The Obama administration is concerned about a private military force aimed at combating piracy in northern Somalia’s semiautonomous Puntland region because there are unanswered questions about who is behind the operation.
Is this a 3rd or 4th front on the war on terror?
‘Four months ago, during the monsoon rains, we decided to set up this stock exchange. We started with 15 “maritime companies” and now we are hosting 72. Ten of them have so far been successful at hijacking,’ Mohammed [a wealthy former pirate who took a Reuters reporter to the facility] said
Blackwater is now receiving inquiries from dozens of new clients, mainly shipping companies and shipping insurance companies. All of them want the same thing: for Blackwater mercenaries to guide their freighters and tankers safely past Somalia, through the world’s most dangerous waters, the hunting grounds of bands of pirates armed with Kalashnikovs and grenade launchers, attacking anything that comes into their sights.
Corporate mercenaries fighting peasant pirates in international waters. What could possibly go wrong? My prediction is that in the next couple of years, we will hear about Blackwater mercenaries behaving like pirates off the coast of Somalia. They will be accused of shooting at and conducting raids on fishing boats and other small vessels they suspect of being pirates.
Despite their impressive exploits of late—seizing oil platforms off the coast of Nigeria and, memorably, firing rockets at a cruise ship off Somalia—modern maritime pirates have been robbed of the mystique that once made them stars of the criminal underworld. A steady increase over the last decade in the number of thefts, hijackings, and killings at sea, along with a disingenuous PR campaign led by the United States, have put pirates in company with al-Qaida. It’s a bum rap.
GWOP. The Global War on Pirates. Argh. I guess Pirates are the new Mobsters much how Belly dancing is the new Yoga and smart phones are the new iPods.