One of the leading nuclear powers has a great deal of experience in fighting Islamic terrorists and occupying Arab lands. Indeed, as a young man, the country’s leader served as a soldier fighting a bloody military campaign against terrorists in an occupied Muslim land.
Does the paragraph above describe Israel? Well, yes. But (and I’d forgotten this) it also describes France. This National Journal article points out that France’s 1960s occupation of (and withdrawal from) Algeria is the closest analogy we’ve got with the US occupation of Iraq. And the lessons it taught the French might well explain France’s attitude to the Iraq war.
I’m not convinced the two are entirely comparable – after all, France occupied Algeria with the aim of making it French, whereas the US merely intends to make Iraq an Iraqi democracy. However, it’s certainly a more convincing explanation for the French stance on Iraq than “they’re evil crooks who like selling arms to bad people”.