With the expiration of the United Nations mandate at the end of December, 13 of the 19 nations that still have military commitments to Iraq are set to bring them to an end by the end of the year. A farewell ceremony for Bosnia’s 86 soldiers is scheduled for Saturday, and South Korea’s is scheduled for Sunday.
After the end of the year, any foreign forces remaining in Iraq will need to have a formal Status of Forces Agreement with the Iraqi government. At that point, what started as a 35 nation endeavor (the trumpeted “coalition of the willing”) will be down to 6 nations, most with trivial commitments.
The United States is obviously the largest, with over 150,000 soldiers still on the ground. Britain has about 4,100 troops which it intends to leave past the new year as well, but they must complete their own Status of Forces Agreement before the end of the year to have any legal basis to do so.
Australia pulled its combat forces from Iraq in June of this year, but about 200 yet remain in logistics capacities. El Salvador has about 200 remaining as well, pending further reductions. Estonia has 35 soldiers on the ground, and Romania will withdraw all of its combat forces, but keep some instructors into 2009.
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