[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated:  Tuesday, 18 March, 2003, 21:38 GMT
US names 'coalition of the willing'

By Steve Schifferes
BBC News Online in Washington

Colin Powell
Powell: Broad-based coalition
The US has named 30 countries which are prepared to be publicly associated with the US action against Iraq.

The state department says more countries have now announced concrete support for a possible US invasion of Iraq than during the first Gulf War.

And it says that there are an additional 15 countries which are providing assistance, such as over-flight rights, but which do not want to declare support.

We now have a coalition of the willing that includes some 30 nations
US Secretary of State Colin Powell
"I hope that they will all be able to do everything that is possible within their means to support the coalition militarily, diplomatically, politically and economically," US Secretary of State Colin Powell said.

The list includes countries which are providing troops, over-flight or basing rights, logistical support or assistance with reconstruction efforts.

But the state department admits that only a few of these countries are providing any major military presence in the Gulf, notably Britain and Australia.

Arab absence

And the list is most extraordinary for the countries that are left off - which include all of the Arab states, including those countries where US troops are massing for an invasion, like Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain.

With feelings running high in the Arab world against the possible invasion, presumably these countries felt it wise not to be publicly identified with the US action.

Nor is the main US ally in the Middle East, Israel, mentioned, although it is expected to provide at least air rights for US aircraft to strike Iraq.

And traditional US Arab allies, like Egypt and Saudi Arabia, clearly did not want to associate themselves with military action against Saddam Hussein.

Range of support

State department spokesman Richard Boucher explained that the list included some countries, like Japan, which are only prepared to provide post-conflict financial support for the reconstruction of Iraq.

And it includes Turkey, which is still negotiating the extent of its involvement in any war.

Many of the countries on the list are from Eastern Europe, where countries like Romania are providing basing rights, while Poland has offered 200 troops and the Czech Republic is sending a chemical-biological warfare support unit.

It was not clear what support countries like Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Bulgaria were providing to the US coalition, but many are seeking US financial or military support through Nato.

And the US had promises of support from some of the countries which are already involved in the war on terrorism, including Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Georgia, and the Philippines.

US image plummets

Meanwhile, a new poll by the Washington-based Pew Research Center indicates that the number of Europeans with a favourable image of the US has plummeted, even among the coalition of the willing.

In Italy, only 34% view the US positively, compared to 70% in 2002.

In Spain, only 14% have a favourable image.

That may explain why Italy and Spain, although strong supporters of diplomacy, are not sending troops to the Gulf.

And even in Eastern Europe, support for the US has dropped from 80% to 50% in Poland.

No-show neighbours

Notable for their absence from the state department list were a number of members of the Nato alliance, including Canada, Belgium, and Norway, as well as France and Germany.

And the US was surprisingly unsuccessful in gaining any allies in its traditional backyard of Latin America.

Only El Salvador, Nicaragua and Colombia - where the US is funding a huge anti-drugs war - were prepared to be identified with the US coalition.

The larger South American nations, like Argentina and Brazil, have followed the example of Mexico and Chile, who failed to back the US attempt to gain a second UN resolution.

And the only two African countries which are on the list, Ethiopia and Eritrea, are bitter rivals who are both seeking US support in a boundary dispute.

Full list of coalition countries:

Afghanistan, Albania, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Colombia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Georgia, Hungary, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, the Philippines, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom and Uzbekistan.

Source: US State Department

Uneasy Cairo awaits war
18 Mar 03 |  Middle East
Mexico's Iraq vote dilemma
02 Mar 03 |  Americas
Romania expels Iraqi diplomats
10 Mar 03 |  Middle East

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific