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Attacking Iraq - International Reaction


"The Muslim people of Afghanistan, who have suffered much hardship from dictatorial regimes of the last two decades, want the elimination of despotism by the liberated will of the people of Iraq... The emergence of a united and independent Iraq, based on the will of the people, will be helpful to peace and stability of the region and the world." -- Statement by the Government, March 20, 2003


Prime Minister Nano offered support to the coalition by offering unconditional use of it's airspace and land and ports.


As one of the non-permanent members of the UN Security Council, was one of the countries that the US needed support from in order to get a new resolution. Despite the lack of a UN Mandate, Angola has joined the US coalition of military action against Iraq, although there are no plans for Angola units to participate militarily.


Argentina has denounced Britain and the United States in it's military enforced disarmament. Earlier in March, Argentina had stated that its participation in a military venture was contingent on a clear UN Mandate.


There is strong public opposition to any war in Iraq. However, the government of Prime Minister Howard announced on January 24, 2003, the deployment of troops to the Gulf. The Australian contribution to coalition forces is codenamed "Operation Bastille" and encompasses air, naval, and special forces for a total of approximately 2000 personnel. In an address to Parliament on February 4, Prime Minister Howard stated "If the international community does not act now to disarm Iraq, it will have made a mockery of years of effort to stop the spread of weapons of mass destruction. It will have encouraged others to mimic Iraq." On March 16, 2003 Howard committed the 2,000 deployed troops assisting in the US led invasion of Iraq and there are reports that Australian troops are participating in conjuction with US and British troops.


As home to the headquarters of the U.S. naval Fifth Fleet, it is not expected that the country will do anything to actively oppose U.S. military action against Iraq. However, Bahrain's limited military will not play a part in an invasion of Iraq. On March 19 Bahrain's King Hamad offered sanctuary for Saddam if he were to choose exile in order to avoid war.


"Doing nothing about Iraq's breach of these U.N. resolutions is not an option. ... What we do about that is an open question." - Prime Minister Tony Blair

Britain has agreed to participate in a military campaign even if without a UN mandate. THere is strong public opposition throughout Britain. Prime Minister Blair's own party opposes the war as well. After winning a parliamentary vote it was agreed that British troops shall be used to suppor the United States. It had already deployed a battle group to the Gulf, aboard which are 8,000 Marines and sailors, and is deploying an additional 26,000 troops, along with 120 Challenger tanks and 150 Warrior armored personnel carriers prior to the US set 48 hour deadline. British units have and are expected to play a prominent role in a US led invasion.


As one of the non-permanent members of the UN Security Council, Bulgaria has supported the use of force to disarm Iraq. Historically Bulgaria has supported resolutions against Iraq, despite negative economic consequences. Statements made by Prime Minister Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha suggest that the current military conflict is a result of Saddam's decision to ignore international requests to disarm peacefully.


As one of the non-permanent members of the UN Security Council, Cameroon did not support a new UN resolution on disarming Iraq, although France's position of vetoing any resolution calling for immediate military action against Iraq may have overshadowed Cameroon's position.


"We need a clear connection between Saddam Hussein and terrorism. ... If there are other reasons, we are always listening. But for me, I think there are a lot of consequences for everybody on a decision like that." - Prime Minister Jean Chretien

Canada has, however, indicated that it may also join a military campaign, even without UN authorization.


Chile's position on supporting US actions are split. Publicly the United States says that Chile would have supported a new US backed resolution but it is unclear where Chile's position ultimatley stood in regards to a UN resolution. As for the current US led Iraq invasion, Chile has not officially given it's support.


China has harshly criticized Bush's military action and calls US actions illegal and in breach of the UN Charter. Calls for a return to a peaceful disarmament policy have been made several times.
"The sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Iraq should also be respected." - Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan


Colombia's present and historical problems with terrorism makes it a strong partner and supporter of the coalition against terrorism.

Czech Republic

The Czech Republic has pledged to make its anti-chemical warfare unit, based in Kuwait and representing almost a third of NATO capacity, available to the United States. It has also agreed for hundreds of US troops to be stationed on its territory and to make their airspace available.


Denmark has agreed to participate in a military campaign even without a UN mandate. The Danish government has deployed a submarine, corvette, and a medical response team to the region. The decision was controversial with a slim majority in the Parliament refusing to support the deployment without an explicit UN-mandate.

