Wednesday, 19 November 2008

And a bottle of rum...

Pirates going for the big time:

Mercenary action:

Send us your rum and women!:

Is this nuts to anyone else? Some random (and admittedly not well formed) thoughts:

1) Naval officials the world over must be scrambling to redefine their doctrines to counter this threat
2) Goodbye nation-state, hello globalisation of security - Pirates operating out of a failed state, state-run navies helpless to intervene, and companies hiring mercenaries
3) What will this do to insurance rates on international shipping? And what will that do to world trade?
4) If this continues, can someone say 'military intervention in Africa'?
5) Piracy is widely supported by the African populace - they see only benefit and poetic justice from it. How might this relate to failed states that spawn terrorists?


  1. As a student of history, I find this topic fascinating. The first international military intervention ever taken by the United States was in response to pirate attacks in Africa. The United State's first treaty as an independent nation was signed with Morocco in the early 1800s specifically in response to these attacks (I believe it remains our longest standing treaty to this day). Read all about it. What is more, the US Marine Corps traces its origins to incursions against pirates in the early 1800s (hence " the shores of Tripoli" in the Marine Corps hymn).

    Historical fact aside, these early altercations are made even more interesting given the nature of the players: Western Christians vs. Ottaman Muslims. The encounters were a clash of sovereignty and principles, based on politics and religion, mixed up with trade and economics...characteristics which form the basis of many issues in the region today.

    The solution 200 years ago was to pay ransom until a treaty was established with the local government. A treaty was eventually agreed to following a US naval blockade of the harbor, a US Marine-led ground invasion, and additional threat of political overthrow.

    While it may be difficult to threaten overthrow in an already unstable nation, a UN orchestrated naval blockade of the pirate dens could serve as a checkpoint to inspect boats entering and leaving the harbor. It would be a first step, and would be much easier than policing the entire Gulf of Aden.

  2. Problem solved:

    Will this task force be successful?