Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

More Nations Offer Limited Support in Taking on Iraq ; at NATO Parlay, President Bush Rallies Coalition of Up to 50 Countries, but Much of the Aid Is Logistical

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

More Nations Offer Limited Support in Taking on Iraq ; at NATO Parlay, President Bush Rallies Coalition of Up to 50 Countries, but Much of the Aid Is Logistical

Article excerpt

Heads of state rallied behind the Bush administration's tough stance toward Iraq, stating at a NATO summit that they "deplore" Saddam Hussein's failure to disarm, and threatening "serious consequences" for any continued violations of UN resolutions.

The warning yesterday came as Washington announced it is assembling a broad coalition of up to 50 countries - including NATO members - to assist to varying degrees in an overthrow of Mr. Hussein if, as some senior US leaders expect, he refuses to give up his weapons programs.

The war preparations reflect Washington's conviction that without a clear threat of military force, diplomacy alone will not goad Hussein into action. "The only reason that inspectors are about to go in is because of the possibility of the use of force to disarm," said Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld before a meeting with NATO defense ministers. The tactics bring to mind an Al Capone quote sometimes cited by Mr. Rumsfeld, a longtime Chicago resident: "You get more with a kind word and a gun than you do with a kind word alone."

Planning for a war and its aftermath is under way in "a lot" of capitals in addition to Washington, which is receiving responses daily from around the world to its cabled requests for military and nonmilitary support, Rumsfeld says. Gen. Tommy Franks, the US commander who would lead an Iraq campaign, is working to "knit" the contributions into an effective strategy.

"A large number of countries" are offering concrete support - everything from combat forces that would join a US-led attack, to overflight and basing rights, to security personnel to protect US military bases abroad, to humanitarian workers in a post-Hussein Iraq. In all, there are four or five different "baskets" of nations willing to play varying roles, Rumsfeld said.

British Defense Secretary Geoffrey Hoon revealed Tuesday that he received a formal letter from the United States asking for military assistance in the case of a conflict. Turkey, Jordan, Qatar, and Kuwait are just a few of the countries whose facilities and airspace would be central.

The NATO statement, by 19 heads of state, marked a victory for President Bush, who made Iraq a central topic at the summit. He urged the world to join the US in ensuring that Iraq's weapons of mass destruction are eliminated - voluntarily or by force.

Turkey, whose bases and airfields would greatly facilitate a US military campaign, received high priority on Mr. Bush's agenda. "We are going to be working very closely with our Turkish friend and ally in the period ahead," said one senior administration official. "It's a terribly important relationship for the United States."

In bilateral talks Tuesday, Bush reassured Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer that the US places "great importance" on preserving Iraq's territorial integrity in the case of war, according to a Turkish official present. …

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