interspace, whose shareholders include French state-owned companies and the French National Center for Space Studies.

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