The biggest job

Iraq's young navy and marines and their American and British counterparts are in a race against time to ensure the safety of the country's most important piece of infrastructure, the al-Basra Oil Terminal.

For a coalition of American and British naval forces the simple task is guarding an aging piece of Iraq's infrastructure unloading three quarters of its daily oil exports onto oil tankers – $85 million a day in 2009.It is the looming deadline that is worrisome as they prepare the ill-equipped and inexperienced Iraqi navy and marines to do the job by the end of 2011, when foreign forces will make their final exit in accordance with a security agreement with the Iraqi government.[cap...

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