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

    US-Russia Tensions Complicate Syria War

    With a shared enemy and opposing allies, Russia and the US are working to avoid confrontation

    Video Re-opening Old Wounds in Beirut's Bullet-riddled Yellow House

    Built in neo-Ottoman style in 1920s, it is set to be re-opened in Sept. as ‘memory museum’ - bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity

    Cambodian-Americans Lobby for Human Rights Resolution

    Resolution condemns all forms of political violence in Cambodia, urges Cambodian government to end human rights violations, calls for respect of press freedom

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora