Ok, some mistakes in this piece, but I think you can get the drift.
By Mohammed bin Ali Balushi
BASRA â€” The southern Iraqi port city of Basra came under the British control after the collapse of the Saddam regime. Every now and then, the British forces say that their presence is for the protection of the Iraqi people and the Iraqi wealth and the Basra beaches.
It was for the first time that I was aboard a military helicopter which took me from Manama to the northern area; the flight to Basra took two hours and we landed on a mega warship named USS Cape Smith George, which was affiliated to the coalition forces.
Bruce Williams, brigadier at the British Royal Navy, from on board the warship, said they were here to protect southern Iraq, particularly the oil stations as also the southern coast and the navigation route. Brigadier B. Williams is the commander of the 58th Joint Task Force (JTF), which has been responsible for the safety of marine operations there since November 18, 2005.
The task force comprises Australian, the US, the British and the Iraqi troops and protects the north of the Gulf, he said, adding that the JTF 58 is also responsible for the safety of the Iraqi economic infrastructure.
He said that the coalition forces assist the Iraqis in safeguarding the infrastructure projects and assets as they are in a transitional period focusing on building up the Iraqi forces.
On the ability of the Iraqi forces to take over the security of the oil exporting docks, an Iraqi officer said that they are in need of the coalition forcesâ€™ training on different tasks.
I had an exclusive meeting with Commodore A.G. L. White, commander of the Tomindor ship, during which he said that the presence of the British troops is temporary and that they are training the Iraqi naval forces for the replacement of the British troops so they can take over the responsibility of the Iraqi security.
I visited a US boat where I met Captain Novak who said that they were training Iraqi soldiers to tackle emergency cases.
I had dinner with Commodore White after which I had the opportunity to view a fuel supply operation involving two vessels. One of the supply vessels was the Montrose warship, of the British Naval Fleet. It was constructed in 1917 and was put into service in September 1919. The vessel has a well-equipped maintenance section for planes and has a crew of 180.
At the US 5th Fleet Command in Bahrain, which is also a base for the coalition forces and under the US troops, I met Williams, the deputy commander of the base. He said that the coalition forces work to safeguard the area, a mission that is shared by the French, German, Italian, Sweden, the US and the British troops.
This protection, he added, extends to the African coast, the Gulf and the other Asian countries