Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Are Pirates the Problem, or the Solution?

There are very few people dying from piracy. The areas that are being governed by the pirate companies are functioning and less violent than areas where piracy does not exist, indeed pirate cities are thriving. The pirates are not only commercial in nature, but they are enemies of the Islamic extremists that represent the enemy of the United States. It sounds crazy to say, but the pirates are essentially the secular, liberal capitalists of Somalia, and the United States would prefer to deal WITH not AGAINST those types of people. Know your history, the Europeans preferred dealing with the Brashaws of the Barbary states than the alternative, the Islamic militant armies. We are essentially allowing the pirates to build themselves as regional Brashaws of Somalia with the ransom money from piracy, while the Islamists who remain violent are struggling for funding.

Related, Neo-neocon on the unforseen consequences of the US withdrawal from Somalia under Clinton, of which more in this 2002 New Yorker article by Lawrence Wright, The Man Behind Bin Laden:
In 1993, bin Laden dispatched Mohamed Atef to Somalia to look for ways of attacking the American military forces that were participating in an international famine-relief effort. Bin Laden gloried in the fact that his men had trained the Somali militiamen who shot down two American helicopters in the ‘Black Hawk Down’ incident, in October of that year, prompting President Clinton to withdraw all American soldiers from the country. “Based on the reports we received from our brothers in Somalia,” bin Laden said, “we learned that they saw the weakness, frailty, and cowardice of U.S. troops. Only eighteen U.S. troops were killed. Nonetheless, they fled in the heart of darkness.” 
Earlier post on Somalia and pirates here.

The above illustration is a sketch for my current Dutch book project.

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