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Thread: More Piracy Near Somalia

  1. #621
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    Default Sure is ....

    from JMA
    Is there not a name for the people who seek out this adventure/danger?
    ... "unprotected combatants", "unprotected belligerents", "unprivileged combatants", "unprivileged belligerents". So also for the pirates.

    You can look it all up and add the citations.

    Regards

    Mike

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    Default If we had the will

    If we had the political will to solve this problem, which we arguably don't at the moment, what kind of strategy do you think would be ideal? Allowing private security contractors to carry heavy weapons? Conducting a full blown peace operation? Shifting most of our diplomatic energy from Mogadishu to Puntland? Training a coast guard?

    David Axe recently wrote an interesting article that discusses how the overall strategy is failing. Maj Gen Tom Wilkerson, CEO of USNI, says
    We could use the same techniques that are helping us take out terrorists in Afghanistan and Pakistan to take out pirates in Somalia.
    I found his statement to be thought-provoking. Would a "CT" strategy, similar to how we saw Gen McChrystal and Adm McRaven using in Afghanistan, work against Somalian pirates? Or, would this be inefficient as the pirates tend to be more similar to an organized crime group?

    Thoughts?
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 04-28-2011 at 10:59 AM. Reason: Citation in quotes. PM to author.

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    huskerguy7,

    The problem is that the pirates currently hold over 500 hundred prisoners from a variety of nations. Any action against the pirates will put those people at risk and I think any country would be pretty pissed off if it's hostages were executed in response to a unilateral US action.

    So there are any number of possible courses of action against the pirates, including the one you link to. However, one must also consider the downsides to any option and so far they've all got some pretty big downsides.
    Supporting "time-limited, scope limited military actions" for 20 years.

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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jmm99 View Post
    ... "unprotected combatants", "unprotected belligerents", "unprivileged combatants", "unprivileged belligerents". So also for the pirates.

    You can look it all up and add the citations.

    Regards

    Mike
    I was thinking more along the lines of War Tourism and to a lesser extent Extreme Tourism

  5. #625
    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    Default Potato Guns to the rescue

    Courtesy of the SWJ twitter feed thing, here is a link to a story about a compressed air cannon meant to protect merchantmen from the restless youth of the coast of the area that used to be Somalia.

    http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/245629

    This thing can launch clusters of golf balls at 450 mph. It is cool in a boys toys sort of way. It is interesting in that the world may be inching toward letting the merchantmen defend themselves, eventually maybe with lethal force.

    It is also interesting in that it is reminiscent of the Holman Projector, which the British also invented.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

  6. #626
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    A lot cheaper than one of the UK's leading cruise ships on a world cruise recently, which when in the Indian Ocean danger zone banned passengers from the promenade decks, deployed protective items, travelled at high speed 24/7, reduced lighting at night and more importantly had a 100+ Ghurkhas and a smaller number of Royal Marines aboard. Unclear if the manpower was on hire or serving.(All information second hand).
    davidbfpo

  7. #627
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Tracking your targets

    Some three weeks ago JMM asked on locating data on US shipping affected by piracy and Entropy offered some pointers. Courtesy of a story on a cruise ship disabled in the Baltic:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worl...r-failure.html I found a ship tracking website:http://www.vesseltracker.com/en/static/Company.html and home page:http://www.vesseltracker.com/app

    For a relatively small subscription you can track vessels.

    I was not aware that the internationally mandated Automatic Identification System (AIS) means all vessels over 300 tonnes report location plus, for more see:http://www.vesseltracker.com/en/stat...html#wasistais

    Admittedly some ship captains turn their AIS off at times (from a Swedish observer).
    davidbfpo

  8. #628
    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    Here is an item from Information Dissemination based on a Navy Times article about the crew of a U.S. Navy helo destroying a pirate skiff and killing 4 pirates as they were attacking a merchantman.

    http://www.informationdissemination....#disqus_thread

    It appears the pirate's life is getting a bit more dangerous as the weeks pass.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

  9. #629
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    Default "Extended Unit Self Defense",

    as used by the Royal Navy person, is probably something of a misnomer in US SROE terms (emphasis added):

