Q: Maybe I’m just ignorant, but I didn’t realize Iraq had a Navy. What’s up with that?

A: Historically, Iraq has used its naval force as protection against Iran, although Iran’s has been stronger. During the Gulf War, the Iraqi navy posed a threat to U.S. forces by laying mines, but wound up being destroyed itself during combat, according to

At this point, the navy consists of a single squadron of five patrol boats and 10 fast assault boats, according to the latest Pentagon report on Iraq. In July, the country will receive the first of four patrol ships from Italy, the rest to be delivered by the following July.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Coast Guard, Navy and Marines and the British Royal Navy are training members of the Iraqi navy and marines to protect a port and two offshore oil platforms in southern Iraq. Marines will be responsible for safeguarding oil platforms and boarding, searching and seizing vessels.

The Iraqi navy secures two oil platforms off the coast and is responsible for port and coastal security law enforcement, search and rescue, and safeguarding commercial ships, according to officials with Multi-National Security Transition Command–Iraq.

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