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Thursday, June 23, 2005

The 26 other countries contributing forces to Iraq

Notable missing countries: Germany (present in Afghanistan in large numbers), France, New Zealand....

There's a damn good turnout from NATO countries, something you'd never know from reading the crappy International section of the NZ Herald. Australia presently has a very large contingent in Iraq.

Another notable country participating: Japan, in what I think is its first ever non-UN official deployment of ground forces outside Japan since WW2. They're largely engineers, and are being guarded by an Australian battalion.

The contributions from many countries aren't as great as during Gulf War I, but then neither is the contribution from the USA itself.

Chrenkoff: The Willing

Posted by Antarctic Lemur | 6/23/2005 05:58:00 pm


Blogger Ackers1 said...

Australia does not presently have a "very large" comittmeent of troops in Iraq. The number is somewhere between 800 and 900 which is a piss weak number considering our eagerness to be part of this war. Despite Howards early support for the invasion our contribution to the post Sadaam reconstruction has been embarrassingly modest. The all too loyal deputy sherriff I'm sure looks from Washington more like an opportunistic and cynical fair weather friend who urged America into Iraq but has done litttle to help when the going got tough.

I ran this issue past a senior Australian journalist for a major daily not that long ago and this was his response. We have since increased our forces by 450 but still pretty pathetic and hardly punching above our weight as Howard would like us all to think.

"There are 140,000 US forces in Iraq, which of course means, still, casualties every week. Some 900 US troops have died since March 1 last year plus 5300 wounded. It is the casualties that make news in the US, not the poor bloody Iraqi casualies. Our few people in Iraq do not make news, only as a domestic political debate. We have nobody in Iraq actually doing anything in a combat context. Our handful are guards, shuttle pilots on freight, supplies etc, a few trainers, ship's crew at sea. Any stories, if they were "allowed", would merely expose the obvious: that our "forces" are doing bugger all and are, as some of us keep saying, merely there as a political commitment, not a military one. Thus the Defence Dept has a lock on access. We are, militarily, utterly inconsequential. Any press "coverage" of our "commitment" would expose this political embarrassment. I mean, the Govt insists we have to stay there "until the job is done", suggestive, obviously, there is a "job" they're actually doing. What would voters say, however thick they might be, if the TV news kept pointing out they have no real "job" at all, over and above actually "being there".

6/23/2005 06:22:00 pm  
Blogger Antarctic Lemur said...

By my quick calculations, Australia has 2% of its active duty forces in Iraq, while the USA has about 10%.

Therefore its commitment is in fact very large compared to most other nations.

Way to go ackers.

6/23/2005 06:31:00 pm  
Blogger Antarctic Lemur said...

Actually the US figure is lower when you consider they are using National Guard and Reserve units as well. Maybe 8%.

6/23/2005 06:34:00 pm  
Blogger Adolf Fiinkensein said...

ackers1, would that be a senior consistantly anti American anti Howard jounalist for a seriously left leaning daily? Tell me it isn't so.

6/23/2005 06:51:00 pm  
Blogger Ackers1 said...

Obviously he is all of the above though I doubt you could ever call the paper he writes for seriously left wing. No such thing exists in Australia I'm sure.

6/23/2005 07:50:00 pm  
Blogger Adolf Fiinkensein said...

Ackers1 you really beat the band, do you know that?

6/23/2005 08:15:00 pm  
Blogger Berend de Boer said...

AL, see also the VDH piece linked to by NZ Pundit. It explains a lot why Japan is there in big numbers.

6/23/2005 08:34:00 pm  
Blogger Antarctic Lemur said...

ackers, would said Australian journalist perhaps have a personal beef with Chrenkoff?

6/23/2005 08:40:00 pm  
Blogger radar said...

Who's your favorite Russian writer? All are welcome to answer, sorry for going off-topic again.

6/23/2005 08:40:00 pm  
Blogger Ackers1 said...

Anna Akhmatova is mine Roger. i did a pilgrimage to St Petersburg some years ago now and it was largely because I had fallen completely under her spell. If anyone captured the soul of Russia it was Akhmatova (Shostakovich is another of my all time heroes) and I was lucky enough to stay with a Russian family, poor but cultured to whom both were heroes. And no AL I doubt said journalist has any beef with Chrenkoff. He does have a beef with the current political climate in Australia obviously but I don't think Chrenkoff figures large in any real journalists pantheon of influences. He's a Queensland Liberal senator's staffer doing a bit of cheap propaganda work. I'm sure he loves what he is doing but if it hadn't been for the Media Watch exposure no one in Australia would have ever heard of him.

6/23/2005 09:15:00 pm  
Blogger David said...

