Tag Archives: Somalia

Who’s the real pirate?

As a firm believer in root cause analysis and objectivity I’m troubled to learn I may have jumped too quickly in some previous posts.

I’ve complained about Somalian piracy here and there along with what looked like a halfhearted effort at dealing with it.  I was definitely outraged that the world was apparently allowing a ragtag assembly of hoodlums to control the Gulf of Aden.

But now I read a piece in The Independent by Johann Hari that goes deeper than its siblings on CNN.  Hari claims to have access to evidence of nuclear waste dumping and overfishing by Europeans off the coast of Somalia, and that the recent spate of john boat piracy (at least in large part) is a furious response to those egregious affronts.

If Hari’s allegations are correct, I’m truly appalled, embarrassed and outraged myself.  What’s broadly labelled as piracy may well have originated as freedom-fighter style defensive measures to rid a troubled nation of unwelcome intruders.

So where is the United Nations in all of this?  If the origins of the piracy are as deliberately shrouded by media as Hari asserts, can we even trust the UN anyway?

It’s not easy to admit that I may have been wrong, but I’m certainly not opining further until I am more sure one way or the other what is going on in East Africa…


From piracy to policy

Yesterday I vented on the distressing Somalia piracy issue, and complained about the passive-aggressive policy employed up to this point as a response.

Lo and behold, today I run across this CNN article which indicates a significant change in the US stance.  We are now proposing a multinational approach that includes land incursions.

I’d like to think my little bit influenced the decision but I have to live in reality.  Anyway, the reconsideration at least looks promising; here’s hoping that whatever actions are carried out target the proper parties and don’t get into any collateral damage.  The last thing the US needs is another ostensibly humanitarian effort turning into a global public relations fiasco…

Yo ho ho and a tanker of oil

This Somalia piracy issue is really getting out of hand.  What began a few years ago as seemingly random, isolated events is looking more and more like a semiorganized effort of economic terrorism.

At least one pirate has assumed the role of spokesman and boldly declared that he and his lawless brethren are unstoppable.  I don’t accept that as an ultimate absolute but the bragging currently has a ring of truth.  The US-led consortium now patrolling the threatened waters has declined to ramp up operations, claiming they need specific permission to do so.  The problem, ironically, stems from the affected region’s lack of authoritative government.  World leaders want an official request for aggression from an area that cannot really provide one, they say.  Yet it is precisely the lawlessness that needs to be addressed, and in strong measures!  The EU has announced it will begin its first naval operations as a response… will it be enough?

Not only has the number of attacks gone up, but also the scale.  Fishing trawlers and cruise ships were apparently practice targets; now even oil tankers and military cargo ships are held for tremendous ransom.  I won’t even waste your time describing the irony of the latter!

Recently an around-the-world sailing regatta had to avoid the waters, and a German cruise ship line now ports in and flies passengers over the hotspot.  How much more evasion needs to happen before a more direct approach is taken?

It’s reached the point where I can now drag in Iraq without someone telling me I’m reaching.  The Somalia piracy is true terrorism, destined to affect us not only on personal but on profit levels.  As long as we diddle in international waters rather than attacking closer to root cause, the pirates will only grow bolder.  That may serve to be the undoing of some of them, but still cause greater headaches for the rest of us.  It’s time to recognize this as terrorism on a much greater scale of harm than what’s now occurring in Iraq.  Time to draw down those troops and redirect our international efforts where they are most needed.