    Enclosure A
    .....
    5. Definitions

    a. Inherent Right of Self-Defense. A commander has the authority and obligation to use all necessary means available and to take all appropriate actions to defend that commander's unit and other US forces in the vicinity from a hostile act or demonstration of hostile intent. Neither these rules, nor the supplemental measures activated to augment these rules, limit this inherent right and obligation. At all times, the requirements of necessity and proportionality, as amplified in these SROE, will form the basis for the judgment of the on-scene commander (OSC) or individual as to what constitutes an appropriate response to a particular hostile act or demonstration of hostile intent.

    b. National Self-Defense. Defense of the United States, US forces, and, in certain circumstances, US nationals and their property, and/or US commercial assets. National self-defense may be exercised in two ways: first, it may be exercised by designated authority extending protection against a hostile act or demonstrated hostile intent to US nationals and their property, and/or designated US commercial assets [in this case, US forces will respond to a hostile act or demonstrated hostile intent in the same manner they would if the threat were directed against US forces]; second, it may be exercised by designated authority declaring a foreign force or terrorist(s) hostile [in this case, individual US units do not need to observe a hostile act or determine hostile intent before engaging that force or terrorist(s)].

    c. Collective Self-Defense. The act of defending designated non-US forces, and/or designated foreign nationals and their property from a hostile act or demonstrated hostile intent. Unlike national self-defense, the authority to extend US protection to designated non-US forces, foreign nationals and their property may not be exercised below the NCA level. Similar to unit self-defense and the extension of US forces protection to US nationals and their property and/or commercial assets, the exercise of collective self-defense must be based on an observed hostile act or demonstrated hostile intent.

    d. Unit Self-Defense. The act of defending a particular US force element, including individual personnel thereof, and other US forces in the vicinity, against a hostile act or demonstrated hostile intent.
    So, technically (since the attacked ship was "German-owned, Panamanian-flagged crude carrier Artemis Glory"), the SROE category is "Collective Self-Defense". That is very similar to unit self-defense and the extension of protection to US nationals and their property and/or commercial assets.

    The bottom line (and answer to the question asked by the blogger re: "Extended Unit Self-Defense?") is that it's really "Collective Self-Defense"; and it requires POTUS or SecDef approval of the extension (which could be general extending to all US warships; or particular granted only in this case).

    Regards

    Mike

  10. #630
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    Default SROE 2005 Update

    Before someone (justifiably) jumps my a$$, the SROEs were revised and somewhat streamlined, 2010 Operational Law Handbook (pp.93-94) quoting CJCSI 3121.01B 13 June 2005, Enclosure A:

    3. Definitions and Authorities.

    a. Inherent Right of Self-Defense. Unit commanders always retain the inherent right and obligation to exercise unit self-defense in response to a hostile act or demonstrated hostile intent. Unless otherwise directed by a unit commander as detailed below, military members may exercise individual self-defense in response to a hostile act or demonstrated hostile intent. When individuals are assigned and acting as part of a unit, individual self-defense should be considered a subset of unit self-defense. As such, unit commanders may limit individual self-defense by members of their unit. Both unit and individual self-defense includes defense of other U.S. military forces in the vicinity.

    b. National Self-Defense. Defense of the United States, U.S. forces, and, in certain circumstances, U.S. persons and their property, and/or U.S. commercial assets from a hostile act or demonstration of hostile intent. Unit commanders may exercise National Self-Defense, as authorized in Appendix A to Enclosure A, paragraph 3.

    c. Collective Self-Defense. Defense of designated non-U.S. military forces and/or designated foreign nationals and their property from a hostile act or demonstrated hostile intent. Only the President or SecDef may authorize collective self-defense.

    d. Declared Hostile Force. Any civilian, paramilitary or military force or terrorist(s) that has been declared hostile by appropriate U.S. authority. Policy and procedures regarding the authority to declare forces hostile are provided in Appendix A to Enclosure A, paragraph 3.

    e. Hostile Act. An attack or other use of force against the United States, U.S. forces or other designated persons or property. It also includes force used directly to preclude or impede the mission and/or duties of U.S. forces, including the recovery of U.S. personnel or vital USG property.

    f. Hostile Intent. The threat of imminent use of force against the United States, U.S. forces or other designated persons or property. It also includes the threat of force to preclude or impede the mission and/or duties of U.S. forces, including the recovery of U.S. personnel or vital USG property.

    g. Imminent Use of Force. The determination of whether the use of force against U.S. forces is imminent will be based on an assessment of all facts and circumstances known to U.S. forces at the time and may be made at any level. Imminent does not necessarily mean immediate or instantaneous.
    The substance did not change from 2000 to 2005.

