Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sink the Somali Pirates!

In the gloom of market collapse and foreclosures and layoffs, there was a rare burst of sunshine last week. An Indian frigate destroyed a Somali “mother” pirate ship in the Gulf of Aden off the coast of Africa. Three speedboats packed with pirates unfortunately escaped.

These ruthless Somali brigands are causing havoc on maritime trade and costing the global economy millions. There have been 90 attacks this year alone, leading to the hijacking of 14 ships and 250 crew members, the latest being a tanker with $100 million worth of Saudi crude. The pirates’ goal: astronomical ransom in exchange for release of ship and crew.

Is the international community so helpless that these high-sea assaults cannot be stopped? The Indian Navy has proven otherwise by confronting the Somali warlords-turned pirates with decisive force.

I have some Somali friends in San Jose who are so outraged by the shame and horror these pirates have inflicted on the reputation of their country that they struggle for words. As they see it, there are only two rules of engagement with the pirates:

  • Shoot first, ask questions later
  • Capture as many as possible and put them on trial for a world-wide audience

Who will take the responsibility? Actually, any country’s navy can send the rogue ship and speedboats to the bottom of the ocean. Just ask the Indians. What is required is resolve and action. In spite of its disastrous involvement in 1993, my Somali friends feel that the United States should still play a leading role in putting an end to these attacks. Ordinary Somalis are trapped between the lawless and violent ways of rival warlords and are forced to suffer in silence in their failed state. Pirates have always been, and will always be, enemies of the human race. Their fervent wish is for the scourge of the pirates to end before the year is over.

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