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US carries out first drone strike in Libya
Today's Headlines
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Page 6: Politix
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Africa Horn
Military response alone cannot arrest piracy off Somalia coast
[The Nation (Nairobi)] The problem of piracy in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean appears nowhere near resolution, at least not in the foreseeable short term.

Somalia-based pirate gangs have honed their skills, extended their reach and operate at will, seemingly undeterred by the aggressive naval patrols mounted by warships deployed in these waters.

An array of counter-piracy and deterrence measures -- from violent armed attacks on suspected pirate skiffs and motherships to arrests, trials and imprisonment of suspects in Kenya and other non-Somali jurisdictions -- have proved less effective than hoped.

It is clear the strategy so strenuously pushed by the Western naval alliance over the past two years is not meeting expectations. The reason for this ineffectiveness is obvious: The response has remained a predominantly military one, albeit increasingly tempered by legal, political and diplomatic efforts.

Since 2009, there has been a discernible shift in international thinking about the problem. The official policy lexicon has changed and, rhetorically at least, everyone now subscribes to the idea of a "multi-pronged" strategy based on "land-based" interventions, consciously targeted at tackling the root causes instead of the symptoms.

Sadly, evidence on the ground suggests that not much has changed, and the heavy emphasis on military and security responses remains intact.

Despite the rhetoric and the subtle variations in nuance and detail, the dominant tendency has been to militarise the problem.

Militarist mindset

Contrary to claims, the counter-piracy strategy is dominated by a militarist mindset, impervious to evidence that military response is failing to effectively deal with a problem that is complex and inextricably tied to the prolonged crisis in Somalia.

Military might has demonstrably failed to deter piracy. Extensive and robust patrols, and aggressive pursuits of suspect vessels, have inadvertently displaced the problem.

Pirate gangs have simply shifted to less tightly patrolled waters farther from the Somali coast. More troubling, military pressure is unintentionally improving the adaptability, versatility and resilience of the pirate gangs.

With ransom payments now at an all-time high, they are using the financial windfall to upgrade and modernise.

The pirates' greatest tactical advantage over the enemy is time. They know well that the naval deployment is time-bound and at some point there will be a drawdown, whether because of an adverse shift in domestic public opinion or, as is most likely, budgetary constraints, not to mention the outbreak of another global crisis.

Rather than challenge the navies, they can simply opt to outwait them -- disbanding temporarily and retreating to their land bases to lie low.

Indeed, credible evidence suggests some may have already taken this route, or are in the process of branching off into other, less lucrative, criminal rackets like people smuggling and kidnap-for-ransom.

The prospect of such a tactical retreat is, of course, only plausible if military operations do not extend to the land -- as some fear -- and if the clan-based pirate support networks survive.

If a temporary, tactical retreat is a viable possibility, we should be sceptical of some of the positive statistics routinely churned out by military officials to prove that pirate attacks are on a downward trend, by implication demonstrating the efficacy of the naval operations.

To put it differently, to what extent is such a reduction, if true, attributable to a lull induced by a tactical retreat rather than a decisive defeat?

Whatever the case, suggestions of a tipping point in the war against piracy are premature, as long as military pressure is not consciously combined with and consistently augmented by more crucial, non-military, land-based interventions aimed at bringing about a sustainable long-term solution.

The prospect of a neat solution achieved with ease and at minimal cost on the high seas is tantalising, but simply unachievable: There are no short-cuts to dealing with the piracy problem emanating from Somalia.
Posted by: Fred || 04/24/2011 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [230 views] Top||

#1  Military response would work, if it involved pirate boat sinkings and summary pirate hangings, rather than arrests and trials and imprisonment (assuming one can find a jurisdiction willing to take that responsibility.)
Posted by: Glenmore || 04/24/2011 0:18 Comments || Top||

#2  Mucking about on the high seas is treating the symptoms, not the base of the disease. Take a base, destroy the houses of the new rich for starters. Then destroy their boat fleet anchored near the shore, and work up to total destruction of the town, stopping only when they stop the piracy

Hobyo or Eyl are good places to start.
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 04/24/2011 1:05 Comments || Top||

#3  Militarist mindset

Contrary to claims, the counter-piracy strategy is dominated by a militarist mindset, impervious to evidence that military response is failing to effectively deal with a problem that is complex and inextricably tied to the prolonged crisis in Somalia.

Military might has demonstrably failed to deter piracy.


An academic mindset that is devoid of any knowledge of real human history. How did Caesar deal with pirates? How did Thomas Jefferson deal with pirates? It's an old disease that does respond to old 'cures'.