A debate took place on January 23, 2003 in the Danish Parliament on this issue, during which the legality of an attack on Iraq without a new Security Council mandate was raised. The government responded by referring to the 1998 campaign, at which time a similar debate took place and as a result of which it was concluded that actions taken then were legal. In general, Denmark places great emphasis on UN mandate (although the case of the humanitarian intervention in Kososvo was supported even though it lacked a clear UN SC authorization), but supports US action. Despite growing public support for the war, the social democrats and social liberals denounce the deployment of military units without a UN mandate.


"Striking Iraq is something that could have repercussions and post-strike developments. We fear chaos happening in the region." - President Hosni Mubarak.

With the start of the war several protests, some violent, have broken out in Egypt. As it stands Egypt is set to recieve a 2.3 billion dollar aid package to off set any economic damage the US invasion will consequently create. Also, President Mubarak has stated that any war will be the fault of Saddam's policy and inaction, not the United States.

El Salvador

"The Government of El Salvador laments that the negative and dilatory attitude of Saddam Hussein has brought war to the people of Iraq... In this regard, the Government of El Salvador continues to provide its political and diplomatic support to the coalition headed by the United States and Great Britain as well as its commitment to provided specialized forces for work in postwar Iraq." -- Statement by the Government of El Salvador, March 19, 2003


"I don't want to imagine an attack against Iraq, an attack that could not be justified unless it is decided by the Security Council. That is the position of Germany; that is the position of France." - President Jacques Chirac

France continually threatened to veto any US or British resolution to the UN regarding military action. France has refused to participate in any military action, unless Iraq uses chemical or biological weapons on invading forces. France is joined by China and Russia as the three permanent Security Council members denouncing war.


Georgia has joined the coalition to disarm Iraq and has pledged the use of its military bases and infastructure to U.S. troops.


"Pressure on Saddam Hussein, yes. But toying with war and military intervention - I can only warn against that. To talk about an attack against Iraq now is wrong. ... Under my leadership Germany will not be available for adventures." - Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder
"I can only warn against discussing a war in Iraq without thinking about the consequences and without having a political concept for the whole Middle East." - Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder

Germany is a non-permanent member of the Security Council and has joined France in opposing any war and vowed to vote against any resolution authorizing war.


As one of the non-permanent members of the UN Security Council, Guinea has did not commit itself to a position on a new resolution on Iraq.


On March 20, 2003 Prime Minister Peter Medgyessy offered to participate in the reconstruction of Iraq.


Iceland supports the U.S. and has offered use of it's airspace, airports, and help during reconstruction. Prime Minister Oddsson has also pledged his support for the military enforcement of Resolution 1441.


"The Iraqi people, not a world power, should determine Iraq's destiny. At the same time, Iran will not stand idle before such instability because, if a country decides to overthrow another country's government, this will create a norm." - Hamid Reza Asefi, Foreign Ministry spokesman
"If aggression against one country becomes a habit, no government or country will be spared." President Khatami.
Tehran considers the "American regime as an arrogant power, seeking a unipolar world, to which we seriously object. The United States is weak and extremely vulnerable today. US grandeur can be broken, and if this takes place, it will be a service rendered to mankind and even the American people. Our resistance against US hegemony is based on our Islamic beliefs, since in Islam, resistance against injustice is considered a value." President Khatami.

Though it has refused the presence of U.S. troops on its territory, Iran is nevertheless allowing Shiite rebels to be based inside its territory.


"What I told the Americans, and I repeat it: 'Don't expect us to continue to live with the process of restraint. If they (Iraq) hit us, we reserve the right of response." - Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer. Israel continues to state that any attack on Israel will be met with serious retaliation, but Israel has otherwise been content with doing nothing; any intervention by Israel would likely escalate the situation in the Middle-East.


Italy is generally seen as one of the more supportive European countries. It has announced that it is allowing use of its airspace and facilities by the United States during the conflict with Iraq. However, there is widespread outrage and protest against the war and the US policy in general.


Japan is a part of the coalition to disarm Iraq. Japan has deployed naval units to the area but has declined to involve their forces any agressive combat.


