Good Company

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Thursday, May 24, 2007

Somalia: Death by piracy

Someday the following might be an epitaph over the bones of thousands in Somalia:
The Ogaden War of 1977-78 between Somalia and Ethiopia and the consequent refugee influx forced Somalia to depend for its economic survival on humanitarian handouts.
And now, the UN wants someone -anyone- to come to the rescue of struggling Somalis again. Aid ships have been attacked and are now refusing to sail without protection - see here.

StrategyPage calls it about right:
The UN has suspended food shipments, by ship, to Somalia, in an effort to force the U.S. Navy to take action against the pirates. The UN hasn't come right out and demanded that American warships intervene, but the Americans are the only ones with the capabilities and will. Some other European navies have warships in the area, but they are even less likely to get involved. The media would be all over any operations against the pirates, and the sailors risk getting accused of killing innocent civilians. Most nations are risk averse when it comes to Somalia, thus the safest thing to do is nothing, and be quiet about it as well.
So, thousands of people have their lives at risk because of the threat of a handful of kidnapping thugs who eek out an existence through collecting ransom from shipowners, fear of adverse media and the fact that no one really wants to get stuck in Somalia.

Somalia is just too hard to help.

UPDATE: Re the Ogaden War and here.

UPDATE2: On point.

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