Why did the Piracy Start?

One big story in the media lately is Piracy in Somalia which in the big picture is a small problem and can be solved easily- send a few powerful ships to track them down.  A more interesting question is why did it start in the first place?  Semi-Expert brings up a good point:

After US withdrawal, things pretty much reverted to the state they had been before the US came. Then a group calling itself the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) began to assert its authority. Effectively the only law in Somalia since the mid nineties, the group began as loosely affiliated local Islamic courts. The courts soon began also to provide social services (here we go again), and eventually coalesced into a government, which managed to impose peace on most of the country. For a while, a certain prosperity began to emerge as well. But the United States, having developed an allergy to anything calling itself Islamic, set up anti-terrorism special-forces bases in Djibouti (on Somalia’s norther border and home to large Somali populations), and – all very secretive mind you – began providing support to the rival (and unpopular) claimants to the government, and funding Ethiopia, which lies to the west (some of whose regions are also home to significant Somali populations), which invaded and remains in occupation.

The ICU were ousted in 2006 and their more radical factions called the shabab ‘youths’ have as a direct result gained legitimacy while the more moderate faction has been forced into retreat. Since then, lawlessness has broken out of an even more severe nature than had heretofore reigned, including piracy on the high seas. Piracy! The ICU had put an end to all kinds of banditry, on the principle that thievery of any sort is un-Islamic.

This is one of the best explanations I’ve seen for WHY this recent piracy crisis has broken out.  What’s more important in Somalia: Order or having your ideological allies in power?   For the US and, probably we could say any country that has any interests in the region, order should be the top priority.

6 Responses

  1. I don’t think piracy has anything to do with ‘moderates’ or ‘islamists’. it has to do with people wanting to make money. Also as you can see from this map, most of the piracy is around the Yemenese coast, which is near the more organized part of Somalia, not the part the ICU had control over.


    Also I don’t know how easy it would be to solve the piracy problem in the water. It’d be hard to find the tiny pirate boats – it’d be easier to just blockade the coast, but then you would destroy fishing. The easiest solution would be for ships carrying valuable stuff to hire a few guards.

  2. Then again the pirates in an interview said they had both collaborators and governments helping them pegs the ships’ routes.

  3. So the Islamists had everything in order, and when the U.S interfered, chaos reigned?
    Piracy does not only root from that,
    its the fact that European powers, at least the selfish, inconsiderate forces, have dumped their nuclear waste in Somalia’s seas because ultimately, there is no government to stab them in the back.
    Oh, after having said this, i see why.
    Without law, or administration, Somalia faces other problems.
    Besides the toxic water, their important resource: seafood, has trawlers from Asia and foreign countries stealing a vast amount of it.
    Then they can’t fish.
    More tot he point, they aren’t getting any money.
    How do yuo get money, with low risks and a grand prize?
    And although some of them are true gansters, some are defending their seas.

  4. I think this thing started because the somalians didn’t had no government and no police force around the Golf. Every country started to dump dirty things from their country into somalia’s golf. these people just tried to stop what other countries were doing,,,and thats how the problem growed!

  5. hi, my name is Neil.

  6. Gosh your alot of help!!!!

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