Morale: Liberating Iraqi Sailors


April 26,2008: Iraq's tiny navy (1,350 personnel and 31 patrol boats) has a morale problem. Most of the thousand sailors and 350 marines are Shia, recruited from southern Iraq. This makes the sailors and marines vulnerable to local gangs and pro-Iranian militias. These two groups simply threaten to harm the families of the sailors and marines, in order to coerce these military personnel to look the other way. As a result of this threat, foreign navies do most of the work guarding Iraqi offshore oil facilities, and going after smugglers. One reason for the recent Iraqi governments recent military operations in southern Iraq, to smash the power of the gangs and militias. That battle is not yet over, but so far the government operation has been successful. If the security forces succeed, the Iraqi Navy will become more trustworthy, and capable of undertaking more security duties. The sailors will still be vulnerable to bribes, which have been the traditional way for smugglers to deal with the law.




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