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SHOWDOWN WITH IRAQ

Bush's Coalition of War Partners Is a Short List

Only Britain, Australia and Poland have offered combat troops.

March 18, 2003|Edwin Chen | Times Staff Writer

WASHINGTON — When President Bush said Monday that a broad coalition is ready to wage war on Iraq, he provided no specifics. But if he had, it would not have taken him long to list America's partners.

The roster of countries that have committed combat troops to the effort all but stops after Britain, Australia and Poland.

Some other countries have vowed cooperation and other support such as allowing military personnel to be based on their soil or overflight rights for U.S. aircraft.

The Bush administration has been reluctant to disclose the names of such countries. And a White House official explained after the president's speech that it was no accident that he didn't get into the details.

"There are some [countries] we can talk about, but some we can't," the official said. "Some are doing things we don't want to talk about."

An estimated 40,000 British troops already are in the Persian Gulf region, with more possibly on the way. Australia has sent a 2,000-strong force, including elite troops, fighter jets and warships.

Poland on Monday authorized the deployment of up to 200 soldiers to support the war.

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