Archive for the ‘Horn of Africa’ Category

Somalia Pirates Mark Nation Near Collapse

December 20, 2008

The Bush administration inherited a mess in strategic Somalia and may be leaving President-elect Barack Obama with a worse one.

The explosion of piracy off Somalia’s coast is an attention-grabbing product of internal chaos in the Horn of Africa country, and a problem that will outlast the administration’s success this past week in winning U.N. backing for possible pirate-hunting raids on Somali territory.

“We have a framework in place now to deal with this issue, but it’s not going to be a very easy one,” State Department spokesman Robert Wood said.

By ANNE GEARAN, AP Military Writer

FILE---Dutch cargo ships the MV Stolt Innovation, in the foreground, ...

Wood meant that there is more to do to combat piracy, and indeed Somali gunmen seized two more ships the day the Security Council voted unanimously to authorize nations to conduct land and air attacks on pirate bases on Somali coast.

Bandits are taking over more and larger ships and ranging farther from land to do it. Last month they seized a Saudi oil tanker carrying $100 million worth of crude.

The larger problem, however, is the hollowness of nearly every institution that makes a working country, despite more than 15 years of international help. The Somali pirates may be bandits and thugs, but they also are entrepreneurs making do in a place without a functioning government, laws or normal commerce.

RNPS IMAGES OF THE YEAR 2008  The Liberian-flagged oil tanker ...
The Liberian-flagged oil tanker MV Sirius Star is shown at anchor on November 19, 2008, off the coast of Somalia. The Saudi supertanker was hijacked by Somali pirates November 15, was seized 450 nautical miles southeast of Mombasa, Kenya, and forced to proceed to anchorage near Harardhere, Somalia. REUTERS/Aviation Warfare Systems Operator 2nd Class William S. Stevens-US Navy/Handout

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