The occupation forces in Iraq


Labour MP, Paul Flynn, asked the following question in the House of Commons recently:


“To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what countries have promised to provide troops to the coalition force in Iraq; how many were originally promised; and how many are deployed in Iraq from each country.”


He received the following written reply from Foreign Office Minister, Bill Rammell, on 15 September 2003:


”In addition to 11,000 UK and 140,000 US forces, over 30 countries are committed to join the Coalition in Iraq. The following countries are already deployed; Italy (3,000), Netherlands (1,100), Denmark (420), Lithuania (88), Czech Republic (330), Romania (510), Norway (140), Bulgaria (480), Dominican Republic (300), Hungary (300), Mongolia (250), Poland (2,300), Slovakia (120), Spain (1,250), Thailand (26), Ukraine, (1,800), Albania (70), Kazakhstan (25), Uzbekistan (135), Georgia (69), Macedonia (25), Azerbaijan (150), Moldova (42), Estonia (43), Latvia (142), Honduras (366), El Salvador (415), Nicaragua (111), South Korea (675) and the Philippines (55).


“Portugal will send 130 military police and New Zealand 44 engineers (for humanitarian and reconstruction assistance) later this month to assist the UK area. Tonga are also expected to deploy troops and Thailand and Denmark are committed to send further forces at a later date.”


These states are nearly all members of the “coalition of the willing”, who supported the US/UK attack on Iraq.  Despite the best efforts of the US/UK, opponents of the invasion are, broadly speaking, not supplying occupation forces.


The following 49 states are part of the “coalition of the willing”, according to the White House website:


Afghanistan, Albania, Angola, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Colombia, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Georgia, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Mongolia, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Palau, Panama, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Rwanda, Singapore, Slovakia, Solomon Islands, South Korea, Spain, Tonga, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Uzbekistan


A state didn’t need to assist the US/UK in any way in their invasion in order to get on the list.  All they had to do was say Yes, when the US Government asked if they wanted to be on the list. 


The degree to which these forces are being paid for in cash or in kind by the US (and possibly the UK) is not clear.  It was reported on CBS television that the US is paying both expenses and salaries for the Kazak contingent, but that will hardly break the US Treasury since there are only 25 in it.


Senator Edward Kennedy thinks that the US is paying out a fortune to get foreign troops for Iraq.  The Washington Post reported on 19 September 2003:


“Kennedy said a recent report by the Congressional Budget Office showed that only about $2.5 billion of the $4 billion being spent monthly on the war can be accounted for by the administration. ‘My belief is this money is being shuffled all around to these political leaders in all parts of the world, bribing them to send in troops’, he said.


That seems farfetched, but maybe there’s some truth in it.



Labour & Trade Union Review

October 2003