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U.S.-led coalition against Iraq

The U.S.-led coalition against Iraq is the group of nations which have offered various degrees of support for the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The White House refers to nations as the coalition of the willing, though their definition includes countries which are only offering political support.

The most recent White House count of "willing" nations numbered 49, although a review of public statements made by the governments themselves finds no more than 45.

Table of contents
1 Varying levels of support
2 Pre-invasion support
3 Invasion coalition
4 Nature of support
5 External links and references

Varying levels of support

Analysis of the count reveals the complexities in world diplomacy. Some national governments publicly denounced the invasion plan while at the same time accepting U.S. aid earmarked for the war, or providing to the war effort troops, fueling stations, military support, and/or airspace. Some national governments provided only a semblance of support.

Some nations originally on the White House list disavowed membership in the "coalition". Furthermore, significant opposition to the war exists in segments of the populations and Parliaments in many of the supporting nations. Adding to the complications, the Bush administration claimed to have the support of some 15 nations that wished to remain anonymous. This bloc has been dubbed by some "the shadow coalition" or, sardonically, "the coalition of the unwilling to be named."

Support can be so different in nature, from armed troops to use of airspace and bases, logistic support, political support, to participation in reconstruction efforts, that it appears to some to be difficult to exclude most countries from the official list, except Iraq for obvious reasons (although some might claim some movements inside Iraq will probably also help reconstructing their own country).

After George W. Bush (March 26, 2003) mentioned Warsaw's contribution prominently in a speech, Poland asked that its participation in the coalition not be used for "propaganda purposes."

Pre-invasion support

The signatories to a letter of support for U.S. policy in Iraq before the invasion began (see Iraq disarmament crisis, U.S. plan to invade Iraq) were: Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Palau, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, and the United Kingdom. A majority of the population in most of these countries at the time the letter was signed opposed the U.S. policy. Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Lithuania, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Romania, and Slovenia are members of the Vilnius 10, applying to membership in NATO, and committed to tying their political future to the United States.

The letter notably did not include NATO members France, Germany, or Canada, or permanent Security Council members Russia or People's Republic of China.

Invasion coalition

In the Gulf War of 1991, at least 33 countries sent forces to the campaign against Iraq, and 16 of those provided combat ground forces, including a large number of Arab countries. Countries other than the United States pledged more than $50 billion of the $61 billion cost. Only Cuba, Yemen, Jordan and the Palestinians openly condemned a war that the UN Security Council voted to authorize.

In the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the only fighting forces are from the United States, Britain, Australia, and Poland. Ten other countries are known to have offered small numbers of noncombat forces, mostly either medical teams and specialists in decontamination, making a comparable alliance of about 13 countries. The United States is expected to be responsible for essentially the entire cost of the war, at least $75 billion.

A list of countries among the willing include, accurate as of March 28, 2003, (1991 participants are in italics): Afghanistan, Albania, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain [1], Bulgaria, Colombia, Costa Rica [1], Denmark, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Georgia, United Kingdom, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait [1], Latvia, Lithuania, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Mongolia, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, Palau [1], the Philippines, Poland, Portugal (but parliament may censure the PM), Qatar [1], Romania [1], Rwanda, Slovakia, South Korea (but Parliament won't vote on whether to send troops), Spain, Republic of China (on Taiwan), Turkey, Uganda, the United States, Uzbekistan. Total: 37 confirmed; 10 not confirmed.

Nations unwilling include (1991 participants are in italics): Algeria, Angola, Armenia, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Brazil, Canada (but some Canadian troops on exchange programs are involved)[1], Cape Verde, People's Republic of China, Comoros [1], Croatia (but is providing airspace), Cuba, the Czech Republic (but is supplying anti-chemical specialists), Djibouti [1], Ecuador, Egypt [1], France, Germany (airspace use), Greece (airspace use), Guinea-Bissau, India, Iran, Iraq, Jordan [1], Lebanon [1], Malaysia, Mauritania [1], Morocco [1], Mozambique, Namibia, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, North Korea, Norway (but will provide humanitarian aid), Oman [1], Pakistan, Palestinian Authority [1], Russia, Sao Tome and Principe, Saudi Arabia [1], Slovenia (providing air space), Solomon Islands class="external">[1, Somalia [1], Sri Lanka, Sweden (but will provide humanitarian aid), Switzerland, Sudan [1], Syria [1], Tunisia [1], Ukraine (providing anti-chemical weapon troops to Kuwait), United Arab Emirates [1], the Vatican, Venezuela, Yemen [1], Zimbabwe. Total: 57 confirmed.

Nations declared neutral or with a non-aggressive stance: Ireland (declared neutrality), Singapore (declared itself a member of the 'coalition for the immediate disarmament of Iraq,' not the 'coalition of the willing'), Thailand (declared neutrality) Total: 3 confirmed.

Nations that have not announced a stance or whose intentions are yet unclear (1991 participants are in italics): Andorra, Argentina, Austria, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Benin, Bermuda, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia, Botswana, Brunei, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, Chechnya, Chile, Cyprus, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominica, East Timor, Equatorial Guinea, Fiji, Finland (but see: Anneli Jäätteenmäki), Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, the Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Kenya, Kiribati, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lesotho, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico (flip flopping), Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Myanmar, Nauru, Nepal, Niger, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Republic of the Congo, Saint Kitts, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent, Samoa, San Marino, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, South Africa, Suriname, Swaziland, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Vietnam, Western Sahara, Zambia. Total: 93

Nature of support

The criteria for inclusion in the coalition, as defined by the White House, are very broad, including mere political support.

Combat troops

Note: While the Government of Canada does not support the invasion of Iraq without United Nations approval, Canada has military personnel serving under the U.S. command in Iraq, provides six hi-tech frigate escorts for U.S. & British ships in the Gulf, and numerous other technical services. U.S. Ambassador to Canada, Paul Cellucci, stated that Canada in fact is providing more support that virtually all other members of the "Coalition of the Willing".

Military support (no combat troops)

Chemical, biological, and nuclear specialists


Use of bases and airspace

Airspace use

Political support only

External links and references