North Africa: Desert Oil & Political Quicksands

Four years ago, after French consortiums began pumping a treasure of oil from under the desert sands, Charles de Gaulle proudly prophesied: "France may have found a new destiny in the Sahara." Last week that destiny seemed to be taking a turn scarcely envisioned by De Gaulle. To his sequestered Elysee Palace in Paris, he summoned a coterie of advisers to help him figure out the next move in the sticky negotiations that France has been holding for a year with her former foe, Algeria. Subject of the negotiations: the perilous future of French oil concessions in the Sahara.

The...

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