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.


  1. You could ask the boarded ship’s commander if he thinks the pirates are over-rated or not….Then again The laws of the Sea under the UN and the Admiralty Court who govern’s the worlds Oceans and Seas and trade that is exchanged from that have no real Navy to deal with Pirates….So to save money,(and keeping a US warship occupied in one place when it needs to be sailing on it’s appointed missions) from happening; piracy should be dealt with as kidnapping. Six US Marine Snipers with M-14 A-1 Match Rifles shooting Match grade Boat tail Ammo could have hidden in various places on deck of the ship and remedied the situation with one shot one kill the minute the ship pulled up to the life boat. With the superior quality night vision employed one the Sniper Rifle these days night time presents no problem at all. SEALS are great but I think the handling of priates is best left to the men that punished them in the first place at Tripoli. As for our motives for why we responded and how we handled the situation I think we were slow to act in the first place. A full amphibious and air assault on Somolia’s coast to go ashore and round up all weapons and detain persons of interest in connection to terrorist activity and stock-piling of weapons should have already happend….I am fully aware of most New World Order Motives and I can assure you this is one situation that needs handling whether the NWO is involved or not. In the end it will be the US controlling all that territory or China or Russia. NOW

  2. Hardly.

    The bottom line remains that the surge in activity off the Somalia can be rectified without an all out military solution — and more importantly as recently as 2005, the focal point for a “piracy” was Indonesia, Nigeria and Brazil. Further, this is the second time this particular ship has been ensnared in a scheme. Maersk clearly thinks the danger is overstated or they’d have taken effective countermeasures. Most of the 21,000 ships thru that area are untouched.

    Now, is that Listermint or Scope??

  3. The “surge in activity” is a necessary plot device. As my man Submariner put it y’day;

    I think to focus exclusively or even primarily on Somali pirates is to miss the greater issue. Look at a map of the Indian Ocean. This is the stage for global growth and intrigue in the next century. Piracy is an endemic problem which is only now being used to justify the United States’ positioning of its blue water nuclear navy. Somalia, Iraq, Pakistan, and Afghanistan happen to occupy the role that German electorates of the Hapsburg empire did in the conflict between Seventeenth century France and Spain. With the national leaders of both Japan and Australia reaffirming their commitment to the Anglo-American Establishment, the Pacific is as secure as it can ever be. The same, however, can’t be said for the Indian Ocean. Although China has promised a “peaceful rise” to great power status, the Indian Ocean region is suffused with political, religious, and economic combustions. With a great power arrangement on the level of NATO and the USSR in Western Europe and the US and China in Southeast Asia yet to be worked out, the Somalis provide good narrative cover for some necessary moves.

    Now THAT’s the Tom’s of Maine!!!

  4. The Indian Ocean, in and of itself is beside the point. The issue is what will be transported – by whom – at what cost – and to what destination across the Indian Ocean. China and India are going to have to pay — and they’ll be watched like hawks every step of the way…but the most precious cargo will be leaving from Africa.

    With respect to piracy, when the International Maritime Bureau set up business, they did so in Kuala Lumpur. The reasons for this are obvious. It was the scope of activity and the importance of positioning itself right there. In referencing Indonesia, I neglected to mention Malaysia – at the opposite end of the Indian Ocean. I suppose we could get off on an Indonesia – East Timorian thing, as well, but time doesn’t permit.

    I’m not quite sure where you’re going with this. There is no doubt that Somalia is a recent addition to this “mix” and their emergence fits a larger purpose. There is also no doubt that given the larger international context that their role is overstated. Not sure how the first commenter undermines the accuracy of the post. If anything, her commitment to over-the-top militarism illuminates the larger point.

    I’m still rolling with the Listers. I knew Sub would be on the same page. Thanks for passing that along.

  5. I saw that UBJ joint. Good looking out. BTW – I been puttin you in heavy rotation among the kneegrow conservatives. They must be scurred to delurk and comment though.

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