"No one has asked us to use our territory. We cannot accept such requests anyway. ... It's clear that if Iraq doesn't implement UN Security Council resolutions the strike will definitely take place, 100 percent." Foreign Minister Marwan Muasher [10 August 2002]
Jordan's King Abdullah has publicly denounced the Bush administration's war threats as "ludicrous" and "a tremendous mistake."

It has been reported privately that officials within the Jordanian government have expessed impatience at the delay in beginning military operations against Iraq. It is also widely believed that Special Forces have and are currently being allowed to stage operations from inside the country.


Despite opposition to a war, the country supports U.S. military actions. There are currently a few hundred US and allied anti-terrorism soldiers near Bishkek under the condition that they are to be used for operations within Afghanistan only.


"While Saddam Hussein continues to keep Kuwaiti prisoners of war, and continues to televise threats against Kuwait, we consider the war against Iraq to have never ended." - Kuwaiti foreign minister, Sheikh Mohammed Sabah Salem al-Sabah.

Despite some moves at reconciliation with Iraq, Kuwait remains a steadfast US ally, and is a key staging ground for US and coalition forces. Kuwait has been on the receiving end of several Iraqi missile attacks since the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom. U.S. Patriot Missile batteries have been deployed to Kuwait and have generally been succesful in defending Kuwait from Iraqi missile attacks.


"Lithuania's possible contribution to the settlement of the Iraq crisis will be not military but humanitarian participation, aimed at dealing with adverse consequences, by sending doctors, servicing staff and other specialists, as well as by participating in international programs aimed at helping the Iraqi people, including food aid." -- President Rolandas Paksas, Letter to President George Bush, March 19, 2003


"We cannot get involved in any war in any way." - President Vicente Fox Mexico is against US led military action, but had quietly agreed to support a UN resolution calling for force against Iraq if non-compliance continued.


Mongolia, on March 18, 2003, announced that Iraq's reluctancy to follow United Nation resolutions is the main reason for the emergence of current military conflict.


NATO, as of January 24, was unable to arrive to a concensus decision on whether to even begin preparing supportive measures for an American-led war against Iraq. France, Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg were among the countries offering the greatest opposition. Eventually NATO did decide to deploy defensive forces to Turkey, a prominent NATO member.

New Zealand

New Zealand stated that its participation in a military venture was contingent on a clear UN Mandate. Had there been a clear UN Mandate, New Zealand would most likely would have limited it's contribution to medical and logistical support, although its participation in a combat role was not been ruled out.


Already extending military-basing privileges to both the United States and Britain, no significant reaction is expected from this country as a result of any military action aginst Iraq.


"It is not a question of removing Saddam Hussein. It's the question of attacking a country, attacking another Muslim country." - President Gen. Pervez Musharraf

It is expected that Pakistan will abstain from a vote on a new Security Council resolution regarding Iraq and will not allow any US units to use it's bases for attacks on Iraq.


The Philippine government government is part of the coalition of the willing and has offered political and moral support. The Philippines are a major player in the war on terrorism. U.S. Special Forces are currently deployed to help the Philipino military deal with terrorism.


Poland has agreed to participate in a military campaign without a UN Mandate. Its President, Aleksander Kwasniewski, has hinted that he already offered military support in case a UN Mandate was not reached. A Polish embassy spokesman in Washington was quoted as saying that "Poland is ready to support the US, not only in political terms but also in logistical and military terms,". It is not immediately clear whether the US has requested Polish military assistance.


Portugal has joined Britain and Spain in supporting the US. Portugal played an intregal role in the emergency Azores Conference.


As home to a number of US facilities, including the al-Udeid Airbase, Qatar has become an US ally in any intervention against Iraq. Although it has historically had good relations with Saddam Hussein, the country was reportedly involved in a recent attempt aimed at convincing Saddam to step down from power.


"Romania has interests and responsibilities in Iraq. We intend to bring our contribution to providing human assistance and to the reconstruction process in this country, including the reconstruction of the Iraqi society, economy and democracy." -- Prime Minister Nastase, March 17, 2003


"Any decision to use force against Iraq would not only complicate an Iraqi settlement but also undermine the situation in the Gulf and the Middle East." - Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov

Putin has publicly protested US actions and has called for an end to the Iraq war. He has also hinted that the US is breaking international law. Russia threatened to join France in vetoing any resolution authorizing war but there were several reports of Russia not being ready to actually use it's veto power. There are also accusations that Russia has recently sold military items Saddam's military.


