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Bristol Herald Courier February 01, 2005

Monday morning answers: What nations are in Iraq?

By Lee Davenport

The administration claims 28 nations on the ground today in Iraq. Can you list them as to military, contractors, otherwise? - M.S., Bristol Tennessee

I can't list contractors. I know of no one keeping an accurate record.

But the nonpartisan Washington think tank GlobalSecurity.org has done a good job of maintaining a tally of foreign troops serving alongside U.S. forces.

You're right that the "coalition of the willing" has dwindled to 28 countries. It could shrink even more by the end of the year. When President Bush first uttered the phrase, he claimed nearly 50 nations as allies.

The United Kingdom, perhaps not surprisingly, has the most troops in Iraq among the non-U.S. allies - nearly 8,800 as of mid-January. South Korea came in second, at 3,500, followed closely by Italy, with about 3,100 troops deployed.

Poland came in fourth, with 2,500 troops, although it has plans to reduce that number to 1,700 this month and could pull out altogether by the end of the year.

Fifth was the Ukraine, with 1,600 troops, but it also could pull out all its troops this year. In sixth place, the Netherlands had 1,345 troops deployed but wants to pull out by the end of March.

Romania came in seventh, with 730, followed by Japan, about 550; Denmark, about 500; Bulgaria, about 485; Australia, about 400; El Salvador, 380; Georgia, 300; Mongolia, 180; Azerbaijan, about 150; Portugal, about 130; Latvia, about 120; the Czech Republic, about 110; Lithuania and Slovakia, 105 each; Albania, about 70; Estonia, 55; Armenia and Tonga, about 45 each; Macedonia, 33; Kazakhstan, about 30; Moldova, 12; and Norway, 10.

The grand total? About 24,000 troops. The U.S. contingent totals 150,000, give or take a few thousand.

The countries most notably absent from the list? Nicaragua, Spain, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, the Philippines, Thailand, New Zealand and Hungary all have pulled out.

Some countries were part of the coalition in the beginning but had next to nothing to offer, save a little moral support. Among them were Iceland, Palau and the Solomon Islands.

Incidentally, I always thought Bush had coined the phrase "coalition of the willing" back in 2003, as I didn't recall having heard it before. But a little research revealed that the credit - the blame? - belongs to Bush's predecessor, President Clinton.

The White House recently dropped the term and accompanying list. Why? The administration won't say, but one would have to guess that the dwindling participation was a factor.


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