Archive for the ‘Yemen’ Category

Overseas challenges cascade on Obama

February 9, 2009

As President Obama begins his fourth week in the White House, foreign rivals and erstwhile allies already have begun to challenge U.S. interests abroad.

On Friday, Pakistan – the recipient of billions of dollars in U.S. aid – released from house arrest Abdul Qadeer Khan, the nuclear scientist who for two decades ran a black market that sold nuclear-weapons technology to U.S. adversaries including Iran and Libya.

By Eli Lake
The Washington Times

Two days earlier, Kyrgyzstan announced that it would not renew a U.S. lease at the Manas air base, a critical transshipment point in the Afghanistan war. Meanwhile, the Russians – who offered Kyrgyzstan $2 billion in cash and loans to oust the Americans – said that they intend to establish a new base in a breakaway enclave of Georgia, the country Moscow invaded over the summer in response to a Georgian assault on another enclave.

If this were not enough, Iran last week launched a crude satellite into space, suggesting that the Islamic regime has mastered at least some of the technology for multistage, long-range missiles.

Finally, Yemen on Sunday announced that it had released 170 men arrested on suspicion of having ties to al Qaeda. Just two weeks earlier, the terrorist group called Yemen its base for the entire Arabian Peninsula.

While none of these events amounts to the foreign policy crisis that Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. said during the campaign would test the new president in his opening months, Mr. Obama’s reaction will shape foreign perceptions of the new U.S. leader’s mettle.

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Somali pirates target four ships in 24 hours

December 17, 2008

Somali pirates seized three ships and were narrowly thwarted from taking a fourth in one of the worst 24 hours of hijacking in the Gulf of Aden.

By Mike Pflanz
Telegraph (UK)
Two helicopters and a warship were deployed to help crew members of a Chinese cargo vessel who had barricaded themselves into their sleeping quarters after being boarded by nine heavily armed pirates.

The pirates fled after they were fired on from the helicopters, sent by a multinational naval force patrolling off Somalia. The crew of 30 on the Zenhua 4 were released unharmed.

“They were very fortunate, once the ship is boarded, it is very rare for them to fail to hijack it,” said Noel Choong, head of the piracy reporting centre at the International Maritime Bureau in Kuala Lumpur.

Earlier, an Indonesian tugboat, a Turkish cargo ship and a yacht were all hijacked in what was one of the most successful 24 hours for Somalia’s pirates.

The attacks came the day after the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution allowing foreign forces, including the British military, to pursue pirates on to Somali soil for the first time and use “all necessary measures that are appropriate in Somalia”.

File photo shows the French naval ship Commandant Bouan off ... 
File photo shows the French naval ship Commandant Bouan off the coast of Somalia during a mission. The UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution for the first time authorizing international land operations against audacious, armed pirates sheltering in Somalia.(AFP/Marine Nationale/Ho/File/Aurelie Fava)

This raises the possibility that US soldiers could return to Somalia for the first time since their disastrous pull-out following the deadly Black Hawk Down debacle, when 18 American soldiers died in Mogadishu.

The latest raids push the number of attempted hijackings in the waters between Somalia and Yemen to 124 this year.

China Warships Depart on Anti-Piracy Mission Near Somalia

December 17, 2008

Three Chinese warships departed their homeland today a seemingly minor and some say symbolic anti-piracy mission near Somalia.

But the “out of area” deployment of Naval Warships from China is really the first such adventure in hundreds of years.

China’s Naval Task Force Departs For Historic Near Africa Mission; International Hopes

The story below was prepared before the ships departed China:


In what would be the first active deployment of its warships beyond the Pacific, China appears set to send naval vessels to help in the fight against hijackers in the pirate-infested Gulf of Aden.

A vice foreign minister and a leading naval strategist were quoted in Chinese state media on Wednesday as saying that Beijing is close to mounting a naval mission in the gulf.

By Mark McDonald
The New York Times

China Launching First Long-Range Naval Mission Since 15th Century 

China Says Navy Force to Fight Somali Pirates

Type 052B Guangzhou in Leningrad.jpg
China has many warships well suited to anti-piracy patrol

“China is seriously considering sending naval ships to the Gulf of Aden and waters off the Somali coast for escorting operations in the near future,” said the Foreign Ministry official, He Yafei, quoted by Xinhua, the official Chinese news agency. His remarks came at a ministerial meeting of the United Nations Security Council.

Li Jie, a military strategist and naval expert, told the state-run China Daily that cooperating with a multinational force operating against East African pirates would be a “very good opportunity” for the Chinese Navy.

“Apart from fighting pirates,” he said, “another key goal is to register the presence of the Chinese Navy.”

The newspaper earlier this month said Maj. Gen. Jin Yinan, a military planner at the National Defense University, had conceived the Gulf of Aden plan. The paper quoted General Jin as saying that “the Chinese Navy should send naval vessels to the Gulf of Aden to carry out anti-piracy duties.”

“If one day the Chinese Navy sends ships to deal with pirates,” he said, “nobody should be shocked.”

Traditionally concerned with coastal defense, the People’s Liberation Army Navy has been undergoing a wide and rapid modernization program, especially in the bolstering of its submarine fleet. A long-range goal of the Chinese expansion has been the development of a blue-water navy capable of extended tours.


China Conducts Massive Anti-Piracy Drill; May Send Ships Near Somalia

Anti-Piracy: Where’s China’s Navy?

UN Approves Pursuit of Pirates Over Land, Into Somalia

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Indian Navy Captures 23 Somali, Yemeni Pirates

December 13, 2008

The Indian navy says it has arrested 23 Somali and Yemeni pirates who tried to storm a ship in the Gulf of Aden.

A navy spokesman said it had responded to a mayday call from MV Gibe, flying under the Ethiopian flag.

Several countries have warships patrolling the gulf amid growing international concern about piracy.

Meanwhile, US Defence Secretary Robert Gates said better intelligence was needed for a land attack on pirate bases to be considered.


Indian Navy ship INS Mysore apparently made today’s capture….

Mr Gates, speaking at a security conference in Bahrain, also called for shipping companies to do more to protect their vessels travelling through the Arabian Sean and Indian Ocean.

Arms cache

The Indian government said in a statement that the captured pirates had a cache of arms and equipment, including seven AK-47 assault rifles, three machine guns, and a rocket-propelled grenade launcher.

The pirates would be handed over to the appropriate authorities, the statement added.

Last month, India’s navy said it had sunk a pirate “mother vessel” off Somalia.

But it later emerged that the vessel was actually a Thai fishing trawler that had been seized by pirates off Yemen.

Better intelligence

Mr Gates told the security conference: “The need for increased maritime security and potentially new and better means of co-operation…

China Conducts Massive Anti-Piracy Drill; May Send Ships Near Somalia

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