News / Africa

Deterring Somali Piracy Through Development

In this U.S. Navy photo, pirates leave the Ukrainian merchant vessel MV Faina for Somalia's shore Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2008 while under observation by a U.S. Navy ship. The MV Faina, which was carrying a cargo of Ukrainian T-72 tanks and related military eq
In this U.S. Navy photo, pirates leave the Ukrainian merchant vessel MV Faina for Somalia's shore Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2008 while under observation by a U.S. Navy ship. The MV Faina, which was carrying a cargo of Ukrainian T-72 tanks and related military eq
Joe DeCapua

The U.N. Security Council recently adopted a resolution calling for tougher anti-piracy measures off the Somali coast. One expert says deterring piracy requires a land-based solution with grassroots support.

Assistant U.N. Secretary-General for Political Affairs Taye-Brook Zerihoun recently described international efforts to stop Somali pirates as “unprecedented.” Nevertheless, he said those efforts are “insufficient” and called for greater emphasis on deterrence, security, rule of law and development.

Action, not just words

“Excellent statements. Question is, what’s going to be delivered to make those things happen? And he’s right. I mean in many ways he occupies a bully pulpit, doesn’t he. He’s the sort of person who tries to exhort states to do something. He hasn’t got any assets of his own and he needs to draw states into this problem to try and find a solution,” said Dr. Martin Murphy, senior fellow at the Atlantic Council of the United States Ansari Africa Center.

“I think the international community, the international navies, are holding things at the moment. In fact, I’m slightly surprised that the number of attacks hasn’t increased dramatically now that the current monsoon season is over. And therefore, one suspects they’re doing something right or something’s changing on the land in Somalia. And to be honest I don’t know what that might be,” he said.

What works, what doesn’t

Murphy expects attempted ship hijackings in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean to increase as European countries withdraw their patrol vessels.

“They’ve got so many other claims on their time. Libya has drawn off a lot of assets and European nations are under fiscal pressure now and they’re cutting their fleets. They’re cutting their government budgets, which is obviously going to happen here, as well. It’s going to affect the United States Navy. It’s happening with the European navies earlier and frankly those assets are not being sent back to the Indian Ocean,” he said.

But while international patrols certainly have deterred some attacks, other methods have proven more effective.

“To be honest, I think the most powerful deterrent has not been the navies. It has been the protected [sic] measures that the ships are taking and the rapid increase in the number of armed guards. The latest figure that’s been suggested to me is that maybe up to 35 percent of ships transiting the Indian Ocean Basin are now carrying armed detachments. You know, that is the thing that’s keeping successful hijacks down, although it won’t obviously particularly affect the number of attacks that take place,” he said.

However, Murphy said use of armed guards, although successful, is not popular among sailors or maritime industry officials.

“The sailors don’t want it because they didn’t go to sea to be fired upon, to have to cower in a fire fight. And the ship owners didn’t go to sea to have to carry this additional financial burden,” he said.

Comprehensive approach

A land-based solution, he says, is what’s needed. He proposes a development policy that bypasses government officials and goes directly to community and clan levels. This includes women and business groups and local mosques.

“It’s very important to look at the whole area that piracy is affecting and say those are the stable or semi-stable areas. Those are the areas where we can do development work. Those are the areas where we can get bottom-up projects going. Bottom-up, stress that. It’s not going to be top down through the government where we’ve tried so many times before and they’ve failed or been corrupted or led to disputes. We need to get down into that bottom level,” he said.

In addition, he said, well-known piracy kingpins need to be targeted at their regional bases. Murphy says arresting or even killing pirates at sea won’t solve the problem.

“We’re picking up, frankly, the expendable, and they are expandable, because apparently lots of young men in Somalia are actually dying. They go out at sea and the boat sinks and they don’t get anywhere. We must stop thinking that we can stop piracy by picking up these expendable foot soldiers. There [are] just too many of them. We don’t have the capacity to keep them. It’s the kingpins that are driving this and the economic circumstances that are driving it that we really need to tackle,” he said.

Most nations now view piracy as a criminal act and prefer to address it through the rule of law, not by sinking ships.

Murphy said Somalia is a weak and failed state, and not addressing its security and development issues will only allow problems to fester. He said one example of this is the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. He recommends looking at the problems faced by the entire Horn of Africa.

You May Like

Video Positive Messaging Helps Revamp Ethiopia's Image

In country once connected with war, poverty, famine, headlines now focus on fast-growing economy, diplomatic reputation More

Russian Activist Thinks Kremlin Ordered Nemtsov's Death

Alexei Navalny says comments of Russian liberals who think government wasn't involved are 'nonsense.' More

Video Land Disputes Rise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Imagei
X
Marthe van der Wolf
March 03, 2015 9:03 PM
Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.
Video

Video Land Disputes Arise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Ugandan police say there has been a sharp increase in land disputes, with 10 new cases being reported each day. The claims come amid an oil boom as investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers. Meanwhile, the people who have been living on the land for decades are chased away, sometimes with a heavy hand. VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
Video

Video In Russia, Many Doubt Opposition Leader's Killer Will Be Found

The funeral has been held in Moscow for Boris Nemtsov, the opposition leader who was assassinated late Friday just meters from the Kremlin. Nemtsov joins a growing list of outspoken critics of Russia under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin who are believed to have been murdered for their work. VOA’s Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Simulated Astronauts Get Taste of Mars, in Hawaii

For generations, people have dreamed of traveling to Mars to explore Earth's closest planetary neighbor. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that while space agencies like NASA are planning manned missions to the planet, some volunteers in Hawaii are learning how humans will cope with months in isolation on a Mars base.
Video

Video Destruction of Iraq Artifacts Shocks Archaeologists

The city of Mosul was once one of the most culturally rich and religiously diverse cities in Iraq. That tradition is under attack by members of the Islamic State who have made Mosul their capital city. The Mosul Museum is the latest target of the group’s campaign of terror and destruction, and is of grave concern to archaeologists around the world. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More