Monday, April 20, 2009

Fighting Somali pirates

"As the American skipper once held hostage by pirates reached dry land here Thursday aboard a U.S. warship and his 19-man crew received a heroes' welcome in the United States, the source of the piracy plague in the Indian Ocean -- Somalia -- said it could help fight the problem. Somali Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke told McClatchy that aggressive actions by foreign navies -- such as Sunday's high-seas U.S. Navy assault that freed ship captain Richard Phillips after five days in captivity -- could at best be a stopgap measure against piracy. Its roots are on Somali soil, he said, and the Somali government, though desperately weak, could attack pirate bases and money networks with a little more financial help from foreign donors.
''We have information on how they do business,'' Sharmarke said of eight pirate ''cartels'' that Somali officials had identified. ``We can stop them before they go into the water.'' "

That would be great news if there actually was a Somali government. Unfortunately, the "government of Somalia" is whichever militia gets enough foreign backing to seize the capital. "Somalia" no longer exists - - it's a collection of feudal style fiefs ruled by various thugs with private armies. And, like late Tudor England, they fund their feudal estates with the profits from piracy on the seas.

When will people realize that we're dealing with enemies who live in another century?

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