    Both the 2000 and 2005 SROEs have a specific provision dealing with piracy (bold emphasis added):

    2000 - (5) Piracy. US warships and aircraft have an obligation to repress piracy on or over international waters directed against any vessel, or aircraft, whether US or foreign flagged and are authorized to employ all means necessary to repress piratical acts. For ships and aircraft repressing an act of piracy, the right and obligation of self defense extends to persons, vessels, or aircraft assisted. If a pirate vessel or aircraft fleeing from pursuit proceeds into the territorial sea, archipelagic waters, or superjacent airspace of another country, every effort should be made to obtain the consent of the coastal state prior to continuation of the pursuit.

    2005 - d. Piracy. U.S. warships and aircraft have an obligation to repress piracy on or over international waters directed against any vessel or aircraft, whether U.S. or foreign flagged. For ship and aircraft commanders repressing an act of piracy, the right and obligation of unit self-defense extend to the persons, vessels or aircraft assisted. Every effort should be made to obtain the consent of the coastal state prior to continuation of the pursuit if a fleeing pirate vessel or aircraft proceeds into the territorial sea, archipelagic waters or airspace of that country.
    Given this specific "piracy" SROE, the need to speak in terms of "Extended Unit Self-Defense" now puzzles me as well.

    Regards

    Mike

  11. #631
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Somali pirate: 'We're not murderers... we just attack ships'

    An unusual storyline and probably a first here:
    Jay Bahadur, the author of Deadly Waters: Inside the Hidden World of Somalia's Pirates, meets Abdullahi Abshir – a man who claims to have hijacked more than 25 ships in the Gulf of Aden.
    Link to article:http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011...-somali-piracy

    The book is due to be released May 28th 2011.

    A publishers summary:
    What are the lives of modern day pirates like outside of the attack skiffs? How do they spend their money? What clothes do they wear and what is their drug of choice? Deadly Waters takes us to the heart of Somalia, where Jay Bahadur, the intrepid 25-year-old author has ventured where most journalists fear to tread. As the 'go to' journalist for all major media, and with unparalleled access to all the major players, from government officials to local residents - and of course the pirates themselves - Bahadur sets out to discover who is behind the masked menaces who appear on the news. Exploring the politics and history of the self-governing region of Puntland, Bahadur looks at the challenges facing this troubled mini-state as piracy rises - and examines how the UN and other bodies are attempting to deal with the scourge of every sea-faring nation. Evocative and incisive, Deadly Waters is a highly original analysis of the international pirate crisis.
    davidbfpo

  12. #632
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    Default Yachting in the Indian Ocean

    Despite the growing plague of Somali piracy, scores of sailors have taken yachts into the dangerous waters off the Horn of Africa this year, and at least three have been attacked. The BBC's Daniel Nasaw in Washington talks to sailors who have faced the voyage and those offering ways of protecting them.
    Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-13057869
    davidbfpo

  13. #633
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    Default Migrating southwards?

    The BBC reports that South Africa and Mozambique have signed an agreement for joint patrols along Mozambique's 1530 mile long coast, which implies Somali pirate activity:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-13628132

    None of the maps I've seen show activity that far south to date.
    davidbfpo

  14. #634
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    Interesting development...

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp...f3278101ce.ed1

    Britons, US citizen handed long jail terms in Somalia

    MOGADISHU — Six foreigners including three Britons and an American were jailed for between 10 and 15 years in Somalia after the seizure of a small aircraft carrying $3.6 million allegedly destined to be paid as ransom to Somali pirates.

    "The American and one of the Britons who carried the cash were sentenced to 15-year jail terms and to pay $15,000 each," Hashi Elmi Nur, chief justice of Mogadishu's Banadir court, told reporters.

