Forces: Iraqi Navy is Sick in the Head


November 23, 2005:
The Iraqi navy is still tiny, but
it is growing, and becoming more expert at what it does (coastal and river
patrol). With 700 personnel (sailors and marines), they man five Predator class
patrol boats, 24 aluminum speedboats (dual outboard engines) and ten rigid hull
inflatable boats. Three al Faw Patrol Boats are to be delivered by the end of
the year, and three more next year. These boats are being built in Iraq, and
poor management of the construction has led to problems with quality control
during design and construction. There are also some management problems in the
Ministry of Defense, as the navy has not gotten enough money to buy sufficient
fuel and spare parts to keep its boats operational. The officers, marines and
sailors are pretty good, and are being trained by U.S. Navy personnel. The
marines are guarding off shore oil platforms. The poor management and
corruption problems are out in the open (which, by Iraqi standards, is
progress), but are not yet solved, and may not be anytime soon. The corruption
and inept leadership have long been a serious problem in the Iraqi military.
Personal responsibility at the top has never been very popular.