IRAQ: The Price of Derring-Do

Shortly before Baghdad abruptly nationalized the Western-owned Iraq Petroleum Co. last month, Vice President Saddam Hussein Takriti, 35, flew off on a secret mission to Paris. No one knows whether Takriti, who is Iraq's boss as head of the dictatorial Baath (Renaissance) Party, actually told the French government of his plans to take over I.P.C. But he was sufficiently encouraged to return last week for a session with President Pompidou. After the meeting, Takriti announced a considerable diplomatic and commercial coup: the Compagnie Française des Petroles—one of six former corporate owners...

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