"Coalition of the Willing" Already Larger than the 1991 Gulf War Coalition

Report Middle East

"Coalition of the Willing" Already Larger than the 1991 Gulf War Coalition

March 19, 2003 7 min read

Authors: Carrie Satterlee and Paolo Pasicolan

Just one day after announcing a 48-hour ultimatum for Saddam Hussein to leave Iraq, President Bush once again has been criticized for "unilateralism." On the contrary, a large, and growing, number of countries have decided to join a "coalition of the willing" to liberate Iraq.


Secretary of State Colin Powell on Tuesday announced that, "We now have a Coalition of the Willing that includes some 30 nations who publicly said they could be included in such a listing," Powell said, "and there are 15 other nations, for one reason or another, who do not wish to be publicly named but will be supporting the coalition."1


Furthermore, several other countries not mentioned by Sec. Powell have publicly offered either political or military support for the war (see list).


To date, there are 54 countries that have joined the Coalition of the Willing--not including Canada, Germany, and France, which have recently offered conditional support. This does not include all of the 15 nations that have offered quiet support. The number of nations to date already eclipses the 1991 Gulf War coalition, which had 38 countries. 2


The Coalition of the Willing


Afghanistan:  Afghanistan has pledged its support for the U.S. backed effort to disarm Iraq. May open airspace to U.S. and allied military flights.                              

Albania: Offered to send troops. Approved U.S. use of airspace and bases. 


Australia: Sent 2,000-strong force of elite SAS troops, fighter jets and warships to the Gulf. 


Bahrain: Headquarters of the U.S. Fifth Fleet. 

Bulgaria: Offered use of airspace, base and refueling for U.S. warplanes; sent 150 non-combat troops specializing in chemical and biological warfare decontamination. 

Canada:* Sent military planners to join U.S. counterparts at their command post in Qatar. A destroyer and two frigates sent to the region could protect U.S. ships. 


Croatia: Airspace and airports open to civilian transport planes from the coalition. 

Czech Republic: Sent non-combat troops specializing in chemical warfare decontamination in response to U.S. request. 

Denmark: The government decided to take part in the military action with submarine, surface ships, and a medical team comprised of 70 elite Jaegerkorps soldiers. 

Dominican Republic:* 

El Salvador* 



Ethiopia:  Ethiopia has publicly pledged its support for the U.S. backed effort to disarm Iraq. 

Georgia:  Georgia has expressed strong support for the U.S. attack on Iraq, and has offered both its airspace and military bases to support the campaign.3  

Greece: U.S. naval base in Crete serves U.S. sixth fleet and supports Navy and Air Force intelligence-gathering planes. 


Hungary: Hosts a U.S. base where Iraqi exiles are trained for possible post-war administrative roles. NATO can use the country's roads, railways and airspace to carry military support for Turkey's defense. May open airspace for U.S. military flights. 

Iceland: *

Italy: Offered logistical help and use of military bases and ports under longstanding NATO commitments. 

Japan: Japan expressed unequivocal support for U.S. plans to forcibly disarm Iraq. Will provide post-conflict assistance.   

Jordan: Opened its airspace to coalition planes; hosts U.S. troops carrying out search and rescue operations in western Iraq and manning a Patriot anti-missile defense system. 

Kuwait: Hosts coalition forces massed for an invasion. 

Latvia: Government has decided to ask parliament to authorize the deployment of a small number of troops. 

Lithuania: Authorized use of airspace for U.S. backed mission to disarm Iraq.  


Marshall Islands:*



Netherlands:  A few hundred Dutch troops are stationed in Turkey to operate three Patriot missile defense systems, allowing movement of U.S. troops and supplies from Germany through the Netherlands en route to the Persian Gulf.   


Norway:  Offered to send 10,000 chemical warfare suits to Turkey. 

Philippines: The Philippine National Security Council offered political support for a U.S. led war to disarm Iraq.  

Poland: To deploy up to 200 troops in the Gulf region, which will perform an unspecified non-combat role, supporting the U.S.-led offensive. A few dozen Grom elite commando troops and transport ship already stationed in the Gulf area, as part of the Afghanistan campaign, could be enlisted. 

Portugal: Made available NATO air bases and an air base in the Azores.  

Qatar: Hosts a mobile HQ for U.S. Central Command; allowed Washington to expand an airfield to handle more combat jets. 

Romania: Airspace and a base open to U.S. warplanes; sent non-combat specialists in chemical decontamination, medics, engineers and military police in response to a U.S. request. Will make available Black Sea air and naval bases. 


Saudi Arabia: U.S. and British planes use its Prince Sultan Air Base to enforce a "no-fly zone" over southern Iraq. 


Slovakia: Sent non-combat troops specializing in chemical warfare decontamination in response to a U.S. request. Has approved U.S. flyovers and use of its bases. 

Slovenia: Signed the Vilnius 10 declaration supporting the United States

Solomon Islands:

South Korea: Seoul will dispatch some 500 army engineers to support a U.S. led war on Iraq, in addition to post-war assistance.   

Spain: Strongest ally of the United States and Britain. Promised use of its NATO bases for a strike on Iraq. Spain will send a medical support vessel equipped with nuclear, biological and chemical treatment facilities. A frigate and 900 troops will accompany the support vessel in the event of a conflict.

Taiwan: Taipei opened its airspace to U.S. military aircraft.   

Turkey: Hosts U.S. planes enforcing "no-fly" zone in northern Iraq. Parliament has rejected a resolution to allow use of airspace and deployment of American troops for an attack on Iraq but the cabinet was to debate the resolution again on Tuesday with a possible parliamentary vote on Wednesday. (Update: 3/19  Turkey has granted the United States the use of its airspace.)


Ukraine: Agreed to U.S. request that it send chemical warfare and nuclear decontamination experts 

United Arab Emirates: Base for U.S. reconnaissance aircraft and refueling; host to an estimated 3,000 western troops. Has pledged 4,000 troops supported by Apache attack helicopters, Leclerc tanks, BMP3 amphibious armored vehicles, a missile boat and a frigate to defend Kuwait in case of war in Iraq.    

United Kingdom: Washington's chief ally on Iraq has sent or committed 45,000 military personnel, planes and warships. 



Countries offering Conditional Support
France: Paris says it may help U.S. if Iraq uses biological or chemical weapons 

Germany: Despite opposition to a war on Iraq, Germany has chemical warfare decontamination specialists in Kuwait. Germany has also promises unhindered use of its airspace and U.S. and British bases, and will provide Turkey with AWACS and Patriot anti-missile rockets for protection.

Oman: Base for U.S. planes used in Afghanistan, but says will play no role in a war against Iraq. Oman has sent one battalion under Gulf Cooperation Council mission to defend Kuwait. 


*Countries mentioned by Secretary of State Colin Powell

Additional source: http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L1846535

Additional source: "Military Support Offered for Iraq War", Associate Press Online, February 27, 2003. 

This page will be continuously updated.

1) http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/world/iraq/20030318-1144-powell.html

2) Department of Defense, Conduct of the Persian Gulf Conflict, An Interim Report to Congress, July 1991.

3)  "Shevardnadze Supports U.S. Attack on Iraq", Associated Press Online, March 20, 2003. 


Carrie Satterlee

Health Policy Fellow

Paolo Pasicolan

Policy Analyst