Well now! The BBC is reporting that no less than eight European nations have declared their support for the United States in removing Saddam from power.

In a joint letter to various newspapers, the leaders of Britain, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Hungary, Poland, Denmark and the Czech Republic warned that the credibility of the United Nations would be on the line if it failed to ensure that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein complied with its resolution on disarmament.

The statement is being seen as a calculated rebuff to France and Germany, the European heavyweights which sit on the United Nations Security Council and which have expressed serious reservations about war.

The Bush administration has in the last few days made clear that it is prepared to go to war without the backing of the UN if need be, declaring it would lead instead a “coalition of the willing”.

The BBC’s Ian Pannell in Washington says this letter gives that claim some substance.

The timing of this declaration of support, he says, could not have come at a better time for the administration.

France and Germany are staying put for now, demanding clear cut evidence that Iraq is indeed possessing or pursuing WMD. That should all be cleared up on 05 February when Colin Powell addresses the U.N. Security Council.

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