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THE WORLD | SADDAM HUSSEIN IN CAPTIVITY

Coalition Excludes Many Countries Aiding Iraq

December 16, 2003|From a Times Staff Writer

WASHINGTON — President Bush said Monday that more than 60 nations had joined the U.S.-led coalition to rebuild Iraq.

"So there is international support," he told a news conference.

In fact, the president may have undercounted the countries that are supporting the U.S. effort because of the way he has chosen to define membership in the coalition.

Bush's list of allies includes Micronesia, Palau and Tonga, island nations in the Pacific that provided moral support when the United States went to war last spring but have not sent troops or money.

But the list does not include Canada, which sent warships to the Persian Gulf to back up the U.S. war effort and has pledged more than $244 million in aid, or Germany, which has promised more than $27 million to the new Iraqi government.

The reason? Canada and Germany publicly opposed the invasion. Membership in the coalition is reserved for countries that "wanted to stand up and be counted" in favor of the war, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said.

Thirty-two countries have sent or pledged military personnel to assist the United States in Iraq, from Britain (about 11,000 troops) to Macedonia (28) and Kazakhstan (27).

An additional 29 countries supported the war effort in other ways, from Micronesia and Tonga to Saudi Arabia (which allowed the U.S. Air Force to use a command post near Riyadh) and Turkey (which did not allow the Army to cross its territory but later offered to send troops). As a result, they are officially "coalition members," on the list of countries allowed to bid for U.S. reconstruction contracts.

At least 10 more countries and the European Union have promised reconstruction aid to Iraq, but they don't count as coalition members because they didn't support the war. They include Belgium, Canada, China, Finland, Germany, Pakistan, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland and Taiwan.

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