A rag-tag bunch of Somali Pirates have openend up a potentially big can of whoopass in their seizure of four cargo vessles with some 60 seamen. As the hostage drama played itself out over the weekend, I was waiting for the moment when news came in that there had been a rescue by the SEALS. In my mind’s eye, it entailed the SEALS swimming covertly under the life raft, rising to the gunnels of the raft, and silently taking the pirates out one by one ala Jason Bourne or Jack Bauer.
This brings up a sticky predicament for the world’s most active trading nations for whom free and unfettered access to the seaways is essential. In particular, for America, I find it hard to believe that there CAN be any direct action taken on this front considering what happened in Somalia under Clinton.
Any multi-lateral solution will take years to implement and would require some extra-national judicial regime created in Kenya or similar regional state. Any unilateral power solution would require taking the battle onto Somalia proper – a place not even the most bragadocious brigadeer would choose to battle.
If interested in The Horn of Africa or East Africa in general, I recommend the outstanding reporting of New York Times columnist, Jeffrey Gettleman. Stephanie McCrummen from the Washington Post also does a good job of reporting on the region. (I often dream of being a foreign correspondent and returning back to East Africa to put my Swahili back into use).