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Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Another one bites the dust

The so-called "coalition of the willing" in Iraq continues to lose membership.

The latest casualty is Poland, which announced its forthcoming withdrawal today. From Reuters:
Poland's government decided on Tuesday to withdraw its troops from Iraq at the end of 2005, making official an earlier proposal, Defense Minister Jerzy Szmajdzinski said.

"At the time of the expiry of the Security Council's mandate -- meaning at the end of 2005 -- the operations of the Polish stabilization mission should be finished," Szmajdzinski told a news conference after a cabinet meeting...."We are carrying out an exit strategy from Iraq."
Poland, which has 1700 troops stationed in Iraq, has suffered 17 deaths.

Last month, I think I forgot to note that Italy too is pulling its troops out of Iraq. As reported by the BBC, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi says that the 3000 Italian troops will be home by September.

The Dutch left in mid-March.

I've reported previously about previous similar decisions by the Philippines, Spain, Honduras, and the Ukraine.

All told, 11 states have already pulled out of Iraq and 5 or 6 more have announced their intentions to leave ASAP. As reported by The Times of London, Thailand, Hungary, the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, New Zealand and Norway have also taken out all their troops (most number in the low hundreds).

The original coalition had 30 to 35 participating states, though the White House used to list nearly 50 countries, including Afghanistan and some states without real militaries, like Costa Rica, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Palau, and the Solomon Islands.

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