The United States has urged its Arab allies to send
military forces to Iraq.
U.S. officials acknowledged that the Bush administration has contacted
several Middle East countries in an effort to contribute to a military force
in Iraq. They said the countries have been assured that the soldiers would
serve in a United Nations-sponsored peacekeeping force in Iraq.
So far, officials said, the State Department has discussed the issue
with at least five Arab League members. They identified the members as
Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Oman and Tunisia.
Egypt, Jordan and Oman were said to be considering the U.S.
request. But the countries said they would first examine the security
situation in Iraq after June 30, when Washington was scheduled to hand over
sovereignty to a new Iraqi government.
Arab League sources confirmed that several members have been approached
by Washington to contribute troops to Iraq. The sources said the issue was
discussed along the sidelines of the Arab League summit in Tunis, which
ended on May 23.
Arab League secretary-general Amr Mussa said Arab states would require a
UN mandate to consider the deployment of troops in Iraq. Mussa said the
issue of Arab sending forces to Iraq was not formally discussed at the Tunis
But Arab League sources said UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi has been
discussing the issue of Arab troop deployment in Iraq with Mussa.