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Hi All, FYI This message is being sent on March 19, 2003 at 6:38 pm MET. Will it pass the admin's vetting and if so, when will it finally reach the list ? Will it then still serve its purpose of timely information ? Best andreas -------------------- http://www.globeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20030319.ugeee0319/BNStory/ International THE GLOBE AND MAIL, Wednesday, March 19, 2003 Support for U.S. is tepid at best By MARCUS GEE Globe and Mail Update With its hopes of UN support shattered, the United States is trying hard to show that it still has international support for its impending war in Iraq. Yesterday, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said that 45 countries had lined up behind the United States. "Behind" is the key word. Most members of this coalition of the willing will not be in the front lines. In fact, most will not be taking part in the war at all. That makes this very different from the first Persian Gulf war, when 34 nations took part, including Britain, France and leading Arab states such as Egypt, Syria and Saudi Arabia. In that conflict, 160,000 troops -- one-quarter of the total -- came from countries other than the United States, and other countries paid $53-billion of the $61-billion (U.S.) price tag. In the sequel, by contrast, only two countries are likely to be joining the Americans on the front lines. Britain has sent or committed 45,000 military personnel and Australia 2,000. A handful of others will send token military contingents but will not take part in actual combat. The Czech Republic and Slovakia have sent troops that specialize in chemical warfare decontamination. Poland will deploy 200 troops. Denmark will send a corvette and a submarine. Tiny Latvia may send a suitably miniature contingent. That, so far, is about it. Most of the others on Mr. Powell's list are providing only secondary help, such as the use of their bases or airspace for U.S. forces. Mr. Powell's group of 45 was not, in fact, a list of countries that had agreed to help the United States. It was a list of those countries that support the idea of military action against Mr. Hussein. Some of those on the list, which includes countries as small and poor as Albania, Azerbaijan, Eritrea and Nicaragua, are offering only moral support. Japan, a close U.S. ally, will contribute only to the reconstruction of Iraq, not the defeat of Mr. Hussein. Spain's main contribution is a hospital ship and a backup frigate, a surprisingly weak contribution given that Spain co-sponsored the now-abandoned United Nations resolution that would have authorized force. Remarkably, 15 of the 45 countries were not even identified by Mr. Powell because they preferred not to be named. So, in the end, Washington is going to war with a couple of staunch comrades-in-arms, a few minor helpers, a bunch of cheering onlookers and a group that won't even be publicly associated with the effort. It is hardly the "formidable" coalition that deputy defence secretary Paul Wolfowitz predicted this month. Especially damaging to Washington is the lack of public Arab support. In the last conflict, the United States could argue that its war to remove Mr. Hussein from Kuwait was backed by many of his Arab neighbours. That helped defuse the charge that the UN was an imperialist interloper. This time, Persian Gulf war allies such as Syria and Egypt are openly against the war, and others that helped in 1991 are doing far less this time -- although some may be among the unnamed allies. Saudi Arabia, which was the base for the liberation of Kuwait, wants no part in this war. All it will agree to do is allow U.S. and British planes to keep patrolling the Iraqi "no-fly zones" from its bases. The one bright spot for Washington is the support it is getting in southern and eastern Europe. The conservative governments in Spain and Italy have come out in support of the drive to disarm Iraq by force, while some countries in the former East Bloc support Washington out of gratitude for its stand against the Soviet Union during the Cold War. That support helps offset the opposition of European countries such as France, Germany and Belgium. On the other hand, most of the supportive European governments are defying the antiwar views of their own people. The weakness of the U.S.-led coalition does not matter much to the Pentagon, which can do the job on its own. But with such a thin list of allies, Washington will have a much harder time claiming political legitimacy for the war. firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email firstname.lastname@example.org All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk