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.
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