Somalian Piracy: Overstated Threat?
From Voice of America News:
While the piracy problem off the Somali coast is getting a lot of media attention, exactly how big a threat to maritime safety do the pirates pose?
John Patch is an associate professor for strategic intelligence at the US Army War College and a retired Navy surface warfare officer and career intelligence officer. He’s written an article – appearing on the US Naval Institute website – on Somali piracy. His comments are not to be taken as official US government policy.
In an interview with VOA English to Africa Service reporter Joe De Capua, he says the Somali piracy problem may be overstated.
“Even with the incident of a US-flagged vessel taken, there’s quite a lot of hype involved. World opinion and sometimes US opinion as well is often driven by passion, incidents of the moment and US pride. And we’ve got to be careful about formulating policy on those kinds of things,” he says.
Do statistics support an increase in Somali piracy activity? Commander Patch says, “Are the numbers up, numbers down? That’s kind of debatable. The data behind the actual seizures is very varied. For example, if they have an approach by a small boat in the middle of the night, sometimes, with no actual piracy incident, that’s still counted as an incident…. I’m not so sure that piracy is actually escalating out of control right now. My sense is, with the naval task force in the Gulf of Aden escorting daily many, many ships with safe passages, you’ve got to compare the number of piracy incidents to the actual safe passages and you’ll see that the instances are still very low.”
The question, now, is whether or not there is an active CIA presence in this region that is seeking to establish a US mandate for extending AFRICOM and validating a military presence in the horn.
Just across the Gulf of Aden, a stones throw from Somalia, sits the Port of Aden. Fifty years ago, it was home to the LARGEST RAF AIR BASE IN THE WORLD outside of the British Isles. Why? Because the UK required air coverage for naval vessels engaged in the shipment of oil.
Is today’s conflagration more than an outgrowth of a Somali response to the indignation of Europeans stealing fish from children and dumping nuclear and hospital waste in pristine waters?
The CIA has actively pursued an policy of increased information with NGO’s. In fact, the sources of funding for NGO’s often comes indirectly from entities with a commitment to extending the military surveillance of various regions with geopolitical significance. There has been some resistance, but if you’ve ever traveled internationally, you know that State Department types, ex-military types and other persons with a capital interest in subverting sovereign rights are all over the hotel lobbies, resorts and beaches.
Perhaps this latest series of incidents is no more than the latest American creation — like the sinking of the USS Maine, the Gulf of Tonkin, the Bay of Pigs, and the Search for Weapons of Mass Distraction.