a bit about the Iraq coalition. President Bush last night thanked
"the 36 nations who have troops on the ground in Iraq." We count 25 of them (including, um, us
) as part of Multinational Force-Iraq, most of whom have a tiny presence "on the ground"; six nations that have a non-MNF-I presence as part of a Nato mission that mostly takes place outside of Iraq; and then brave Fiji, which helps protect the United Nations mission. (Also mostly outside Iraq.)
Multinational Forces-Iraq lists 25 members
of the coalition. (We list them after the jump.) Nearly all of them have minuscule numbers of troops devoted to the Iraq mission, for a total of only 11,732 . The most substantial non-U.S. troop contribution, from the UK, pulled back from Basra
earlier this month to assume the non-combat "overwatch" role that General Petraeus believes that the U.S. can adopt at some as-yet-undefined point in the (far) future. Others are pulling out: the Danes, proud contributors of 470 troops in Iraq, have said they would withdraw in August
, but that seems not to have happened yet. South Korea is expected to get out at the end of the year. Famous ex-members of the Coalition include Singapore, Honduras, the Netherlands, Ukraine and the Philippines, as well as major partners like Spain and Italy.
But wait! Italy and the Netherlands are listed on the State Department's latest weekly Iraq status report
(pdf) as being part of the Nato contribution to Iraq. What
In 2004, Nato agreed to devote resources to helping train Iraqi security forces, mostly outside Iraq. As Nato's website emphasizes, its troop contribution is for "training, equipping and technical assistance -- not combat." Italy and the Netherlands have signed on for that mission, as have Iceland, Slovenia, Turkey and Portugal. (Other Nato countries that are part of MNF-I also assist in the training mission.)
Then there's Fiji, which devotes 150 troops to helping secure the United Nations' assistance mission in Iraq -- a job mostly done from outside of the country, but with a new mandate approved by the Security Council last month, it may soon have a more substantial presence inside Iraq. Go Fijans!
Still no word on the final mystery three.
The Coalition of the Willing:
* Bosnia and Herzegovina
* Czech Republic
* El Salvador
* South Korea
* United Kingdom