April 8, 2011: If things weren't bad enough off the coast of Somalia, they just got worse. Until recently, all the pirate gangs had set up in shop in the north (Puntland and Somaliland), where there was less chaos, and the pirates were less likely to be harassed by warlords and Islamic fanatics. But one port in the south, Haradhere, has become a pirate base. No one will fully explain this, although it appears to be some personal differences among pirate gang bosses, plus the idea of not putting all those captured ships at just two places up north. That makes it too easy for the American and French commandoes stationed in Djibouti to make a raid to liberate all the captured ships anchored up north.
So now, at least ten percent of the ships and captives are held down at Haradhere. And that's where things get complicated. In order to be safe at Haradhere, the pirates had to make a deal with the local Islamic radicals (first Hizbul Islam, then, after some fighting, al Shabaab) to pay 20 percent of any ransoms obtained (from ships anchored at Haradhere) to the Islamic terrorists. That, technically, is illegal, as it provides material support to terrorists, So far, lawyers, judges and prosecutors are only muttering about this, but it could get worse.