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1.25.2005

Multinational Coalition Update

Ukraine, it seems, is preparing to leave Iraq. CBS News (Consider the Bloody Source) notes that
Ukraine has 1,650 troops in Iraq, the fourth-largest contingent in the U.S.-led military operation. Outgoing President Leonid Kuchma has ordered them withdrawn by the end of June and Yushchenko has said he will stand by that.
The rationale of newly/finally-elected Viktor Yuschenko is that their mission is complete (will there be a banner?) and that "Politicians, diplomats and businessmen must replace them."

I'd say this isn't anything to laugh at. The political (as opposed to actual) consequences of a "New European" ally leaving Iraq, especially as it could be played in the MSM, will make it more difficult for those nations still participating in Iraq to remain. Losing the troop strength is not much of an issue, but the symbolism is more significant. Just as the Spanish withdrawl following the Madrid train bombings and the election of Jose Luis Rodriguez Mr. Bean Zapatero was perceived both in the US and the Arab world as weak-kneed western capitulation to terrorist demands, so will Ukraine's or any other nation's departure signify a weakening of Western will. This despite the fact that no one will notice they are gone.

I only have one comment to make about this. Since, as everyone knows, Yuschenko is in office because of the behind-the-scenes influence of US-trained agitators, or whatever, you'd think he'd owe us. You'd think, in other words, he would have been sufficiently bribed and coerced, not to mention bought and extorted. Here's what I'm guessing: Yuschenko announces withdrawl in Oct 2004 but nothing actually happens until mid-2005 at the earliest. Thus he gets the domestic regional political gain from announcing the withdrawl, but makes nice with the US by delaying it until the end of the year.

-D. Brown
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