Special favors abound for coalition countries

by on April 20th, 2004

This is an older article – Coalition partners seeking favors for sending troops to Iraq.

I’m not sure how big the “coalition of the willing” is now that Spain and Honduras (and maybe Thailand) are pulling out, but it is interesting to see the special arrangements that were put in place to put this little rear-end covering coalition together for what is essentially a unilateral military action.

Here is a quick rundown of some of the backscratching and quid pro quo that is outlined in the article:

Poland sent 2,400 troops, but the U.S. spent $250 million to airlift them into Iraq, build their camps and provide their equipment. In return, the Polish national airline is one of the few carriers with the right to operate in Iraq and the Polish Bank Millennium is one of a handful chosen to run the Iraqi Trade Bank.

“Direct access to crude oil is Poland’s ‘final goal,’ said Polish Foreign Minister Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz.”

Monolia sent 174 troops and in return asked for a free trade pact from the U.S. Departments of State and Commerce.

Bulgaria sent 480 troops in return for U.S. help in collecting a $1.7 billion debt from Iraq.

Albania sent 70 troops in expectation that it would earn them U.S. support for their bid to join NATO. They also received $3 million in U.S. military aid and had all of their deployment costs covered by the U.S.

U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy is quoted in the story charging that Bush officials are bribing foreign leaders to send troops. That seems pretty apparent at this point.

Mike Thomas