"Iraq's oil rigs are a key target for insurgents bent on causing trouble. Will the new Iraqi marines be able to protect them?
"If the insurgents are successful in attacking this oil platform, Iraq will fall back 20 years," states Chief Master at Arms, Corey Koreza. He's responsible for protecting the Al Basrah oil platform, Iraq's biggest and most lucrative oil rig. "It's a key strategic target for terrorists," he states. In a massive security operation, allied forces have created a 3,000m 'no-go' area around the platforms. Any boat approaching is stopped and searched. Working alongside Kareza are a platoon of new Iraqi marines. Although there's been no shortage of applicants for the Marines, the standard of recruits has disappointed allies. "They were not proactive. We've had limited success introducing them to mobile patrols. It all depends on how much sleep they've had," states Sgt Peter White. There have also been questions about the new marines' loyalties. "When we first arrived they were blatantly hostile to us. A lot of them support Moqtada al-Sadr," states Sgt White. Political pressure to set a firm timetable for withdrawal from Iraq is growing every day. But no one in the Persian Gulf seems to know when the Iraqi marines will be ready to take over." journeymanpictures
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