Forces: January 27, 2005

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The Iraqi navy (officially, the Iraqi Coastal Defense Force) is slowly coming back into existence. At present, the force consists of five 89 foot long harbor patrol boats, and twenty FABs (Fast Aluminum Boats). There are about 500 sailors, many of them older men who have experience, but have been out of the navy for many years. The new navy was activated last September 30th, after nearly a year of training by Australian, Italian, Dutch and American naval personnel. For the next few years, the main work of the Iraqi navy will be protecting port facilities from terrorists, chasing smugglers, and dealing with potential safety problems aboard the many ships delivering goods, and taking out oil, from Iraqi ports. Smuggling is a bigger problem than terrorism, with well organized gangs doing over a billion dollars of business a year smuggling oil products out of Iraq and Iran. The new Iraqi government will decide when, and how, the navy will expand. Eventually the navy will probably have some larger ships, like corvettes (1,000 tons and up) for patrols farther out into the Persian Gulf. Aircraft will have to be obtained, for maritime surveillance. For now, those two tasks are taken care of by coalition naval forces. 

 


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