Saturday, November 03, 2007

What We're Told and What We Can Guess

I saw an article the other day that I filed away to do some more research on. This morning I saw another news item with more of the same, so I figured I'd take a shot at it.

This was the original story that caught my eye. The Reuters report from Tuesday closes somewhat ambiguously:

Piracy off Somalia dropped briefly last year during a six-month period in which most of the south was ruled by a hardline Islamist movement. Incidents rose again since the sharia courts movement was toppled in Mogadishu at New Year.

One might first conclude that the sharia courts fell, and, whatever had been restraining the criminal element gone, all hell broke loose. But isn't it equally possible that the Islamist element, now marginalized, is raising revenue however they can? Couldn't Islamists have been the source of piracy all along? Once in power, this might not have been an effective use of time and resources. But now?

Back in August, the BBC ran this story on piracy in the area, and while not suggesting that these organizations are terrorist organizations noted that (emphasis mine):

Somali pirates are trained fighters, and often use speedboats equipped with satellite phones and Global Positioning System technology.

Trained where, the mind wonders. By whom?

Today brought another story on the topic. I was most interested in where this is happening: places like Kenya, Somalia, Nigeria, Indonesia. And of course, the article's reference to the Barbary Pirates.

While there is no open acknowledgment by the media on the nature of these groups, is history - not to mention geography and experience - enough to help us draw some conclusions?


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