Thursday, September 25, 2008

Somali Pirates: "Dangerous Waters"

This article Somali Pirates Turn Route to Suez Into `Most Dangerous' Waters by Gregory Viscusi, has some interesting quotes about the issue of Somali pirates, but too many of those quotes seem to me to be of the hand wringing "Oh who will save us" type.
Other countries have acted independently. Denmark sent the frigate Absalon to the area in August and seized a pirate ship. On Sept. 18, Kuala Lumpur-based MISC Bhd, the world's largest owner of liquefied natural gas tankers, lifted a two-week ban on its ships using the Suez Canal after Malaysia sent three naval escorts.

A June 2 Security Council resolution allows warships to enter Somali waters to combat pirates. The U.S., France, the Netherlands, Denmark, Canada, Germany, and the U.K. all have ships in the Indian Ocean supporting the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's military in Afghanistan. Some forces have rules against firing first.

``The French and the Danes have taken action, but other countries have rules of engagement that prevent them from being effective against piracy,'' Noakes said.
Well, we know from here how that Danish capture of a pirate crew has worked out. As I say in an update that post, "the question about what to do with any captured pirates should have been addressed before setting sail to patrol pirate infested waters with the intent to take on the pirates."

Worse, to my view, is the expression of concern made in some of the comments to the post that fear of the consequences of putting captured pirates on trial may have in European countries with substantial Muslim populations. As in this comment by "Foggy" -
Perhaps it's time for the UN to establish an international court for pirates, just as they have for war criminals. Then all captured pirates could be handed over to the international court... problem solved?

Coming from Denmarks even more PC and islamist-hugging neighbour, Sweden, I can understand the situation the Danish faced. With a rapidly growing muslim population (many from Somalia) it would have been a political nightmare for for some leading Danish politicians to prosecute those pirates...
You talk about "dangerous waters" - if this line of thinking is real - then the war against the pirates is lost before it has really begun.

If taking action against "enemies of all mankind," who murder innocent sailors, rob crews and ships and attack ships on the high seas is to be avoided because it might be seen as "anti-Muslim" then any nation so intimidated with fear that doing the right thing may cause internal strife might as well hang it up and go hide under their beds, hoping the UN or someone will take action to keep them safe. And, by the way, good luck with that.

What will happen next in such a country? Imagine if these pirates are Christian or animists- would there be the same level of concern?

You know better.

Blackmail succeeds in the face of fear to take action.

It seems odd that a couple of years ago some people were noting that under Islamic law imposed by the Islamic Courts Union during their short tenure running Somalia that Islamic law overpowers pirates off Somalia and that the reason attributed to this success was the swift and sure punishment threatened by the ICU:
The drop is attributed to threats by the ICU to punish anyone involved in piracy with either execution or amputation.
"Under the strict brand of justice currently imposed by the ICU, pirates, along with other thieves, are exposed to severe punishment. The Supreme Islamic Council of Somalia has made piracy a specific target. Officials assert that those convicted of piracy may now be sentenced to amputation or even to death."

Ibrahim Hassan Addou, the foreign minister in the Islamic administration, said piracy "has given Somalia a bad image around the world, and we needed to take steps against it. Such crime on the high seas can now carry the penalty of jail or the death sentence."
CTF 150 should take note.

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