Monday, April 13, 2009

D'ya thinK?

The Americans are considering a plan to attack pirate bases in Somalia.
Sometimes it feels more like 1709, except that the Americans plan to throw a lot of money around after they slap the pirates' wrists.
Meanwhile, the pirates -- who use 20ft boats with outboard motors, their most powerful weapons being rocket launchers -- vow revenge against America. Before 1945, world powers solved these problems with 18" guns. Now, "superpowers" use social workers.
I think it's time to go "Halls of Tripoli" on these guys.


skippystalin said...

Um, given the rather ... complicated recent history of the United States in Somalia, I think not. Always remember, the U.S had lots of spare soldiers, planes and other things that go boom in '93.

Now? Not so much. It's not even like they can get Ethiopia to invade for them again, since that turned out to be a spectacular failure. The Somali Islamists are now responding by infilitrating Somali-speaking areas of Ethiopia.

You might see very limited air-strikes that accomplish absolutely nothing in the next week or so, but that's about it. Air strikes without ground forces to mop up is only an exercise in making yourself feel good.

The U.S doesn't have the troops to go in and no one else is dumb enough to.

Ottawa Watch said...

Time to get the New Jersey out of mothballs, I say.

botcho said...

Surely you meant "shores of Tripoli"

Ottawa Watch said...

I was jamming it all together.

Anonymous said...

A lot of ships are now hiring Ghurka soldiers as security and using an electrified perimeter so when the pirates try to board the ship; they get a nasty surpise.

Anonymous said...

Please take another look before we wack the 'GOOD GUYS'...cuz
We 'are being lied to about pirates' off Somalia.
Posted by seafan in Latest Breaking News seafan's Journal


Anonymous said...

Johann Hari: You are being lied to about pirates, UK Independent, 5
January 2009

In 1991, the government of Somalia collapsed. Its nine million people
have been teetering on starvation ever since and the ugliest forces
in the Western world have seen this as a great opportunity to steal
the country's food supply and dump our nuclear waste in their seas.

Yes: nuclear waste. As soon as the government was gone, mysterious
European ships started appearing off the coast of Somalia, dumping
vast barrels into the ocean. The coastal population began to sicken.
At first they suffered strange rashes, nausea and malformed babies.
Then, after the 2005 tsunami, hundreds of the dumped and leaking
barrels washed up on shore. People began to suffer from radiation
sickness, and more than 300 died.

Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, the UN envoy to Somalia, tells me: "Somebody
is dumping nuclear material here. There is also lead, and heavy
metals such as cadmium and mercury you name it." Much of it can be
traced back to European hospitals and factories, who seem to be
passing it on to the Italian mafia to "dispose" of cheaply. When I
asked Mr Ould-Abdallah what European governments were doing about it,
he said with a sigh: "Nothing. There has been no clean-up, no
compensation, and no prevention."

At the same time, other European ships have been looting Somalia's
seas of their greatest resource: seafood. We have destroyed our own
fish stocks by overexploitation and now we have moved on to theirs.
More than $300m-worth of tuna, shrimp, and lobster are being stolen
every year by illegal trawlers. The local fishermen are now starving.
Mohammed Hussein, a fisherman in the town of Marka 100km south of
Mogadishu, told Reuters: "If nothing is done, there soon won't be
much fish left in our coastal waters."

This is the context in which the "pirates" have emerged. Somalian
fishermen took speedboats to try to dissuade the dumpers and
trawlers, or at least levy a "tax" on them. They call themselves the
Volunteer Coastguard of Somalia and ordinary Somalis agree. The
independent Somalian news site WardheerNews found 70 per cent
"strongly supported the piracy as a form of national defence".

No, this doesn't make hostage-taking justifiable, and yes, some are
clearly just gangsters especially those who have held up World Food
Programme supplies. But in a telephone interview, one of the pirate
leaders, Sugule Ali: "We don't consider ourselves sea bandits. We
consider sea bandits (to be) those who illegally fish and dump in our
seas." William Scott would understand.

Did we expect starving Somalians to stand passively on their beaches,
paddling in our toxic waste, and watch us snatch their fish to eat in
restaurants in London and Paris and Rome? We won't act on those
crimes the only sane solution to this problem but when some of
the fishermen responded by disrupting the transit-corridor for 20 per
cent of the world's oil supply, we swiftly send in the gunboats.

The story of the 2009 war on piracy was best summarised by another
pirate, who lived and died in the fourth century BC. He was captured
and brought to Alexander the Great, who demanded to know "what he
meant by keeping possession of the sea." The pirate smiled, and
responded: "What you mean by seizing the whole earth; but because I
do it with a petty ship, I am called a robber, while you, who do it
with a great fleet, are called emperor." Once again, our great
imperial fleets sail but who is the robber?

Who are the robbers, indeed.