Babylon & Beyond

Observations from Iraq, Iran,
Israel, the Arab world and beyond

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IRAQ: Navy ship stays overnight at Iraqi port for first time

March 25, 2009 | 11:14 am


For six decades, the U.S. Navy has operated in the Persian Gulf.

This week marked the first-ever overnight port visit by a U.S. ship to an Iraqi port. The Chinook, a coastal patrol ship, took on supplies and fuel at Umm Qasr.

Chinook crew members talked with Iraqi officers. More visits are planned by Navy and Coast Guard vessels.

Protocol is important during these visits. To most of the world, that large body of water is known as the Persian Gulf.

The Iraqis, with hard-set feelings against their Iranian (Persian) neighbors, prefer the term North Arabian Gulf. That was the term used by the U.S. in announcing the visit.

-- Tony Perry, San Diego

Photo: The Chinook approaches Umm Qasr port. Credit: U.S. Navy