Monday, December 15, 2008

Somali Pirates: Shore fight needs more intel

Ignore the stupid headline - Gates says U.S. lacks intelligence to fight Somalia pirates - and concentrate on the message:
The United States lacks the intelligence needed to pursue the fight against pirates on Somali soil, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said on Saturday.

His comments came days after the U.S. delegation at the United Nations circulated a draft resolution that would give countries the right to pursue pirates on land as well as at sea.

Analysts say that pursuing pirates on land is crucial to any military response to attacks that have targeted dozens of ships in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean in recent months.

"With the level of information we have at the moment, we're not in a position to do that kind of land-based operation," Gates told a regional security conference in Bahrain. "Our first need is intelligence, (to know) who is behind it."

Referring to media reports that "two to three clans or extended families" were behind the pirate attacks on ships off the Somali coast, Gates said: "If we can identify who those clans are then we can operate on land under the auspices of the United Nations and seek out ways to minimize collateral damage."

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