By ALAN PERROTT
Sorry, President Bush, but if you are counting on the Solomon Islands National Reconnaissance and Surveillance Force to watch your back in Iraq, you're out of luck.
Solomon Islands Prime Minister Sir Allan Kemakeza yesterday said "thanks but no thanks" after hearing his nation had been shanghaied into the US-led Coalition of the Willing.
"The Government is completely unaware of such statements being made, therefore wishes to disassociate itself from the report," said Sir Allan.
The Solomon Islands has no military capability, but according to the CIA World Factbook they do boast the above mentioned reconnaissance and surveillance unit and a Royal Police Force.
Not so shy is Palau. The nation's leadership has offered its ports and airfields to any units taking part in the Iraq offensive.
Perhaps it is really the thought that counts here as the coalition boasts several countries that can offer little more than best wishes. Iceland, Micronesia and the Marshall Islands are all there among the 19 countries offering only political and/or moral support.
Of course, there is always the hope such support will produce a few benefits later.
Alongside Iceland are nations such as the Baltic states (who appear to be hoping their support will be rewarded in financially and militarily). Neighbouring African states Ethiopia and Eritrea reportedly raced each other to the dotted line in anticipation of getting a helping hand in their border dispute.
The Coalition of the Willing also claims the backing of more than a dozen silent partners - countries which are providing assistance but do not wish to broadcast the fact widely for fear of domestic reaction.
Although they have not been named, commentators have suggested they include Israel, the Arab states hosting US forces such as Kuwait, Qatar, Jordan and Bahrain, and anti-war Germany which has allowed access to its land bases.
United States, Britain, Spain, Australia, Kuwait, Poland, Albania, Romania, Czech Republic, Portugal, Japan, South Korea, Denmark, Netherlands, Hungary, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Macedonia, Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, Georgia, Philippines, Uzbekistan, Colombia, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Honduras, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Uganda, Iceland, Singapore, Mongolia, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Palau, Panama.
Herald Feature: Iraq
Iraq links and resources
By ALAN PERROTT