Somalia: Western Imperialists Pursue Pirates

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June 6,2008: In Puntland, the army has sent troops to the coastal village where pirates are holding kidnapped ships. The soldiers do not want to free the ships and their crews, but want to make sure they get some of the ransom money. Foreign navies are going to have a hard time putting down the pirates, unless they attack the coastal villages where the pirates hang out. That will cause civilian casualties, which the pirates and local politicians will use as propaganda ("atrocities", "Western imperialism", "neo-colonialism" and so on). Finding pirates among the many small ships using the Gulf of Aden will not be easy.

June 5, 2008: The TNG is broke, as most foreign aid money has been cut off. That's because most of this cash (over $100 million in the last year or so), disappeared into warlords pockets, leaving aid projects and government employees unpaid.

June 4, 2008: Kenya has sent troops (including warplanes and helicopters) to the Somali border, to deal with recent ICU violence. This caused the ICU gunmen to return the Kenyan police vehicle, and four weapons taken from policemen. The three ICU men, who were entering Somalia via Kenya, were not returned. The ICU smuggles men, weapons and money in from Kenya. Iran is apparently supplying the ICU with cash.

June 3, 2008: Pirates in Puntland are demanding a $1.1 million to release the Dutch ship they seized on May 26th. The ship owners are only willing to pay $700,000. The Somali governments (the Transitional National Government, or TNG, Somaliland and Puntland) insist that if no ransoms were paid, the piracy would stop. But the pirates would probably murder crew members if that happened, and no ship owners are willing to accept the blowback from that.

June 2, 2008: The UN authorized foreign navies to enter Somali waters to pursue pirates. The U.S. and several European nations have warships in the area.

June 1, 2008: In Eritrea, where the ICU has established its headquarters-in-exile, moderate (willing to negotiate a peace deal) and radical (not willing to negotiate) factions are feuding over who should run the Islamic coalition. The moderates are in charge now, but the radicals see themselves as Gods anointed. The radicals insist that there be no peace talks until Ethiopian troops get out of Somalia. Ethiopia won't do that, because the ICU is supporting a rebellion in the Ethiopian Ogaden province.

May 31, 2008: On the Kenyan border, ICU gunmen attacked Kenyan police, who were taking three ICU men (two of them had been living in Britain) who were caught sneaking into Kenya, and trying to get to Somalia. One of the policemen was wounded, and their vehicle stolen.

May 28, 2008: In the north, off the coast of Puntland, pirates seized two more ships.

May 27, 2008: In the south, things got worse as gunmen from the Luwey clan showed up at peace negotiations between elders from the Luwey and Marehan clans. Five Marehan elders were killed and seven others wounded. This has prolonged the violence between the two clans. Attacking elders, particularly when they are trying to negotiate peace, is frowned upon, and quite rare.

May 26, 2008: In Mogadishu, Islamic Courts Union (ICU) gunmen attacked the base of the 2,400 African Union peacekeepers. The AU soldiers pursued the attackers, and killed two of them. At least ten civilians were also killed by the initial ICU mortar and machine-gun fire. In the north, off the coast of Puntland, pirates seized a Dutch ship, and its crew of nine.

 

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