May 31, 2006

Coalition in Iraq continues to dwindle:
In the months after the March 2003 invasion, the multinational force peaked at about 300,000 soldiers from 38 nations, including 250,000 U.S. troops. But the coalition has shrunk steadily ever since, with Spain and Ukraine among the larger contributors to pull out.

The latest blow to the current 26-nation coalition is Italy's decision to pull its remaining 2,600 troops out by the end of the year...

South Korea, the third-largest contributor of forces, began bringing troops home this week as part of a plan to withdraw about 1,000 of its 3,200 soldiers from northern Iraq by year's end.

Other coalition members are thinking about drawing down their forces.

Lawmakers in Denmark, which has 530 personnel in Iraq, approved a government plan Tuesday to cut the contingent by 80 troops. They also extended the mission to June 30, 2007.

Japan has about 600 non-combat troops doing humanitarian work in southern Iraq, and says it won't decide whether to withdraw them until Baghdad appoints new defense and interior ministers. There has been speculation the Japanese force will be withdrawn this year.

And in Poland, the prime minister said this month that his government was weighing whether to keep troops in Iraq beyond the end of 2006. Poland has 900 troops in central Iraq, where it leads an international force.
Australia, you will notice, does not even rate a mention.


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