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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Head of Iraqi Navy Speaks on Future of His Growing Fleet

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS050525-04
Release Date: 5/25/2005 9:11:00 AM

From Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/Commander, U.S. 5th Fleet Public Affairs

MANAMA, Bahrain (NNS) -- Head of the Iraqi Navy, Commodore Muhammad Jawad, visited the U.S. 5th Fleet headquarters (HQ) in Manama, Bahrain, May 21-24, barely one year after the creation of the new Iraqi Navy.

Iraqi navy officials have made several trips to 5th Fleet HQ in the past few months to discuss training and future operations with coalition maritime forces.

“My primary mission is three steps: the first is to protect my [oil] platforms, protect my trade ports and a very important thing - to protect the fishermen and civilian men who work in territory water,” said Jawad.

Jawad shared information on the progress and future of the growing force.

“My navy grows day after day,” he said. “We are beginning with five patrol boats only. Now we have a contract. My navy signed a contract with an Iraqi shipyard to build six patrol boats, and we are thinking the first one will enter the service in September of this year. And at the end of this year, three patrol boats will be in service. They are built in an Iraqi shipyard in Baghdad.”

Each day, the Iraqi navy is taking on greater responsibility for maritime security operations (MSO) within its territorial waters.

MSO setsd the conditions for security and stability in the maritime environment and complements the counter-terrorism and security efforts of regional nations. MSO denies international terrorists use of the maritime environment as a venue for attack or to transport personnel, weapons, or other material.

The Al Basrah and Khawr Al Amaya Oil Terminals, Iraq’s only operational offshore platforms, pump oil onto awaiting tankers from nations around the globe. Coalition and Iraqi forces maintain a multilayered defense posture around the terminals, with the Iraqi navy playing an increasing role.

“Soon, the responsibility of point defense on the Al Basrah platforms will be in the Iraqi navy,” said Jawad. “Sometime next year, the responsibility to cover all the platforms and territories water will be in the Iraqi navy.”

Jawad said his forces look forward to the increased responsibility.

“This is my navy, and this is my territory’s water. This is my responsibility,” he said. “I feel the coalition navy forces give me more support to push my navy this way.”

Jawad has instituted a number of initiatives to ensure the success of the Iraqi navy. He is seeking to create a modern, viable service, and his initiatives are structured in that direction. Last week, he submitted the new Iraqi navy’s rules of engagement to the Iraqi Ministry of Defense and Chief of Iraqi Staff for approval. It will be the first time the Iraqi navy has operated under established rules and procedures.

“In the last navy, we didn’t have rules of engagement. Every man who works in my navy must know everything about the new rules,” said Jawad. “I work and my navy works under law.”

And as for the future of the Iraqi navy, Jawad said it appears right on track.

“Training and planning is very, very important,” said Jawad. “I would like to put a good basis to my navy in the future. If anyone had good training, that means he has a good basic future.”

Iraqi navy sailors are currently training with coalition ships in the North Persian Gulf under Commander, Task Force (CTF) 58. The multinational task force is responsible for the protection of the Iraqi oil terminals and for maritime security operations in the area under U.S. 5th Fleet.

CTF 58 currently is commanded Royal Australian Navy Commodore Steve Gilmore, from aboard USS Antietam (CG 54). CTF 58, which has in the past consisted of assets from the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Navy, the U.K. and Australian royal navies, Poland, Italy, Singapore and Spain, has been working with the Iraqi navy virtually since its inception.

“In my requirements for next year, I will put nearly half of my budget into training only,” said Jawad.

With the additional training and experience, Jawad said he plans to continue seeking greater responsibility for his sailors, and to participate in multinational cooperative exercises.

Iraqi navy observers participated in exercise Arabian Gauntlet 2005 in March, along with more than 3,000 people and 19 ships from the United States, Iraq, Pakistan, and other coalition and regional allies.

“My long term mission is to make the peace in all the north of the Arabian Gulf. I would like to make a good relationship with my brother’s navies and put peace in all of the north of the Arabian Gulf,” he said.

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