Yet another “coalition partner” has announced plans to withdraw from Iraq. According to UPI, the new Labor government in Australia has decided to bring home its 550 soldiers by mid-2008. The announcement was made by Foreign Minister Stephen Smith several days after his visit to Washington, where he met privately with Dick Cheney, Robert Gates, and Condoleezza Rice. Where does that leave the Multinational Force Iraq (aka the Bush administration’s “Coalition of the Willing”)? Well, let’s take a look…
Countries other than Australia to have withdrawn their troops: Slovakia, Lithuania, Italy, Ukraine, Netherlands, Spain, Japan, Thailand, Honduras, Dominican Republic, Hungary, Nicaragua, Singapore, Norway, Portugal, New Zealand, Philippines, Tonga, and Iceland.
Countries so far “staying the course”: United States, United Kingdom**, Poland, South Korea, Romania, El Salvador, Czech Republic, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Denmark, Mongolia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Estonia, Macedonia, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Bulgaria, Armenia, and Latvia.
**It should be noted that the British withdrew from central Basra last year and are now huddled in a secure base outside the city, under regular attack from insurgents. It is widely thought they will withdraw from Iraq sometime during 2008.