Significant if true.
The discovery of the missiles by Polish troops raises fresh questions about the role of France in arming Saddam, as well as reviving memories of the French sale of Exocet missiles to Argentina before the Falklands war.
France has long had a close relationship with Iraq, selling the country an estimated £3 billion worth of weapons, including Exocets and Mirage fighters during the Iran war.
The discovery could offer some credence to the British and US governments’ argument that more time is needed to uncover the full extent of Saddam’s weapons stockpiles.
If it is, in fact, true, expect immediate claims that they were planted. I mean, who is more trustworthy? The United States, or Iraq?
UPDATE: It appears that the Roland missiles Polish troops discovered could not have been produced recently, as was initially claimed. France says it stopped producing those models fifteen years ago. Poland has officially expressed “regret” for the report, although it didn’t actually retract it. The missiles apparently were destroyed by the Polish troops after they were discovered. To be honest, this isn’t all that surprising. I really have trouble believing that anyone, even France, would export something so obviously illegal and easily traceable in violation of international agreements.
Another important thing that this incident brings up is the fact that most of the troops in Iraq that are destroying Iraq’s weapons aren’t trained to actually analyze their findings. They just blow them up. There are bound to be more mistaken reports or rumors reported as fact. On the flip side, there is also a good chance that something particularly damning, if it exists, will be overlooked and destroyed before the professionals can get a look at it simply because the guys don’t know any better.