Aug 25, 2008 12:03 pm


In a recent review of Gary Bass's new book on humanitarian intervention, Joshua Muravchik notes that in Somalia the intervention ended too soon (think Obama Iraq policy, please). No kidding. When Clinton turned tail and ran or left it for the UN to handle, he not only emboldened Osama Bin Laden but provided Al Qaeda with the ability to use the country's strategic position to raise funds through piracy. Moreover, we are no longer dealing with a bunch of local operators. Instead,"A pirate network is believed to stretch from Europe to Dubai, identifying targets and feeding intelligence to the gangs based along Somalia’s long coastline."

The result?

Four ships were captured in one day. That is the new Somali record.

A German-owned cargo ship was the latest vessel to be attacked on Thursday, after Iranian, Japanese and Malaysian boats were seized the day before. . . .

The Gulf of Aden, linking the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea, is used by 17,000 ships a year carrying 3.3 million barrels of oil a day from the Middle East to Europe.

But the waters off Somalia have now become the world's most dangerous, with 35 hijackings so far this year, 29 of them along the northern Gulf of Aden coast.

Pirates have become bolder in recent months, motoring far out into international waters to attack commercial vessels, oil tankers, private yachts and even cruise liners.

Attackers use small speedboats to approach, and are armed with rocket propelled grenades and automatic weapons. Ships are usually released after a ransom is paid, a practice which shipping experts say will encourage more attacks.

"Somalia has no central government. We are worried that more may join the pirates to hijack ships because it's very lucrative and there is no deterrent," said Noel Choong of the International Maritime Bureau. . . .

"The United Nations is the only agency that can stop this menace," said Mr Choong.

"The international community has to agree to find ways to solve this worsening problem. That is the only way forward."

Yes, and my grandmother had wheels.

While Iran and Malaysia are negotiating for the release of their sailors, Earth Times reports additional hijackings:

Around eight ships have been seized by pirates off the lawless Somali coast with gunfire being reported during one of the hijackings, an official said Monday."Around eight ships have been seized, but we believe there were no fatalities," Andrew Mwangura, the head of the Kenya-based East African Seafarers' Assistance Programme told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.

"There was a shoot-out at one of the ships, but it was a quarrel between the gunmen," he continued."We understand there were no injuries."

Earlier reports had suggested three sailors had been killed.

comments powered by Disqus