U.S. Allies Valuable But Dwindling

Posted on Thursday, January 05 at 09:14 by jensonj
In terms of military operations on the ground, the withdrawals mean little, analysts say. Only Britain has a substantial security role, and so far it has remained steadfast. Yet each country's commitment to Iraq - however small - is a significant token to an administration that has long sought global support for the conflict. As such, the continual reshaping of the coalition is more a matter of foreign policy than military power, as Washington takes account of its strongest allies in the war on terror. "Iraq has been the crucible that has shown us how limited our cold-war alliances were," says Thomas Donnelly, an analyst at the American Enterprise Institute here. "It took us 50 years to build NATO; the challenge we have now is that we've got to come up with something new." The coalition is perhaps the first sketch of that new security structure, but recent months in particular have altered the face of it. Bulgaria and Ukraine withdrew the last of their roughly 1,200 troops from Iraq last month. Last week, Poland announced it would remove 600 of its 1,500 troops by March, and the South Korean parliament voted to pull out 1,000 of its 3,200 soldiers - with the rest leaving next year. http://www.military.com/NewsContent/0,13319,84427,00.html?ESRC=eb.nl

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