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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Somali Pirates: Terrorist Connections Alleged

This time the Somali pirate-terrorist connection link allegations come from India. As set out in Somali pirate-LeT tie-up is BIG threat for India:
The coming together of Lashkar-e-Tayiba and southern Somalia-based Al-Shahbab poses new maritime protection issues for India.
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Intelligence sources told rediff.com that the Al-Shahbab group has links with the Al Qaeda and carries out the latter's operations. The cadres of this group specialise more on sea and have been using the pirates for their operations.
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The detail that has been most revealing during the interrogation of these pirates is that the Al-Shahbab group, which has been closely associated with the Al Qaeda, is now cozying up to the Lashkar-e-Tayiba, which is probably India's biggest headache.

Intelligence reports suggest that the Lashkar-Al-Shahbab association will look to carry out more attacks on Indian waters and one could witness plenty of hostage crisis' in the near future, if not acted upon.
For those who don't remember, Lashkar-e-Tayiba (LeT) ("Soldiers of the Pure") is the group from Pakistan was the group that landed people ashore in Mumbai and killed 174 people.

As alleged in an American Shipper quoted yesterday:
“The Somali pirates are exploring further collaboration with the remnants of the Tamil Tigers out of Sri Lanka who in the past have sold weapons to them via Eritrea, and now our greatest fear is a coordinated assault between the Somali pirates and the remnants of the Tamil Sea Tigers against commercial navigation in the waters south of India and Sri Lanka,” Frodl said.
Before thinking that these connections may be about spreading terrorism on the seas, it is a good idea to read a post from Martin Murphy's excellent blog Murphy on Piracy, Pirate money flows to al-Shabaab in which, as of July, Mr. Murphy was of the opinion that the al-Shabaab link to pirates was about the money, not the spread of whatever al-Shabaab is spreading. In the context of some link up with the Tamil Tigers, this money connection makes sense, as the Tigers are not radical Islamists.

The concern is that these connections - and others- will lead to a spread of piracy into more sea lines of communication and chokepoints.  Right now, the entrance/exit to the Red Sea, the  Bab el-Mandab and the entrance/exit to the Persian Gulf are most impacted by piracy (that's where the ships are!), a spread to the east brings into play the entrance/exit to the Strait of Malacca.

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