Here’s another reason why President-elect Obama’s Planned Iraq strategy will be a disaster. Iraqi Defense minister Abdel Qader Jassem Mohammed al-Obeidi warned that If US leaves Iraq too soon it will open the persian gulf to pirates. Iraq’s Navy doesn’t recieve its first ships till next April, only then will it begin to keep the gulf waters free of the pirates.
Iraq’s defence minister warned on Saturday that the Gulf would be infested by pirates and Iraq left at risk of attack by its neighbours if US forces leave the country too soon.
“Coalition forces are currently protecting the Gulf, and our navy will not receive its first ships until April 2009,” Abdel Qader Jassem Mohammed al-Obeidi told a press conference in Baghdad.
If those forces “withdraw precipitously, our gulf will become like the Gulf of Aden, where there have been 95 acts of piracy,” he said. Obeidi was addressing journalists on his support for the controversial military pact that would allow US troops to remain in Iraq until the end of 2011, a deal now being considered by the Iraqi parliament.
The minister did not enlarge on his remarks or explain how the Gulf would become prey to pirates when one of its littoral states, Bahrain, is home to the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet.
The Gulf, which supplies the bulk of world oil imports, is also bordered by Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Iran, all of whose navies patrol the waterway.
Somali-based pirates have in recent months been plaguing shipping in the Gulf of Aden and in the Indian Ocean off the east coast of Africa. Obeidi also said Iraqi territory risks being attacked by neighbouring states, referring to Turkey’s bombing of Turkish Kurdish PKK rebels in their mountain hideaways of northern Iraq.
“Today, Iraq is the target of bombing from abroad but it is limited because the (US-led) coalition represents a dissuasion force,” he said. “If it not there any more, the whole country risks being the target of shooting, even (the southern port of) Basra, and they will justify their actions by referring to information on a PKK base there,” the minister said.
Obeidi also said his country has turned into “a battleground for different foreign intelligence services,” without naming any countries. “Iraqi security forces, backed by the coalition, must impose a limit on their activities, of which Iraqis are the victims,” the defence minister added.