Kwasniewski arrived unexpectedly on 22 December at the Polish army’s base – Camp Babylon – in Central Iraq, and stayed only two-three hours. ‘You have many difficult months behind you – thank you for everything you have done,’ Mr Kwasniewski told Polish troops. ‘I am convinced we will bring stabilisation to Iraq, that an Iraqi government will be formed and will assume the responsibility for ruling the nation, and we will be able to return home fully convinced we have fulfilled our mission.’ Poland has 2,350 soldiers in Iraq – the fourth largest contingent after those of the US, UK and Italy.

Aznar arrived in Iraq on 20 December with an entourage of 17 to deliver a Christmas message to Spanish troops. He visited the Spanish army’s base in the southern city of Diwaniya, during which he told troops they were ‘working for a world that is more free, more stable, and more safe’.