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US options limited to prevent, fight Somali piracy

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posted on Apr, 9 2009 @ 03:01 AM
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US options limited to prevent, fight Somali piracy


www.google.com

The seizure of an American crew and cargo demonstrates the limits of U.S. military power in an international cops-and-robbers chase along a huge, lawless stretch of African coastline.

President Barack Obama was closely following the pirate-hostage drama, the first of its kind in modern history involving a U.S. crew, said Denis McDonough, a senior foreign policy adviser at the White House.

"We have watched with alarm the increasing threat of piracy," McDonough said.
(visit the link for the full news article)




posted on Apr, 9 2009 @ 03:01 AM
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I think what's really driving this lack of initiative is a bit of nostalgic fear back from 1993.

Everyone knows what a mess Mogadishu turned into, and just how much resentment America has for the UN, well in general, but also specifically for being called on to provide aid and assistance and instead finding out they needed to pacify an entire city.

The US doesn't want to touch Somalia with a 10ft pole. The images of American Marines being dragged through the streets of Mogadishu is partly something that fuels that hesitancy.

They know that region is another quagmire waiting to happen and current public opinion would never support 3 quagmires at the one time. This is no "Limp-wristed Democrats Vs. strong-arm Republicans" issue here.
George Bush didn't pay any attention to piracy either.

Unfortunately, what is needed to actually resolve the issue of Piracy once and for all, is either a very strong Naval commitment to secure the Gulf of Aden and effectively blockade most traffic from passing through to narrow down the potential targets.... (hard to do with Naval assets tied up in the Gulf)

OR... full-blown intervention in Somalia and a basically what would amount to a replay of Operation Gothic Serpent in 1993.

Currently, what we have is a token patrol force from a bunch of countries who can't stand each other, who are far too uncoordinated and disillusioned to seriously face this issue.

You can't chase aluminium-hulled speedboats with Destroyers and Cruisers.

You'd need a wide variety of air assets to keep tabs on pirate movements, mandatory military escorts for any commercial trade that actually wants to go through there and mobile, and counter-insurgent teams like Navy SEALs to take the pirates on in their own turf, so to speak.

That's only for a dedicated, Marine peace-keeping force. I'd hate to imagine what'd be necessary for a repeat of 1993.

www.google.com
(visit the link for the full news article)

[edit on 9/4/09 by The Godfather of Conspira]



posted on Apr, 9 2009 @ 05:11 PM
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Considering the big stink everyone seems to be making about US hostages, I'm surprised there's no deliberating about the core issue of why the US is so hesitant to fight this problem head on.



posted on Apr, 9 2009 @ 05:57 PM
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The current issue with the American ship puzzles me. Two speed boats can take a merchant ship? Basic ship board Water Cannons could have knocked the pirates off their boats or quickly flooded them with enough water to sink them. 200 PSI at 1000 GPM would be extremely effective against any speed boat or pirate crew.

Armed Predator drones could patrol and take out any pirate ships that get too close to a merchant vessel. It seems to me that there are a number of simple things that could be done to make it far more difficult for a few men in speed boats to take a merchant ship.

Certainly one of them would be attacking their base of operations with an air strike and to simply sink all of their speed boats while docked. The US conducts Predator air strikes in Pakistan so why not hit the Pirates? We know what ports they use, have satellite images, and have a significant amount of military equipment in the area.



posted on Apr, 9 2009 @ 07:51 PM
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Because ships in international waters are not, BY INTERNATIONAL LAW, allowed to fire in a manner to inflict bodily harm or death upon another. This applies to commercial and private vessels, though I am not quite sure of military vessels. To use lethal force, the aggressor must have both feet on the deck of the attacked ship and pose a great threat to self.

[edit on 9-4-2009 by djvexd]



posted on Apr, 9 2009 @ 08:18 PM
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Originally posted by The Godfather of Conspira
The US doesn't want to touch Somalia with a 10ft pole. The images of American Marines being dragged through the streets of Mogadishu is partly something that fuels that hesitancy.


Actually, they were helicopter crews from 160 SOAR. Or US Army Rangers. No US Marines were involved in that fight.



posted on Apr, 9 2009 @ 09:04 PM
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reply to post by jerico65
 


Explain your statement? Do you mean there where no Marines in Somalia or do you mean there were no Marines in a particular firefight?

