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calendar   Saturday - September 22, 2012

Down For Now, But Soon To Return Thanks To UN Aid?

Somali Pirates All But Gone,
But UN Stupidity May Bring Them Back With A Vengeance



Worldwide Incidents: updated on 30 August 2012
Total Attacks Worldwide:  210
Total Hijackings Worldwide:  23

Incidents Reported for Somalia:
Total Incidents: 70
Total Hijackings:13
Total Hostages: 212

Current vessels held by Somali pirates:
Vessels: 11 Hostages: 188.

source: ICC




News: Six month drop in world piracy, IMB report shows

The number of pirate attacks have fallen sharply in the first half of 2012, led by a drop in Somali piracy, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) global piracy report revealed today, but warned that these numbers were offset by a worrying increase of attacks in the Gulf of Guinea.

Overall, 177 incidents were reported to the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre (PRC) in the first six months of 2012, compared to 266 incidents for the corresponding period in 2011.

The report showed that 20 vessels were hijacked worldwide, with a total number of 334 crew members taken hostage. There were a further 80 vessels boarded, 25 vessels fired upon and 52 reported attempted attacks. At least four crew members were killed.

The decrease in the overall number is primarily due to the decline in the incidents of Somali piracy activity, dropping from 163 in the first six months of 2011 to 69 in 2012. Somali pirates also hijacked fewer vessels, down from 21 to 13. Nonetheless, Somali piracy continues to remain a serious threat.

A quick look at the stats shows the current worldwide annual total to be at 223, and none of the last 10 actions was Somali driven.

So, it seems all well and good; the vast multi-national naval effort, combined with the huge land based undertaking in Puntland, has put a genuine kibosh on pirate activities in the western Indian Ocean. Right?

Wrong. Via Eaglespeak, here comes a report that some dimwit program at the UN might bring it all back again.

Hijacked
How the U.N. saved the Somali pirates from the brink of extinction.

...

My week and a half at sea plotting the vast distances and measuring the response time of the designated naval escorts made it clear to me that piracy would never be defeated at sea. But I had plenty of time with my new South African friend who worked for a security company named Sterling Corporate Services to understand a new program—how exactly how pirates could be defeated very quickly, on land.

In June of this year, my bow-hunting friend, a group of four dozen South African mentors,and 500 newly trained Somali recruits pointed their armada of 70 shiny Toyota Land cruisers, a small fleet of high-powered rigid inflatable boats, helicopters, and fixed-wing aircraft towards the coast of Somalia—the heart of pirate country.

This once-motley group, the Puntland Maritime Police Force (PMPF), had been trained by African, British, South African, and U.S. foreign contractors for two years; in May 2011, they began setting up forward operating bases in remote coastal areas of Eyl, Hafun, Bargal, and Qaw. By June 2012, they were ready for the full invasion wave.

Their target was pirate leader Isse Yulux, a former roadhouse owner turned militia leader, who found grabbing ships at sea much easier than fighting clan wars on land. Yulux had a long track record of successful, and sometimes vicious, hauls—including a Danish family he had kidnapped from their luxury yacht. His brazen capture on May 15, 2012, of a brand new Suezmax tanker loaded with over $100 million of Dubai sweet crude made him Puntland’s Public Enemy No. 1. But the other mission of the PMPF was to push back the rapidly growing numbers of al-Shabab and al Qaeda members fleeing north from the south of Somalia.

Although the anti-piracy program was briefed to the U.S. embassy in Nairobi (which coordinates U.S. policy in Somalia), officials held a dim view of Puntland’s attempt to bolster its own security. Not surprisingly, the West still sees Somalia in its shiny new colonial clothes—one nation under one government. But for all intents and purposes, Somalia was only unified between 1949 and 1991—and most of that time under a Marxist dictator. Somaliland, the former British colony, Puntland, Galmudug, and southern Somalia has always been governed and delineated within clan boundaries, rather than foreign-engineered fantasies. A legacy of poor governance—from the 19th century sultanate deal-making with Europeans, to the colonial carve-ups of the 1885 Berlin Conference to the post-war protectorates—spawned major uprisings. If that weren’t enough, the last 20 years of being the U.N.’s favorite custodial state has resulted in a randomly selected viceroy bullying and cajoling Somalis towards that same colonial goal of a unified, democratic nation.

In early 2010, frustrated by America’s cold shoulder and the U.N.’s obsession with a Mogadishu-centric Somalia run by the incompetent Transitional Federal Government (TFG), Puntland’s President Abdirahman Farole sought help from his biggest trading partner: The United Arab Emirates. The tiny, but oil-rich maritime trading nation had a vested interest in keeping the growing legions of al-Shabab fighters funneling into Puntland away from their ships and shoreline. Within weeks, not years, millions of dollars began to flow to build Puntland’s security force.

In June 2012, two years after its creation, the UAE-funded PMPF—now with helicopters, ocean-going ships, construction battalions, and a massive base—was under pressure from Farole to become operational. He wanted the pirates cleared out by July. Coastal communities like Bargal, Bander Bayla, and Eyl were also pressuring Farole to support their homegrown efforts to expel pirates. The timing for the offensive was perfect: the monsoons that keep the pirates off the seas were about to set in; pirate crews would soon be coming off the oceans. This meant they would be much easier to reach as they chewed qat and consulted mystics about next season’s catch.

But the program had another, more-formidable enemy, the U.N.—specifically, the United Nations Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea (SEMG), a group that was created to document violations of the 20-year-old arms embargo in 2002 by warlord-run militias. The original SEMG reports were hampered by a lack of access on the ground and resulted in a dry accounting of militias and weapons. But with the hiring of Canadian/Somalilander and former International Crisis Group senior analyst Matthew Bryden in 2008, (a period that coincided with the growth of piracy and al-Shabab’s arrival in the north) the reports took on a bizarre and voluminous tone accusing both friend and foe of serious violations.

For example, in 2008 the SEMG accused the United States of violating the arms embargo by launching missile attacks against terrorist groups. Characterizing one such incident, Bryden’s team wrote: “The Monitoring Group considers all weapons delivered to Somalia a violation of the embargo, irrespective of the manner in which they were delivered.”

There’s a lot more to read, in a nice readable story format, so follow the link. And then somebody can tell me why I’m surprised that the UN is only making the situation worse?

PS - you’ll love this: AQ in Somalia with heat seeking anti-aircraft missiles. Wonderful.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 09/22/2012 at 06:54 PM   
Filed Under: • Pirates, aarrgh!United-Nations •  
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