As to military deterrence - there is none when their hands are tied.

This is the same bovine drivel by people who can't connect the overall drop in crime with the largest incarceration population in the country's history. Just maybe crime is down because the perps have been removed from society.
Posted by: Procopius2k || 04/24/2011 8:33 Comments || Top||

#4  Head slap photo with "Not this shit again" needed. Life is becoming more like Ground Hog Day every day.
Posted by: Nimble Spemble || 04/24/2011 8:36 Comments || Top||

#5  I absolutely agree with Glenmore. If we treated pirates like they treated pirates in the good old days, especially with the weapon systems we have today, there would be no piracy problem. A few skeletons hanging in the pirates' ports, a few smoking craters where the pirates' bases used to be, and the problem would dry up fairly quickly.
Posted by: Rambler in Virgnia || 04/24/2011 11:29 Comments || Top||

#6  Military might has demonstrably failed to deter piracy. Extensive and robust patrols, and aggressive pursuits of suspect vessels, have inadvertently displaced the problem.

That's not military, that's a kind of (PC) police work.
Posted by: Willy || 04/24/2011 12:35 Comments || Top||

#7  ARCLIGHT a couple of their villages into dust, tell them that if we have to come back we'll use both high explosives and napalm, then follow through. The only thing these people understand is force. Show them enough force, and they'll stop their behavior. As long as the West plays timid, and the pirates make huge profits, it will continue. HURT THEM. Hurt them so badly they won't want a second dose. It's the only thing that will stop this.
Posted by: Old Patriot || 04/24/2011 13:34 Comments || Top||

#8  That's not military, that's a kind of (PC) police work.

It's not even police work.
Posted by: Pappy || 04/24/2011 21:47 Comments || Top||

#9  The root cause of piracy is ransoms.

Stop paying the ransoms and you will stop the piracy.

Nothing that is done on land will make a whit of difference. Sinking boats will certainly help suppress it, but never stop it as long as the ransoms are paid.
Posted by: phil_b || 04/24/2011 21:56 Comments || Top||


Africa North
John McCain Has a Lot To Answer For on Libya
Posted by: tipper || 04/24/2011 07:31 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [222 views] Top||

#1  Yes, pretty lame reasoning, besides...A year and a half earlier, in Tripoli, he described Gaddafi as America¬'s friend:


1) for the past decade no world-led criticism of Khadaffy.
2) smiles that he put away his chem-weapons program
3) smiles that he ships oil freely
4) smiles when his country was seated at the UN's Commission on Human Rights
5) Libyan opposition starts looting armories and shooting at Gov. forces to depose Khadaffy
6) Khadaffy responds
7) The West declares it unfair and supports the insurgents, whose sentiments are unknown.

Actually have more contempt for McShame than Obama...least Obama signaled what was coming and McShame still pretends to be a conservative. Get his family off the stage.
Posted by: jack salami || 04/24/2011 8:59 Comments || Top||

#2  I'd give a barrel of Shiner Bock to anyone who gives a credible and logical account the Libyan circus!
Posted by: Willy || 04/24/2011 12:47 Comments || Top||

#3  "John McCain Has a Lot To Answer For on Libya"

Fixed.
Posted by: Barbara Skolaut || 04/24/2011 12:50 Comments || Top||

#4  re #3 - two words: Meghan McCain
Posted by: Frank G || 04/24/2011 14:39 Comments || Top||

#5  ION MCCAIN, PEOPLE'S DAILY FORUM > STALEMATE IN LIBYA WOULD DRAW IN AL-QAEDA, as per Civilian Angst + Pol Chaos.

versus

* NEWS KERALA [old] > ADM MULLEN: WAR IN LIBYA MOVING TOWARDS STALEMATE. No hard or conclusive evidence found of Libyuhn involvement [yet?]as per Al-Qaeda + other Hard Boyz.
Posted by: JosephMendiola || 04/24/2011 22:25 Comments || Top||


Two US drones for Misratah vs Russian arms, Chinese intel for Qaddafi
DEBKA. Salt to flavour.
Posted by: tipper || 04/24/2011 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [225 views] Top||

#1  One group says it is in Libya for unfinished business with the West, especially the United States, for their role in the Bosnia and Kosovo conflicts

The bastard---don't they understand it was for their own good?
Posted by: g(r)omgoru || 04/24/2011 5:38 Comments || Top||

#2  I meant "bastards".
Posted by: g(r)omgoru || 04/24/2011 5:39 Comments || Top||

#3  Be sure to wave at the sky cam. Predators and Hellfires don't discriminate.
Posted by: Zebulon Thranter9685 || 04/24/2011 8:51 Comments || Top||

#4  Qaddafi holds one major advantage: His army can absorb foreign assistance without delay and almost seamlessly, whereas Western aid drops into a pit of uncertainty with regard to the rebel groups and their chiefs.

