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How Many US Allies Have Troops In Iraq?

By September 14, 2007

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Update 2, 6 pm Pacific

President Bush claims that 36 countries "have troops on the ground in Iraq."

First, recognize that most coalition troops "operate in a non-combat capacity, except for the British." Almost all the deaths have been British (more than all the others combined).

Second, understand that without a precise explanation of how they achieved that number, Bush's statement appears quite inflated (by about 70 percent). I can find no definitive list of participating countries at the multi-national task force website (or anywhere else, for that matter -- the Pentagon stopped keeping a list earlier this year and the State Deparment list is woefully out-of-date). Also, see FactCheck.org

I've spent much of today pouring through news reports -- and my research suggests there are only 20 countries with less than 11,000 troops left in the "coalition of the willing."

What follows is the original research. Please give me a link (use the comments feature) if I've missed any:

January 2006
The Christian Science Monitor reported there were only 28 nations supporting the Iraq effort, providing about 20,000 soldiers. Only 10 (about 1/3) countries had more than 150 troops (decreasing number of troops): Britain, South Korea, Italy, Poland, Australia, Georgia, Romania, Japan (humanitarian aid), Denmark and el Salvador.

In July 2006, Japan completed the withdrawl its troops; Italy the end of 2006; Denmark, August 2007.

August 2006
According to GlobalSecurity.org, there were only 21 nations contributing armed forces to the Coalition in Iraq. They were (alphabetical) Albania, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Mongolia, Poland, Romania, South Korea, and the United Kingdom.

February 2007
There were about 15,000 coalition troops. The biggies: Britain (7,100 troops), South Korea (2,300), Poland (900), Australia (800) and Georgia (800, pushing for NATO membership), and Romania (600). South Korea later cut theirs in half and plan to withdraw all by year's end. Britain, too, is bringing soldiers home.

Those states providing at least 100 soldiers included Albania, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Mongolia, el Salvador. The Council on Foreign Relations says 25 countries, but it doesn't explain what the other four are. [I'm guessing they have included Denmark, Japan, Singaore and Ukraine -- a March report from the Department of State.]

Today, Brookings pegs the number of coalition troops at less than 12,000.

My research: 20 known countries, fewer than 11,000 troops

Compare: August 2007, the US had between 155,000 and 157,000 US soldiers in Iraq.

Originally posted 14 Sept 2007 at 03.55; updated at 18.02


September 14, 2007 at 2:44 pm
(1) Mercedes says:

When I heard Bush say that last night in his speech, I was racking my brain, trying to figure out who the heck those 36 countries were that were helping us. The only ones I could remember were Britain and Australia. Why would he say such a thing in a speech that he must have rehearsed a dozen times? Who was the speech writer? Where did Bush get these numbers? Maybe he’s pulling names of countries out of a hat?

September 14, 2007 at 3:26 pm
(2) uspolitics says:

Good questions, Mercedes.

There were, at one time, 38 other countries involved in Iraq — but there have been only 20-something for some time.

Evidence that the hand of Rove is missing?

September 14, 2007 at 3:35 pm
(3) Mercedes says:


The whole point is so misleading; just like the “drawdown” of the troops that were scheduled to come home before Gen. Patreus’ testimony. Bush is playing “musical chairs” with the troop numbers and he’s over-emphasizing any kind of success we’ve made in Iraq.

I wonder why he doesn’t use the term “Victory in Iraq” anymore–probably because he’s known since the beginning of his war that there can be no victory.

No matter which president stops this war in the future, to me and my family, this war will always be “Bush’s Chosen Invasion of Iraq”; and that’s why he will be known in the History books as the WORST president in US History.

September 14, 2007 at 5:54 pm
(4) Gwen says:

I agree with mercedes. and i too was confused by his speech. and btw he said something about us citizens thinking his “iraq strategy was a failure” and i think he knows its not working-whatever hes trying. but anyways, hes making it sound like any us “success” in iraq is a BIG deal.

September 14, 2007 at 6:04 pm
(5) uspolitics says:

Mercedes — look for a new post that documents the fact that the drawdown was inevitable.

Gwen, unfortunately, to use the word “success” he has to redefine what he means by the word. Just look at his January speech on the surge, where he lays out the goals.

September 18, 2007 at 6:28 am
(6) Alen says:

Bush is a huge failure with a naive support system of seniors around the US. He’s pumped so much “war on terror” propaganda that people think that everyones out to get us. I cant believe that I actually voted for that jackass.

September 22, 2007 at 3:04 pm
(7) uspolitics says:

Hi, Allen … well, I voted for Reagan … the first time.

September 25, 2007 at 4:01 am
(8) anna says:

…if you had a child being bullied in school would you want him to defend himself? On a more serious level, do you want to hide in a corner while you watch terrorists fly airplanes into our buildings killing our innocent countrymen/women/children? Don’t forget that Iraq willingly gave shelter and support to these terrorists. No one likes war but its inevitable as long as we have “bullies”.

September 25, 2007 at 12:59 pm
(9) uspolitics says:

Hi, Annna:

The rationale for war is a separate discussion from how many allies are working with the US in Iraq and President Bush’s misstatement.

Iraq had nothing to do with 9-11, despite your implication. And the US is the bully in this instance — our military spending is almost equal to that of the rest of the world put together. I’d argue that this fact is a far more likely cause of wars than “bullies” as bullies without teeth merely make noise.

January 11, 2008 at 8:07 pm
(10) Richard says:

Hi, uspolitics:
It seems to me that people have a short term memory! How convenient! We were being attacked all over the world not just New York. Our embassies were under siege in countries in Africa(Muslim terrorists), our Navy was attacked by Muslim terrorist. Just to name a few, we as a nation have been under attack by Muslim terrorist since the late 1970′s on. President Carter did nothing, President Clinton did even less. The Democrats ignored the problem and Republicans had to clean up the mess. Was everything done right, of course not! But it is better then buring your head in the sand, saying its not true or isn’t happening. Which is all Democrats have ever done. Dem’s started the Vietnam war illegally and the created this terrorist problem by their inability to act on any military threat to the US whether by terrorists or a rogue state. Historically Democrats have always acted to late and Republicans clean up the mess. Most of the time to their own party’s detriment. While Dem’s do nothing! As usual!

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