There were most certainly Marines in Somalia.



posted on Apr, 10 2009 @ 02:58 PM
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reply to post by djvexd
 


I believe any ship in international waters has the right to defend themselves from piracy when under attack. If they chose to use Water cannons it would be well within their rights of defense against hostile forces. There is a reason merchant ships have armed crew members. Repelling boarders is one of them.



posted on Apr, 10 2009 @ 03:24 PM
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My opinion

Yeah ships should be able to defend themselves but I think whoever owns the ships should take the risk involved with shipping.

If you ship through a dangerous area then you take the risks involved such as piracy, don't be asking anyone to help you make your buck.

If I'm a salesmen and theres 2 ways to get to my destination, one wrought with criminals and the other safe but more expensive then I'm gonna take the safe route and add the price to whatever I'm selling.

but thats just my opinion and don't expect anyone really cares LOL



posted on Apr, 10 2009 @ 03:31 PM
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Yet another "America sucks" thread! Why am I not surprised ?


The ability to do something about the Somali pirates and the will to do something about them are two very different things. Do not confuse meekness for weakness.

A Few MOAB's over a couple of their pirate shanty towns would send enough of a message to the pirates without even setting foot in Somalia.

Also, for anybody who's even remotely aware of the Mogadishu situation, that OP went horribly wrong because of poor planning and poor intel. The Somail's are nothing that the US marines need to worry about nor are they a deterrent in a US attempts to do something about the pirates. The only thing that's keeping the US from going in is the reluctance to commit to more responsibility. If the task was merely to kill Pirates, there would be no discussion and no hesitation.



posted on Apr, 10 2009 @ 03:35 PM
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I think that it's time for a number of countries to deploy decoy ships. Have them look like regular freighters, have them carry freight and act like freighters but keep them armed (heavily).

Should a pirate attack one of these decoy ships, they would be destroyed. As soon as enough pirates don't come back from their voyages, I think that you'll find that it's not such a good profession.



posted on Apr, 10 2009 @ 03:42 PM
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The principle responsibility for preventing Somali piracy lies first and foremost with the Somali de facto government and/or leadership. Hence the reason that the U.S. and the international community has not done no more than they are currently doing. As such, will all must admit and acknowledge that the current de facto Somali government is a failure and that Somalia is a failed state.

As per a Chatam House Briefing Report compiled by an academic friend of mine, he rightly observed:



The only period during which piracy virtually vanished around Somalia was during the six months of rule by the Islamic Courts Union in the second half of 2006. This indicates that a functioning government in Somalia is capable of controlling piracy. After the removal of the courts piracy re-emerged. With little functioning government, long, isolated, sandy beaches and a population that is both desperate and used to war, Somalia is a perfect environment for piracy to thrive.

Piracy in Somalia: Threatening global trade, feeding local wars

Additionally, as pointed out in a variety threads on this issue, what the U.S. and international community are currently doing amounts to putting a bandaid on a gushing wound. In other words, if the issues that are causing Somali piracy are not addressed in Somalia, Somali piracy will simply continue to fester and increase. In fact, some piracy leaders have gone as far as asserting that there is "no way to stop us." Furthermore, it has been espoused that the current multinational response to piracy in the Gulf of Aden and the coast of Somalia has been reported to be "encouraging the pirates to co-operate with Islamist insurgents, as both see the international community as a shared enemy." This is where the arguments concerning the growing nexus between piracy and terrorism come into play, and have also been reported (see: Al Qaeda behind Red Sea piracy, official and Pirates 'working with Islamists; more can be provided.)

At any rate, although there are varyng causes for Somali piracy--foreign dumping of toxic waste, foreign offshore fishing, etc.), the heart of the problem lies within Somalia itself. Until the Somali equation is taken seriously by the International community, not just the U.S., piracy and maritime terrorism off Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden will remain problematic since it has the potential to seriously hamper not only international, global maritime commerce and trade, but affects and hampers international security.


[edit on 10-4-2009 by Seekerof]



posted on Apr, 10 2009 @ 03:49 PM
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There sitting ducks,Why cant these ships have weapons to protect themselves? a 50 cal? i would arm these ships asap,or at least allow the crew there right to personal protection
xcuse me if already covered


[edit on 10-4-2009 by all2human]



posted on Apr, 10 2009 @ 03:53 PM
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reply to post by IAF101
 



A Few MOAB's over a couple of their pirate shanty towns would send enough of a message to the pirates without even setting foot in Somalia.


