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Intro: To protect oil platforms, the U.S. has agreed to sell unarmed surveillance drones to the Iraqi navy.

A Predator B unmanned aircraft lands after a mission at the Naval Air Station, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2011, in Corpus Christi, Texas. (photo: Eric Gay/AP)
A Predator B unmanned aircraft lands after a mission at the Naval Air Station, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2011, in Corpus Christi, Texas. (photo: Eric Gay/AP)

US Selling Drones to Iraq

By Jim Michaels, USA Today

22 May 12


he United States has agreed to sell unarmed surveillance drones to Iraq's navy as part of an effort to help protect that nation's oil exports amid growing tensions in the Persian Gulf and to strengthen U.S.-Iraqi ties.

"They understand the importance of the mission to protect its oil platforms," said Army Lt. Gen. Robert Caslen, who heads the U.S. Office of Security Cooperation-Iraq.

The office, which operates out of the U.S. Embassy and manages U.S. military sales programs in Iraq, confirmed the sale of drones but declined to say the model or number of drones that are part of the contract.

The drones will allow Iraq's military to keep a continuous watch over its oil terminals within Iraqi territorial waters of the Persian Gulf, where a significant portion of the world's oil originates and which Iran has occasionally threatened to blockade.

The sales of drones and other U.S. military equipment are viewed by the United States as a way to maintain deep ties with Iraq after the departure of American troops in December. The sales "helps facilitate that strategic relationship," Caslen said.

Iraq already said it is buying more than $15 billion worth of U.S. military hardware, including 36 F-16 fighter planes, M-1 tanks and armored personnel carriers, insisting the weapons are for defensive purposes.

"Iraq should have the ability to protect itself against outside aggression," said Ali al-Moussawi, an adviser to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Iraq is particularly concerned about the security of its oil facilities. The bulk of Iraq's exports move through a handful of terminals on Iraq's narrow Persian Gulf coast, making its exports vulnerable to attack from other countries or terrorists.

As a major oil producer, Iraq could balance Western worries about Iran's threats to cut off oil shipments to some European countries that import Iranian oil. Iraq said it is not worried about whether Iran views Iraq's progress as a threat.

"Whether Iran has concerns or not, we're OK with that," al-Moussawi said. "This is in our interest."

Iraqi and U.S. officials say Iraq has made remarkable progress in developing its energy industry since the time of the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

"This is one of the biggest energy stories in the world today," said James Jeffrey, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq.

Iraq has boosted oil production to 3 million barrels per day, up from about 2.5 million before the invasion. In six years, Iraq expects to be producing 10 million barrels a day, according to Iraq's deputy prime minister for energy, Hussain al-Shahristani.

"We'd like Iraq to be considered as a dependable long-term supplier of world energy needs," al-Shahristani said. your social media marketing partner


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+4 # Bodiotoo 2012-05-22 11:19
Just more insanity and profit for the war mongers...donat e out technalogy so it can be used against us, then we can escalate the war goods developing something to some it and the Corporatacracy can make more war profits and the circle continues...
+4 # LeeBlack 2012-05-22 11:26
If any act deserves the description of 'obscene' this is it.
+3 # PoetForPeace 2012-05-22 12:01
Amerika: The disgusting, horrific, murderous place where the facade looks good to so many, but the core is rotten. Amerika: The place where the Nazis RISE again! Please read "The Family" by Jeff Sharlet if you have not yet done so. Also, read Antonia Juhasz, Greg Palast, Thom Hartmann - the list for information is endless. We need to RISE UP before it is too late to stop the master HOARDERS.
+2 # Glen 2012-05-22 15:23
"They understand the importance of the mission to protect its oil platforms,"

Shouldn't this read OUR oil platforms? Shouldn't this entire enterprise be logged under U.S. efforts?

What a joke. Most of the world knows the U.S. is selling and giving away drones as Santa Claus would hand out bikes at Christmas. When Santa visits the U.S., unloading a few thousands drones, perhaps folks will then see this as OUR oil fields and drones.

After all, isn't OUR tax money?
+4 # Dave45 2012-05-22 17:23
This should get Mr. O a good chunk of campaign change from his favorite defense contractors. Making money off of death and destruction--th e American way. The president is as fraudulent as his policies.
+2 # Glen 2012-05-23 14:32
Hear hear, Dave45. Correct.
+2 # kyzipster 2012-05-23 11:09
Didn't we try something like this with Saddam Hussein during the Reagan years?
0 # Activista 2012-05-23 21:00
"Iraq has boosted oil production to 3 million barrels per day, up from about 2.5 million before the invasion."
Before 2003 USA had embargo - boycott on Iraq (similar to today boycott on Iran). How illiterate are US mass media.
And we are sure to start another war with our "Iraqi" friends against Iran (million died under Reagan).

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