There is something to be said for the Soviets' standardized, geared-to-the-lowest-level-of-civilization military organization, equipment and training.
Posted by: Pappy || 04/24/2011 12:48 Comments || Top||

#5  One of the first things Al Qaeda masquerading as "rebels" did, drum roll, was set up a Central Bank.
Why on earth would they do that?
Well it soon became obvious. The US froze The Ducks assets in the US and transferred those assets, including Treasuries to the "Rebels" Central Bank.
While celebrations are ongoing in Al Qaeda headquarters in Pakistan, the paranoia level of other holders of US Treasuries rose alarmingly.
What if, one of those holders of US Treasuries thought they might want to bitch slap Taiwan around a bit, what would happen to their US holdings?
China Proposes To Cut Two Thirds Of Its $3 Trillion In USD Holdings
Posted by: tipper || 04/24/2011 16:02 Comments || Top||

#6  China Proposes To Cut Two Thirds Of Its $3 Trillion In USD Holdings

Guess they want to start a depression. Our government will survive it. Theirs won't.
Posted by: Nimble Spemble || 04/24/2011 17:52 Comments || Top||

#7  Our government will survive it. Theirs won't.
Nimble Spemble, that is the big question, who will win?
During the Suez crises, Eisenhower threatened to dump British bonds. The British responded by saying that would harm the US economy.
Eisenhower responded by saying that the move may well harm the US economy, but that it would destroy the British economy. The British folded.
Posted by: tipper || 04/24/2011 19:08 Comments || Top||

#8  Compare wid DEFECNE.PK/FORUMS > [Robert Wheeler = Wired.com] THE DRONE-IFICATION OF AMERICA.

ARTIC = although not set in stone, the LT trends indic by USDOD Drone contracts is that mainstream Amer should not be surprised iff Drone Aerodomes(s) are set up in US States TO KEEP WATCH [street level] OVER AMERICAN CITIES, TOWNS, + SOCIETY.

Espec given that ...

* NEWS AM = HOUSEHOLD PETS, e.g. PET DOGS IN THE UK WILL BE REQUIRED TO GET MICRO-CHIPPED FOR ENTRY INTO A NEW NATIONAL CP DATABASE.
Posted by: JosephMendiola || 04/24/2011 22:44 Comments || Top||


Home Front: Culture Wars
Pathological Altruism: Does Evil Wear a Politically Correct Mask?
Could it be that some people do good just to hide their own evil? Dr. Helen sits with the Advice Goddess Amy Alkon and Barbara Oakley to talk about pathological altruism. Oakley is the author of Cold-Blooded Kindness and Alkon is the author of I See Rude People. Hear what happened to the Advice Goddess after she criticized Jesse Jackson.
Posted by: tipper || 04/24/2011 17:46 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [209 views] Top||


Happy Easter - Peeps didn't start the fire
Posted by: Beavis || 04/24/2011 01:30 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [202 views] Top||



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Two weeks of WOT
Sun 2011-04-24
  US carries out first drone strike in Libya
Sat 2011-04-23
  Yemen's president agrees to step down
Fri 2011-04-22
  Obama Authorizes Use of Drone Airstrikes in Libya...
Thu 2011-04-21
  Nigeria: Over 200 dead in the post-election riots
Wed 2011-04-20
  Syria government approves lifting state of emergency
Tue 2011-04-19
  Suicide Bomber Attacks Afghan Ministry of Defence
Mon 2011-04-18
  Five Hurt as Regime Agents Disperse Rallies in South Syria
Sun 2011-04-17
  Egypt: Justice orders the dissolution of the former ruling party
Sat 2011-04-16
  Qaddafi bombards Misrata
Fri 2011-04-15
  Pro-Hamas Italian activist hanged in Gaza
Thu 2011-04-14
  Pro-Hamas Italian Kidnapped By Salafists In Gaza
Wed 2011-04-13
  AU Libya Peace Plan Flops
Tue 2011-04-12
  Syrian soldiers shot for refusing to fire on protesters
Mon 2011-04-11
  Metro blast in Minsk kills several
Sun 2011-04-10
  Shooting erupts in seaport of Baniyas, Syria

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