"They should act when they are right to act because the Security Council can be wrong. It was wrong in Rwanda... You might avoid war and have a worse situation... That is why I was giving a comparison with our case. People avoided a war or doing very much and it ended up with a genocide." -- President Paul Kagame, March 8, 2003

Saudi Arabia

"There is no country I know of supporting the use of force in Iraq at this time. ... The rhetoric about using force is way ahead of the policy." - Adel al-Jubeir, spokesman for Saudi Arabian ruling family
"The problem of Iraq cannot be solved militarily, and interference in Iraqi affairs is harmful to the people of Iraq and countries in the region." Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal
"We have always opposed any attack against an Arab or Muslim country, and that also means Iraq." - Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal

Though the Royal family is concerned about angering its population further because of its close ties to the U.S., its opposition to a US-lead war has been mollified enough that Saudi governmental officials have reportedly given their consent to the use of Prince Sultan Air Base; the extent of usage permitted is still unknown. The country has or most likely will agree for command-and-control, special operations and refuleing missions to be staged out of the country.

South Africa

"We are really appalled by any country, whether it is a superpower or a poor country, that goes outside the United Nations and attacks independent countries." - Nelson Mandela, former president.
"I have not given up trying to persuade the president not to attack Iraq." - Nelson Mandela, former president.

South Africa has stated that they will send weapons experts to Iraq during the post-war rebuilding to help the US disarm Iraq.


Though it will not take part in military operations, opposition to a new conflict is minimal. Though the country derives significant econoic benefits from Iraq and has crticized US war plans, the country was among the unanimous 15 votes behind U.N. Security Council resolution 1441. Recent reports indicate that Syria has been supplying Iraq and that there are radicals in support of Saddam that are attempting to cross the border. During the intial phases of the Northern front a coalition plane accidentally destroyed a vehicle of innocents traveling across a bridge.


Spain announced on January 24, 2003, that it would allow the use of its airbases in support of any military strike on Iraq but will not contribute troops to the war. Spain has recently been a strong supporter of US policy towards Iraq and has lobbied several countries in Europe to join the US. Spain joined Blair and Bush at the Azores Conference.


"We have used every opportunity to tell our friends in the US administration we are opposed to military action against Iraq." - Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit
"We want a military operation against Iraq to be out of the question." - President Bulent Ecevit [February 2002]
An attack on Iraq would have "disastrous economic and human consequences" for the entire region. "We certainly agree with the Jordanian position and share the same concerns. We feel every problem in the region should be settled through peaceful means." Foreign Minister Sukru Sina Gurel

Turkey's strong ties with the U.S. and its need for U.S. backing for IMG assistance did not originally override its population's opposition to a US-lead war and its strong reservations about any postwar instability in Iraq and its consequences on the Kurdish issue. Turkey recieved, after much debate, NATO protective forces in case of an Iraqi counter-attack. After a bill allowing US troops to be stationed in Turkey failed there was a swift attempt to compromise with the US in order to recieve billions in aid. Turkey has recently offered the U.S. access to some of its airbases and airspace, including Incirlik, as well as support for special forces in exchange for an increase in US aid and for Turkey's right to interevene along the Iraq border, most likely in response to Kurdish militants.


Already extending military-basing privileges to both the United States and Britain, no significant reaction has been experienced from this country as a result of military action against Iraq.

United Nations

"It would be unwise to attack Iraq, given the current circumstances of what's happening in the Middle East." - Secretary-General Kofi Annan. The UN security Council has not supported any military disarmament action resolution and this has prompted Bush to label the UN and the Security Council of failing in it's charter and mission. At the same time several members of the UN have denounced the US-led invasion calling it a breach of the UN Charter. The United Nations, regardless of the US-led invasion, wishes to be a major part of humanitarian actions and reconstruction in Iraq.


The country's government has pledged support for a war.


The country will probably allow both the use of its airspace for overflights and of its ports of U.S. naval refueling, although the threat of terrorist attack is known to be high. A lethal attack on the USS Cole was carried out by men believed to be from Yemen.

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One Billion Americans: The Case for Thinking Bigger - by Matthew Yglesias

Page last modified: 05-07-2011 02:25:11 Zulu