Backgrounder Update #154
February 4, 1991
(Archived document, may contain errors)
KEEPING AN EYE ON THE ALLIES
(Updating Backgrounder No. 794, "Five Military Lessons of the Iraq Crisis," October 5, 1990.) In the battle to drive Saddam Hussein from Kuwait, most of the lives lost and dollars spent will be American. For all the talk of allies and of coalition, it is America that is carrying almost all of the burden and suffering all of the pain. The scorecard of "allied" contributions so far: Britain. Britain alone among America's NATO allies is providing respectable military help in the Gulf. Britain has sent 40,000 military personnel to the area: 33,000 soldiers, 4,000 airmen, and 3,000 sailors. Along with them are 160 tanks, 20 helicopters, 90 fighter and support aircraft (including top- of-the-line Tomado fighter bombers), five artillery battalions, and sixteen ships. British ground for- ces serve in front line infantry units. These British forces have been placed openly under U.S. opera- tional command. British pilots have flown dangerous low-level bombing runs against Iraq, with a loss of five planes. Egypt. The second largest allied Arab force in the Gulf, just behind Saudi Arabia, comes from Egypt. Egypt has deployed some 30,000 troops in Saudi Arabia, including paratroopers and com- mandos, accompanied by 400 tanks. Over 2,000 Egyptian troops are stationed in the United Arab Emirates and 7,000 more troops are expected to be sent to the region. Egyptian forces are expected to be in the thick of the fighting in the event of a major ground war. France. Despite rogue diplomatic efforts lasting from the start of Operation Desert Shield to the beginning of Operation Desert Storm, France ultimately joined the multinational war effort. The French governnient- has made a point, however, of insisting that its forces be placed under U.S. operational command only in special circumstances. French forces deployed in and around the Gulf total 19,000 men in Saudi Arabia, Djibouti, and the United Arab Emirates. Ground Forces include a regiment of 40 AMX-30 heavy tanks - a match for Saddam's Soviet-supplied T-72s - 125 helicop- ters, and various mechanized, engineering, supply, and transportation units. Naval forces helping impose the embargo on Iraq include five ships and two maritime patrol aircraft. The French also have an aircraft carrier in readiness at Toulon, in southern France. French Air Forces in the Gulf in- clude 42 fighter and attack aircraft, which have mounted attacks in Kuwait and Iraq. Germany. Germany's military contribution to the multinational effort has been limited to a token contingent. of eighteen third-string Alpha jet aircraft deployed in Turkey, and one destroyer and a minesweeping force in the eastern Mediterranean. Germany has pledged $9 billion for allied war expenses, at least $5.5 billion of which will be paid directly to the U.S. Treasury. Of the $9 billion, only $1.7 billion has been spent so far. Germany also has provided military equipment to American and other allied forces in the region including Fox chemical detecting reconnaissance vehicles, am- munition, and surplus East German Army engineering equipment such as trench diggers. Germany upped its contribution from about $3.5 billion to $9 billion only last week, and only after heavy U.S.
and allied pressure. German companies, including Havert and Karl Kolb Co. were largely respon- sible for developing Iraq's missile and poison gas capabilities. Japan. Japan, which imports 65 percent of its oil from the Persian Gulf, has pledged a total of $13 billion to the allied effort -but only after much U.S. diplomatic arm-twisting. Of the $13 billion, less than $2 billion has been spent. Most of it has been economic assistance to front line countries including Egypt, Jordan, and Turkey. Some money was spent on non-combat items for coalition for- ces including four wheel drive vehicles, computers, refrigerated trucks, and desalinization equip- ment. Japan's Prime MinisteTToshiki Kaifu has faced strong opposition to aid for the Gulf effort, particularly any military assistance, from the opposition Japan Socialist Party, and from within his own Uberal Democratic Party. Kuwait. The Kuwaiti government obviously has supplied military forces and money to support the allied effort to liberate its country. Its military contribution includes about 7,000 ground troops (the remnants of a preminvasion army of only 13,000) and those Kuwaiti Air Force fighters that managed to escape the Iraqi invasion. Roughly 300 Kuwaiti volunteers now are serving with U.S. forces in Saudi Arabia. Kuwaiti pilots have flown missions over occupied Kuwait, with a loss of one A-4 Ayhawk. Kuwait already has paid $5 billion to the U.S. for Operation Desert Shield and just pledged an additional $13.5 billion. Saudi Arabia. Thus far $14 billion has been pledged by the Saudis, or about one year's worth of profits from the increased oil prices resulting from the Gulf crisis. Of the approximately $7 billion spent so far, $760 million has gone directly to the U.S. Treasury, and the rest to Arab states engaged in the multinational effort. Saudi Arabia also is providing food, fuel, water, and transportation for foreign troops stationed on its soil. Saudi ground, sea, and air forces are participating actively in the war. These include 32,000 ground troops, naval ships patrolling in the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea, and eight squadrons of aircraft with at least 62 modem fighters, including U.S. F-15 Eagles. Turkey. Within days after Saddam's forces crossed the Kuwaiti border, Turkey agreed to shut Iraqi oil pipelines running through Turkey to the Mediterranean Sea port of Dortyol. This cost Turkey an estimated $5.5 billion per year in lost oil transport payments and lost trade, some of which already has been offset by donations from Japan, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia. Turkey deploys 100,000 troops along its border with Iraq, tying down an estimated 120,000 Iraqi forces on the other side. Turkey says that its troops will be used in self defense only. Turkey is allowing the U.S. to use the Turkish NATO airbase at Incirlik and some Turkish airbases as staging areas for U.S. bombing runs into Iraq. Turkey was the victim of terrorist attacks against U.S. and Saudi offices in the cities of Adana, Ankara, and Istanbul in the last week of January.
With a few notable exceptions, such as the British effort the war in the Gulf has been mainly an American war. Though Germany and Japan have pledged well-publicized sums, they have done so only under strong U.S. diplomatic pressure, and little actually has been paid so far. Arab armies, particularly Kuwaiti and Saudi Air Forces, have performed well, and Egyptian troops are expected to be in the front lines if a ground war is needed to expel Saddam's forces from Kuwait. S61L America's 480,000 troops, 1,800 aircraft, and over 1,000 tanks will bear the brunt of the allied effort to oust Iraqi forces from Kuwait. America's anticipated $28 billion to $86 billion bill dwarfs that of any other ally. And most important, Americans will do most of the dying for the international coali- tion engaged in the battle for Kuwait. The bottom line: while America should consult with its allies, key military and political decisions regarding the war against Iraq should be made in Washington, with America's interests considered first. David A. Silverstein Policy Analyst