You can't hit a nail with a chainsaw for god's sakes.

As much as you fantasise about such Gestapo-inspired ideas, just trampling on entire nations to spite a few pirates, no military in the world, even the US would ever consider that.

It would also send the message that the US further doesn't give a crap about collateral damage and is only seeks to inflate it's own ego whenever it's threatened, be it by mice or men.


Also, for anybody who's even remotely aware of the Mogadishu situation, that OP went horribly wrong because of poor planning and poor intel.


Precisely why it'll go wrong AGAIN.

The US underestimated the Somali militias in 1993 and they'll do it once more if they get their feet stuck in the quicksand here.

To end the piracy, effectively means intervention.
Right now, that ship has sailed. Pardon the pun.

You can't budge a single Naval asset from the Persian Gulf at the moment.

The US Navy NEEDS most of the Surface Fleet in the Persian Gulf currently.

Logistical operations alone require the movement of a whopping 700 tons of cargo and 4,000 people to and from Iraq per week to keep Iraq well-oiled.

Not including of course the security and freighters requiring to move stuff in and out of Afghanistan (via Pakistan) just downstream and carrier assets for air cover and surveillance, destroyers to patrol Iranian territorial borders and NAVY Seal teams to demine the Gulf and fight insurgency operations at sea.

It's consuming more Naval operational ability than you think.

Sending even a fleet of 10 Ticonderogas and 10 Arleigh Burkes into Somalian Waters to wander up and down looking for pirates wouldn't help a bit.

You can't chase around aluminium-hulled speed boats in destroyers.

[edit on 10/4/09 by The Godfather of Conspira]



posted on Apr, 10 2009 @ 03:57 PM
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reply to post by all2human
 



What your suggesting is not only problematic, on varying levels, but has, and is, already being done:



This has led to many to wonder whether the time has come for a robust and forceful response to this threat, and among the most common ideas put forth are:

- Should international governments dispatch their navies to take up station in those waters?

- Should those warships be allowed to engage pirate vessels, destroying them, arresting suspects, even killing those who resist?

- Should vessels just avoid the waters off the Horn of Africa and the Suez Canal, taking the longer journey around the Cape of Good Hope?

- Is it time to arm civilians seafarers, or place guards on their ships to protect against attacks?

They sound like good ideas, but it may come as a surprise to many to discover that each and every one of these is currently being tried, yet piracy continues unabated off Somalia. For instance, it is reported that there are presently at least 14 foreign warships patrolling those seas, representing the navies of the United States, Russia, India, the United Kingdom, Denmark, France, Germany, Pakistan, Turkey, Italy and Greece, and it's expected that these will be augmented by more warships shortly. So there is already a presence in the region, though it hasn't necessarily prevented that many pirate incidents.

Assessing recent pirate incidents off the Horn of Africa

The above link as a good primer and easy read. It may help answer some of the questions you asked or may have.



posted on Apr, 10 2009 @ 04:35 PM
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Originally posted by The Godfather of Conspira
You can't hit a nail with a chainsaw for god's sakes.

As much as you fantasise about such Gestapo-inspired ideas, just trampling on entire nations to spite a few pirates, no military in the world, even the US would ever consider that.

It would also send the message that the US further doesn't give a crap about collateral damage and is only seeks to inflate it's own ego whenever it's threatened, be it by mice or men.

Its common knowledge that if you have a problem of bird crapping all over your cars and drive way, you build a bird feed and poison it.


When pirate shanty town are leveled, the whole incentive for piracy is moot. Without a home and family to return to or the safely to spend you ransom, piracy is pretty pointless and a costly occupation. Also, it's one hell of a show of force at a significantly lower cost than having destroyers burn fuel.

Also, this would educate them that they are not totally untouchable. Moreover, by spreading the world that death visit those who harbor pirates, more villages and towns will either kill any pirates who live there or chase them away to keep the majority safe.

Now, is not the time to be hesitant in our response.


Originally posted by The Godfather of Conspira

Also, for anybody who's even remotely aware of the Mogadishu situation, that OP went horribly wrong because of poor planning and poor intel.


Precisely why it'll go wrong AGAIN.

