Saturday, 18 April 2009

Pirates Are People Too…!

Daniela Kroslak in the ‘Independent’ is quick to point out that the outbreaks of piracy off the coast of Somalia are not, as you might have expected, the result of opportunistic criminals, but the fault of the western world’s failure to yet again share their wealth with the deserving third world.

Oh, and of course, America:
Living in the West, you could be forgiven for thinking that Somalia was little more than a dark and dangerous pirate theme park where American ship captains and US special forces go to gain their 15 minutes of fame.
Yes, I’m sure that’s why they rescued those hostages – the CNN appearances.

Hard though it may be to understand, sweetie, but when criminals take hostages and threaten international trading routes, some people aren’t prepared to immediately look to see how they can ‘understand’ and appease them, in order to keep themselves in a safe, secure, well paid job.

But please, continue telling us all how it’s everyone else’s fault that these poor souls are driven to a life of crime:
But piracy off the coast of the Horn of Africa is merely a symptom, not the disease. The underlying issue is that the world has left Somalia to fester as a failed state for 18 years.
Why is it the responsibility of ‘the world’ to resolve the problems of Somalia? It’s a sovereign country. Let it resolve its own problems.

But it seems that there’s nothing that can’t be resolved by having well-paid ‘crisis workers’ on the ground promising aid money to prevent people from having to break maritime laws:
The epicentre of the problem manifested in the piracy upsurge is the semi-autonomous region of Puntland. After being a relative success story within Somalia, Puntland risks becoming another failure. The international community needs to focus on training a coastguard and security forces more widely and engage with pirate groups to draw them into a refashioned security sector.

This has to go hand-in-hand with an economic rescue package that would revive Puntland and create an alternative for those drawn to piracy out of sheer survival.
Or as we prefer to call it in the unenlightened west, ‘protection money’.

Seriously, how is this different from paying the Mafia to not burn your business down? If I employ Rentokil for a vermin problem, I expect them to find and exterminate the vermin, not provide them with an alternative food source somewhere else.
The international community should also draw up a list of individuals who pull the strings of the piracy business, undercut their distribution systems and threaten travel bans and legal procedures against those – the majority, in fact – who have dual Somali/Western nationality.
Who are we talking about here, then? Don’t play coy – name names!
Instead of conducting military operations that would give the pirates and the insurgency a common cause, the international community should bring radicals to the negotiation table and be willing to make concessions to them for the benefit of peace, if and when they abandon their aggressive anti-government campaign.
Sorry, sweetie, but I think we here in the west prefer to reduce the numbers of vermin, rather than encourage them to act less verminous (for a short time) with tempting offers of other people’s money.

It’s a shame if that means that there will be less need for ‘crisis negotiators’ in future, but it’s a tough world…


Rob Farrington said...

Yes, and if we only gave the pirates the opportunity to earn a honest wage through farming or fishing, for instance, then they'd totally reject the idea of earning millions of dollars for what they see as a few days' work.

Those pirates could have potentially been upstanding pillars of their local community, if it hadn't been for those fascistic Navy Seals wanting to get themselves on TV.

Oh, those Americans...the source of all the worlds' ills...*sigh*.

JuliaM said...

It's rather reminiscent of the line 'If we keep killing terrorists, we'll just have more of them', isn't it?

Just as wrong, too.

marc said...

How about instead we emulate the Indian Navy and just blow them out of the water whenever we come across them?
Alternatively why not require any ship steaming through that area to carry a heavily armed platoon of Marines/Paras/SF from whichever country they are flying the flag of?
See the pirates, kill the pirates and to hell with their 'human rights'.

Anonymous said...

I am afraid that there is only one tried and tested method of bringing piracy under control. It does not involve a "cum by yah" meeting or understanding the feelings of pirates. It involves their extermination, at sea and then on land.
Their lairs are surrounded and the occupants sifted (literally in at least one historical case). The only "liberal" approach involves the Liberal use of firepower.
It has two, arguably three, economic benefits.
1 It boosts OUR economy as trade is secure.
2 It boosts OUR economy as BAE Royal Ordinance gets bigger orders for ammunition.
3 It boosts THEIR economy as the survivors/more intelligent try actual work and gain from trade.
In the latter case, I accept that we will all be hard pressed to name anything useful in Somalia!
Sorry but I really can't think of one. :(
Oh and we get a half way decent Navy as well!

Jeeves said...

This is the most phenomanally naive, short sighted post I have read in months.

No on with even the slightest knowledge of international affairs could have reached the bizarre and alarming conclusions you have managed.

"Why is it the responsibility of ‘the world’ to resolve the problems of Somalia? It’s a sovereign country. Let it resolve its own problems."

Somalia is about as far removed from a sovereign country as it is possible for a nation to be. Its not automatically the fault of the west which seems to be your principle bugbear but suggesting that piracy is the result of a lazy government that cannot keep its own house in order beggars belief. The only authority (pirates aside) in Somalia are islamic fundamentalists and tribal warlords both of whom are probably sponsoring piracy as a source of additional funds.

Military force could have limited effects but is nothing more than a short term strategy aimed at managing the problem. It will not avoid and would probably add to the deaths of innocent merchant sailors and passengers (or to whichever anonymous lunatic was responsible for comment 4 - collateral damage).

I'm not saying I agree with the particular piece you are criticising but their conclusions are streets ahead of your own.

The only possibility at a long term soltion is to bring strong central government to Somalia, which will require a collective effort from the international community, considerable international investment in infrastructure and unfortunately, quite likely engaging with criminal groups.

Anyone who is interested in an analysis of this issue which is closer to reality I offer my own humble musings as a riposte

Von Spreuth said...

those drawn to piracy out of sheer survival.So poor that they have to wander around flea markets to buy their Kalashnikovs?

Regardless of the initial "need" to spontanioiusly be criminal scum, they are now, thanks to tanker companies, and other shipping lines being weak kneed, lilly livered, scum bag cowards, worth MILLIONS.

Von Brandenburg-Preußen.

Von Spreuth. said...

As an after thought, are these scum the same kind of "desperate to survive "poor"" as the slime bags that can afford thousands of dollars to pay to "people smugglers" to get them into the U.S and Europe, and then do it again and again, when they get caught and are "Sent back to go", as if it is some sort of "snakes and ladders" game?

Von Brandenburg-Preußen.