Iraq Coalition

Forget Poland
Iraq Coalition

Daily Reality Check writes, "In one of Bush's (many) moments of frustration during last Thursday's debate, he chastised John Kerry about understating the international effort in Iraq: 'Well, actually you forgot Poland,' he snorted. Not only did this comment make the president look unsettled and nitpicky, it also underscored his detachment from the realities of the situation in Iraq - today Poland announced plans to withdraw its troops from the region. Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski - who earlier in the year said that he felt he'd been misled about Iraq's WMD - revealed a timetable for his troops' departure today - even while two car bombs ripped apart central Baghdad, killing 21 and wounding 96 near the 'Green Zone.' Kwasniewski said Polish forces will begin to leave Iraq after the New Year, and might be completely gone by the end of 2005. Now even President Bush's strongest symbolic allies have had enough."

US tactics 'heavy handed' says Straw memo
Iraq Coalition

THE FIRST cracks in Britains coalition with the United States over the occupation of Iraq were exposed last night by a leaked government memo which revealed deep misgivings about America's "heavy-handed" tactics in the war-torn country. The damning document, produced by a team working for Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, disclosed private reservations within Tony Blairs administration about Washington's approach to the post-war occupation. The detailed memo, sent to senior ministers and top officials last week as a "progress report" on the occupation, stressed the need for the UK government to press the Americans to soften their approach and avoid aggressive responses "which would jeopardise our objectives".

Scapegoat for Iraq
Iraq Coalition

Ha'aretz: "Israel is trying to distance itself from the war in Iraq, as if events there did not concern it... At the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem, there is concern about the strengthening of the opinion that America got itself into the mud only to help Israel in its endless war against the Arabs. They are thinking about a quiet diplomatic effort to blur the connection between Iraq and Israel... The Israeli leadership was very enthusiastic about the striking of the American blow on an Arab state... Sharon even gave backing to the mistaken American and British intelligence assessments about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq...But from the moment the wheel turned, and Iraq became a second Vietnam - a war without reason or purpose - the inevitable fallout from America's weakness has landed on Israel, its satellite in the region."

Prodi pledges Italian withdrawal from Iraq
Iraq Coalition

"In a sign that he has more than one eye on Italian domestic politics, European Commission President Romano Prodi has pledged to withdraw Italian troops from Iraq if his centre-left coalition is elected. In a letter to Italian daily Corriere della Sera, Mr Prodi wrote, 'In its current form, the occupation [of Iraq] is the pursuit of an unjustified and illegitimate war which is visibly not succeeding in restoring peace and security in Iraq'. He pledged to withdraw the 3,000 Italian troops from Iraq if his centre-left coalition defeats Silvio Berlusconi's governing party in the 2006 elections."

Bush Pleads To Keep U.S.-Led Coalition Together in Iraq
Iraq Coalition

"Bush urged wavering members of the U.S.-led coalition Tuesday to keep their troops in Iraq... As the White House downplayed suggestions that its coalition was beginning to fray, Bush lobbied the Dutch prime minister on the issue but won no commitment that 1,300 troops from the Netherlands would remain in Iraq beyond June. At the same time, Honduran officials said Tuesday they would pull their 370 troops out of Iraq during the summer and would extend their mission ' if the United Nations asks.'"