Ackers1 might think the Aussie troops are doing "no real job". But the evidence shows they're busy securing a small bit of southern Iraq. This includes active patrolling by vehicle and foot, and training local Iraqi forces. Photos of wrecked ASLAVs suggests that there has been some enemy contact. To me this sounds like sensible military activity to protect Iraqi people from foreign irregular forces and the remains of the Baath Party that shitted all over them for 30 years. It's "hearts and minds" stuff.

I think the forces over there at the moment are from just down the road at 1 Brigade. You can see the rest of the brigade out training in the bush on the way to Kakadu.

The situation with the Japanese is, IIRC, a little more complex than "being guarded by" Aussies. The Japanese like to been seen as independent and entirely humanitarian and not in need of guarding at all. It is entirely a coincidence that there are a couple of Australian battle groups in the area that would be able to rescue them if needed.

6/24/2005 12:03:00 am  
Blogger Murray said...

The Japanese are off the reservation.

This is their first "overseas deployment" since WWII because they wern't allowed off the Japanese mainland as a result of their annoying habit of invading people.

I'm sure you heard about it, it made all the big newspapers.

Thats why they have a "self defence force".

However there is one thing that isn't a first. They've be guarded by Aussies before this.

6/24/2005 12:11:00 am  
Blogger Antarctic Lemur said...

Murray: They probably wouldn't want NZers guarding them.

6/24/2005 12:15:00 am  
Blogger Murray said...

Yeah, we killed enough of them the last time we did it in Featherston.

But they forgave us, which was nice of them I supose.

Not sure I'm ready to get over their little escapade through the pacific, but then I'm known for being a tad prickly that way.

Can't say I saw bucket loads of forgiveness the last time I was at Changi or Kranji either

6/24/2005 07:59:00 am  
Blogger Lucia Maria said...

AL & Murray, I feel the same way about the Russians.

Roger, I don't read Russian authors, normally. My only expection will be "A century of violence in Soviet Russia" by Alexander N. Yakovelev, which I've just got and will some time in the next few months.

6/24/2005 08:16:00 am  
Blogger Ackers1 said...

My understanding is that security in Southern Iraq is effectively being done by the Shia militias and if the Australian troops were to leave tomorrow no one would notice at all. The bottom line is that Iraq's south has no real insurgency to speak of. Why then are Australian troops needed? What is the threat they are allegedly deterring, and that Iraqis cannot handle on their own? There is none. Forget the cliches about "not cutting and running". Cut the rhetoric about "the need to finish the job". Australian troops could pull out immediately.

6/24/2005 10:17:00 am  
Blogger Jordan said...

And aren't they just doing *so* well over there, creating peace and being welcomed with flowers?

What a strategic success. Not.

And what a disgrace that the right of politics in New Zealand wishes we were there.

6/25/2005 09:43:00 pm  
Blogger ZenTiger said...

Same again for Zimbabwe then Jordan?

6/25/2005 10:29:00 pm  
Blogger Antarctic Lemur said...

The US invasion of Iraq has been, from a military history point of view, spectacularly successful. Relatively few direct casualties (as opposed to the Lancets drivel of lumping in all deaths including insurgents), and only one major terrorist attack since (Spain). Not only that but Al Qaeda is being persecuted by the Saudi Arabian Government, rather than being left to snowball into a new fundamentalist Islamic revolution similar to what happened in Iran.

Talking about successes.... tell us Jordan.... how many people have died on public health waiting lists since Labour was elected?

6/26/2005 03:36:00 am  
Blogger Ackers1 said...

It looks increasingly like Iran will turn out to be the winner here. The war was a military success AL but what is the point if that success can not be turned into a strategic victory which benefits the US?

These words from Pat Lang the former chief at the Defense Intelligence Agency for the Middle East, south Asia and counter-terrorism are to me a better indication of the outcome

"Lang, who served as an intelligence officer in Vietnam, observes: "For almost all of the war, Vietnam was a better situation than Iraq. During the conduct of the war the security situation was far better than this.
Iran is the long-term winner. "Iran intends to pull the Shia state of Iraq into its orbit. You can be sure that Iranian revolutionary guards are honeycombed throughout Iraq's intelligence to make sure things don't get out of hand." About the "euphoria" after the election, especially echoed by the press corps, Lang simply says: "Laughable, comical, pathetic."

6/26/2005 08:44:00 am  
Blogger ZenTiger said...

No ackers1, Saddam was a major winner here too. Oh, that's right. He was thrown out of power.

So, what do you suggest about Zimbabwe? Hold the cricket team to just the one day match, or ask the UN and Amnesty to issue strong condemnations?

6/26/2005 02:09:00 pm  

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