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[casi] U.S. Asks Allies for Contributions to an Iraq War

U.S. Asks Allies for Contributions to an Iraq War
Wed Nov 20, 3:06 PM ET  Add Top Stories - Reuters to My Yahoo!

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States is asking about 50 countries about
what they might contribute -- from combat troops to reconstruction aid --
during and after a possible war with Iraq, U.S. officials said on Wednesday.

The effort, conducted by U.S. ambassadors, appears designed as much to keep
up pressure on Iraq to cooperate with U.N. weapons inspectors and end its
suspected weapons of mass destruction programs as to seek practical help in
the event of a war.

President Bush (news - web sites) has repeatedly threatened to lead a
coalition -- with or without U.N. support -- to disarm Iraq if it fails to
cooperate with the U.N. inspectors, who are preparing to resume scouring
Iraq for chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programs after a four-year

"If conflict were to become necessary, we'd like to know your ideas, your
thoughts, on what you might be able to contribute," said one U.S. official
describing what the State Department asked U.S. ambassadors to find out.

The official, who asked not to be identified, said the U.S. request included
"combat forces, logistics, humanitarian aid and rebuilding (Iraq) afterward

U.S. officials declined to name which nations were being approached, but one
said he believed 52 were on the list. The Canadian government said the
United States had sounded it out on the issue last week.

Another U.S. official said the talks were meant to show that the United
States was serious about enforcing the U.N. resolution giving Iraq one last
chance to disarm, although he noted Bush has repeatedly said a war would be
his last resort.

"To get Saddam to respond positively to the resolution you've got to make it
very clear that we are very serious about this," said the official. "No one
should doubt our seriousness and that's reflected in having these kinds of

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Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed

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