Like it or not, one week ago Barack Obama authorized and achieved the execution of three Somali pirates.
Experts say the only way to stop the pirates is to establish and maintain a “rule of law” government in Somalia.
Like it or not, one week ago it seems, Somalia became Obama’s War, just as he has immersed America further into Afghanistan…..
But don’t take Newsweek at full value. After all, they’ve already called Afghanistan “Obama’s Vietnam”….
By Mark Hosenball
It was a hit with the U.S. public, but president Obama‘s decision to authorize the Pentagon to kill three Somali pirates who took an American sea captain hostage sent shudders through the world’s shipping and insurance industries. Because the pirates are motivated chiefly by money, maritime experts say, they have—at least until now—taken good care of the crews they hold captive. A document retrieved from a ship hijacked last year contained a “list of written rules” of conduct pirates had to follow, according to a maritime security expert who requested anonymity when discussing sensitive material. The document included a series of “punishments” to be imposed on any hijacker who struck a hostage.
Shipping companies and insurers are far more likely to fork over large ransoms if they have confidence that their personnel and cargo will be released unharmed, and while the scourge of piracy has been disruptive, so far there have been virtually no casualties among innocent people. According to estimates, there were 111 pirate attacks off the Somali coast in 2008; 42 were successful, resulting in the capture of 815 seamen. As of last week, according to one estimate, all but 37 had been released, and two had died—one reportedly of illness. Experts say the rate of attacks has increased sharply this year, and “the more [authorities] shoot, the more the pirates will shoot back,” says Tom Wilson, a Somalia analyst for the British consulting firm Control Risks.
Protecting the 23,000 merchant vessels sailing annually near the Horn of Africa would require a naval fleet of at least 60 ships, according to U.S. government and private experts; the existing international antipiracy task force has about 20. And attacking the Somali coastal villages where the pirates are based could potentially radicalize generations of Somalis. “That would be a 19th-century solution,” says Neil Roberts, a marine insurance expert with Lloyd’s Market Association in London. Industry experts say the only solution to piracy is the creation of a viable Somali government back on dry land.
Read the rest:
From The New York Times:
For Mr. Obama, the episode ended successfully with the precision takedown of three pirates with three bullets and the recovery of Captain Phillips generally unharmed.
But the operation on the waters off the Horn of Africa may presage a more complicated challenge for a president already trying to end a war in Iraq and win another in Afghanistan. Somali pirates have vowed to take revenge on Americans, and they have demonstrated in recent months their ability to seize ships from all sorts of countries with impunity.