United States began to campaign for the overthrow in lue for the war on terror making it its part to oust the Iraqi President, Saddam Hussein. The United States, under the administration of George W. Bush, argued that Saddam Hussein was a threat to global peace, a vicious tyrant, and a sponsor of international terrorism. The Bush Administration also argued that they had reason to believe that Saddam Hussein was developing Weapons of Mass Destruction, something he had been forbidden to do since the end of the 1991 Gulf War.
Opinion on the war was greatly divided between nations. Some countries felt that the United States failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Hussein had an active weapons program. Others felt that Iraq was an insignificant and militarily weak country that was not worth fighting over. Some saw the war as an act of imperialism, and charged that the United States just wanted Iraq's oil.
On the other side, supporting countries argued that Saddam Hussein was one of the 20th Century's worst despots, and that free countries should be obliged to remove brutal dictators from power. Others felt that Saddam's ties to terror groups were well-established, and his weapons programs very real. Analysis of the count reveals the complexities in world diplomacy. Some national governments publicly denounced the invasion plan while at the same time accepting U. S.
aid earmarked for the war, or providing to the war effort troops, fueling stations, military support, and/or airspace. Some national governments provided only a semblance of support. Some nations originally on the White House list disavowed membership in the "coalition". Furthermore, significant opposition to the war exists in segments of the populations and Parliaments in many of the supporting nations. Adding to the complications, the Bush administration claimed to have the support of some 15 nations that wished to remain anonymous.
This bloc has been dubbed by some "the shadow coalition" or, sardonically, "the coalition of the unwilling to be named". Support can be so different in nature, from armed troops to use of airspace and bases, logistic support, political support, to participation in reconstruction efforts, that it appears to some to be difficult to exclude most countries from the official list, except Iraq for obvious reasons (although some might claim some movements inside Iraq will probably also help reconstructing their own country).
Shortly before the Iraq war began, the US government announced that 49 countries were joined in a "coalition of the willing" in favor of forcibly removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq with some number of other countries expressing their support in private.
The 49 countries named by the White House were Afghanistan, Albania, Angola, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Colombia, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Georgia, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Israel, Japan, Kuwait, Latvia, Lithuania, Republic of Macedonia, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Mongolia, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Palau, Panama, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Rwanda, Singapore, Slovakia, South Korea, Spain, Tonga, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, and Uzbekistan Of these, the following countries had an active or participant role, by providing either significant troops or political support: Australia, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain.
Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom and United States. Some newspapers and organizations questioned what "willing" meant in this context, or whether these countries' populations or even their governments were actually in favor of the plan to remove Saddam Hussein. Many of the supporting countries are extremely poor and, to this day, rely on U. S. military or development aid. In no country other than the U. S. did opinion polls show a majority of the population was in favor of the war when it started.