    The six were arrested on May 24 after a plane landed at Mogadishu and was waiting for another small plane to come in, collect the cash and fly it to another destination in the country, Mohamed Omar, a Somali government security official, said earlier.
    and, naturally...

    All the money they were transporting and both aircraft had been confiscated by the government
    Sounds like the government wants a piece of the action, or at least some individuals in government do: the cynic in me doubts that the confiscated money will end up in the government's budget. That could complicate the equation. Obviously we won't hear much about it, but I wonder if there have been other cases of ransoms being targeted on their way to delivery, by either government or non-government parties.
    Last edited by Dayuhan; 06-20-2011 at 01:24 AM.
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  15. #635
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    Default confiscated ransom money in somalia

    You got me to wondering about that and just googled the subject line.

    To say the least a bit depressing and by no means the first time ransom money was confiscated and disappeared
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stan View Post
    To say the least a bit depressing and by no means the first time ransom money was confiscated and disappeared
    Depressing yes, surprising no.

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    I'm not looking to re-involve myself in this topic, but I do have a point for consideration with regards to dealing with Somali piracy. It appears to me that there are two competing paradigms driving the major different proposed responses. One paradigm is that the pirates are criminals and should be dealt with accordingly, period. The other is that criminal societies--and Somali pirates are certainly that--don't arise outside of certain conditions, and that those conditions should be the primary focus.

  18. #638
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    Default A third element

    I don't think any amount of involvement or money at this point will change the current situation. We could argue that the government (with a ton of help) could turn the tide and all would return to normal. Hmmm, but this is Africa and as JMA opined, it is no surprise.

    The conditions that turned honest fishermen into pirates is one thing, but to turn it off is an entirely different game. We can all have various views and remedies, but without an African approach and sans Western involvement no permanent solution will come out of it.
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  19. #639
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    If we could fix Somalia, we could solve the piracy problem.

    If my aunt had a putz, she'd be my uncle.

    "If" is possibly the longest word in the English language, and true statements are not necessarily relevant to anything in the real world. Sure if we could fix Somalia we wouldn't have a pirate problem, but since we can't fix Somalia, that doesn't much matter.

    I've heard it said, here and there, that stopping overfishing and waste dumping would solve the piracy problem. I don't buy it. Those factors may have played a part in starting piracy, but what keeps piracy going is big money with small risk. People who have grown used to hauling in big bucks and living the high life out of piracy will not go back to fishing, even if they have the option... unless they believe the costs and risks of jacking ships have come to exceed the benefits.
    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary”

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  20. #640
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    Hi Stan, JMA, David, Motorfirebox and Dayuhan,

    I have a question for you Stan: what would be an African solution? As far as I know, somalis will not stop if you give them $, at contrary.
    My experience in South Somalia tells me that part of the problem is the aid dependency problematic somali have been abble to turn round. As exemple, they were not maintaining infrastructures so they were making sure that international aid would keep coming. And they play that game on all sides: european, US, Arab league, Muslim charity...

    I personnaly believe that only a strong and total economical blockus over somalia would work. They tend to reject any decision, even from their own politicians. So why don't we drop the support to so called somali government and parliament, have an agressive sea blocus (no ship in or out the miles out of the coast), no fly zone, full land border closing (monitored by international forces), no direct aid, only droping (Since the time, they have competent people for everything there, including health) and let them be as they want it?

    We close hermetically the box for several years (Many over paid UN staff will loose their job but who really cares), send back all the politician home instate of having a so called somali parliament in Nairobi, sit and watch.
    I'am pretty sure they would first protest and them once they get their ass kicked 2 or 3 times trying to force the blocus, would them start to thing about it in a constructive way. Look at Somaliland. They've been able to come with something which is not ideal but with whom you can actually deal with.

    I'm saying so because it's a shared feeling among many people working on Somalia I know. Already too many books have been written on the fact that supporting somalia is creatting more problems than brings solution.
    A cost comparaison has to be run but i'm not sure that it would be more expensive than keep on funding politician, fake government and aid.
    BUt I might be a little too radical.

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