Iraq’s navy was given approval in the last week to purchase unarmed surveillance drones from the United States. The move is meant to help the countries Navy keep a better eye on oil fields as tensions continue to mount in the Persian Gulf.
According to Army Lt. Gen. Robert Caslen, head of the U.S. Office of Security Cooperation-Iraq.
“They understand the importance of the mission to protect its oil platforms.”
The U.S. government at this time has confirmed the sale but will not say how many drones or what models have been sold as part of the agreement.
A large portion of the world’s oil originates from the oil terminals located throughout Iraq. A large portion of Iraq’s exports move through several terminals which are vulnerable to attack from feuding countries and terrorists.
While protecting oil is a key factor for Iraq forces, the move is also being seen largely as a way to strengthen US-Iraq ties after US troops left the country in December 2011.
Iraq is already in the process of buying plenty of U.S. military hardware valued at $15 billion. Iraq’s buys are believed to include 36 F-16 fighter planes, M-1 tanks and armored personnel carriers.
Since the U.S. invasion of Iraq the country has boosted oil production to 3 million barrels today, that number is up from 2.5 million barrels per day before the invasion. Iraq officials say they plan on boosting that production to 10 million barrels per day over the next six years.
Iraq’s deputy prime minister for energy, Hussain al-Shahristani says of his countries long-term oil production goal:
“We’d like Iraq to be considered as a dependable long-term supplier of world energy needs.”