The US underestimated the Somali militias in 1993 and they'll do it once more if they get their feet stuck in the quicksand here.


What the US underestimated was not the militias skill or prowess but rather their support in Somalia. That is to say, that they underestimated them from a political standpoint not militarily.

Originally posted by The Godfather of Conspira
To end the piracy, effectively means intervention.
Right now, that ship has sailed. Pardon the pun.

You can't budge a single Naval asset from the Persian Gulf at the moment.

The US Navy NEEDS most of the Surface Fleet in the Persian Gulf currently.

You do realize that only the 5th Fleet is involved in the Persian gulf, not the whole US Navy.

They can easily pull more ships from either the Med or other ports East. But as I've said, more ships is not the answer at all. It is a reaction and a reaction is only defensive and ultimately defeating.

As you say, intervention is needed but not from the Navy but rather from the AirForce. A few C-130's with MOAB's would be enough to send the message.


Originally posted by The Godfather of Conspira
Logistical operations alone require the movement of a whopping 700 tons of cargo and 4,000 people to and from Iraq per week to keep Iraq well-oiled.

Not including of course the security and freighters requiring to move stuff in and out of Afghanistan (via Pakistan) just downstream and carrier assets for air cover and surveillance, destroyers to patrol Iranian territorial borders and NAVY Seal teams to demine the Gulf and fight insurgency operations at sea.

That is a gross over estimation of the actual operations involved.

Navy Seal teams arent demining the Gulf, the Navy does that and I think they might not be doing so anymore. Also, in Iraq with Operations winding down, more stuff is leaving Iraq than entering it. The threat of Naval engagement with Iran is also considerably lower and does not warrant the need of using destroyer patrols and such. Also, most air support sorties over Iraq are drones these days.

As for Iraq logistics, the biggest logistics arm of the US military is the US Army not the Navy. Add to this the fact that many many private contractors are taking care of most of the logistics operations including moving freight.


Originally posted by The Godfather of Conspira
It's consuming more Naval operational ability than you think.

Sending even a fleet of 10 Ticonderogas and 10 Arleigh Burkes into Somalian Waters to wander up and down looking for pirates wouldn't help a bit.

You can't chase around aluminium-hulled speed boats in destroyers


Maybe it is you that is imagining the Naval operations to be more than they really are.

It would be ridiculous to send 10 frigates and 10 destroyers to for mere patrols and nobody is suggesting that. If history is any lesson, it is clear that striking the Pirates port of home like Jefferson did with the Barnaby pirates is the way to go rather than all this meek approach of containment and policing. That kind of activity is best left to a coast guard, not a navy.



posted on Apr, 10 2009 @ 04:50 PM
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My Opinion

If you guys want to stop piracy from Somalia so much stop Yemen from importing khat to Somalia.

Khat is used by Somali Pirates and many other cultures to increase speed and alertness but it does have the side effect of being a blood thinner so if injured you won't stop bleeding.

I still don't care about the shippers and think that they should be taking the risks instead of sending military to protect their bottom line.

Don't go to a place that your likely to be kidnapped!! use some common sense people.

Thats my opinion



posted on Apr, 10 2009 @ 06:56 PM
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reply to post by Terapin
 


You are correct, ships are allowed to repel boarders but lethal force is not allowed until the situation as I described above.
Second line



posted on Apr, 10 2009 @ 07:09 PM
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One of the issue of using drones is that untill it attacks it might just be a fishing ship.

The only way is to establish a martime exclusion zone and escort convoys through the area using a multinational force.

Or maintain a NATO special ops unit that shuttles between ships transiting the area



posted on Apr, 10 2009 @ 10:56 PM
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Originally posted by FredT
The only way is to establish a martime exclusion zone and escort convoys through the area using a multinational force.


There already exists an Maritime Security Patrol Area (MSPA) in the Gulf of Aden, between Yemen and the north coast of Somalia. According to the piracy incident data for 2008, a significant number of piracy acts occurred in or near the MSPA. Therefore, one can arguably postulate that even with an established MSPA, it is not fully effective as a deterrent. More ships are required to increase effectiveness.

There is no MSPA established for the east coast of Somalia. Again, there are not enough multinational warships participating to allow for the creation of such.

All-in-all, estimates are that it would require [url=http://www.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=43830]60+ warships[/url[ to be even close to being deemed effective as a deterrence.



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