Archive of Nov 2008

McClatchy: Kenyan Fighters in Somalia Insurgency

Kenyan men have been drawn into Somalia’s brutal insurgency, on the side of the hardline Al Shabab Islamic group. This according to McClatchy newspapers: With its porous border and large ethnic Somali population, Kenya has become a major conduit for money, weapons and fighters for the Somali insurgency, and a place where injured fighters sometimes [...]


World Politics Review: Good News, Bad News in Somali Islamists’ Return

Against the backdrop of starvation and warfare, there are signs that Somalia’s decline might soon turn around. At this point in Somalia’s tortured history, the country’s fortunes are tethered to its resurgent Islamist groups. In early November, one of southern Somalia’s major ports fell to an advancing Islamist army. The U.N. had been using the [...]


Video Tour of USS Freedom

[kml_flashembed movie="" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /] She’s 3,000 tons and 100,000 horsepower of high-speed, high-tech mission-module fun — and the future of the U.S. Navy as it retools to combat pirates, seaborne insurgents and natural disasters. Accompany Operations Officer Tony Hyde on a tour of the USS Freedom, the very first Littoral Combat Ship, as [...]


Two More Journalists Grabbed in Somalia

In August two freelance journalists were seized by gunmen in Mogadishu. They’re still missing. Now two more foreign reporters have been grabbed, this time in northern Somalia, which once was fairly safe. The Frontline Club blog has the details.

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The Washington Monthly: Coast Guard’s Sunk Costs

More than a decade ago, the Coast Guard came up with a plan, called Deepwater, to replace aging vessels like Dallas with new cutters, at a reasonable cost to taxpayers. But in the feverish aftermath of 9/11, with the Bush administration eager to turn all government departments into outposts of the war on terror, the [...]


Bad Idea of the Day: Invade Somalia to Defeat Pirates

Lasting solutions to the problem of piracy must play out on land, analysts say. But that doesn’t mean that the developed world should invade Somalia, as Russia has just proposed: Dmitry Rogozin, Russia’s envoy to NATO, said this week: “It’s up to the European Union, NATO and others to launch a coastal land operation to [...]


Islamists’ Advance: No Effect on U.N. Aid to Somalia

There were some alarmist headlines when Islamist fighters seized the strategic port of Merka in southern Somalia this month. “The threat the [Islamic Courts Union] posed in late 2006 has thus re-materialized: that Islamists will Talibanize Somalia and nurture a regional base for jihadism that exports insecurity and instability,” one heavy-breathing reporter claimed. But Islamic [...]


Pirates and Islamists: Enemies or Allies?

What, if any, is the connection between the thousands of pirates (pictured) operating from southern Somalia, and the Islamic groups that control a growing swath of the country? One University of Maryland researcher said the Islamists appear, in some cases, to support the pirates — but told me today that it’s not clear why. “It [...]


GOOD TV: Somali Pirates 101

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Columbia City Paper: What I Learned from a Warlord

“I am not the sort of person who trusts guns,” Ali Dere said, straight-faced, during our second interview. What he meant, he said, was that he never had personal body guards and never carried his own weapon. On the plus side, going unarmed meant he was “free and can go to anywhere … you can [...]

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The Washington Independent: A $50-Billion Warship Mystery

There was tension in the House of Representatives hearing room July 31 as Rep. Gene Taylor (D-Miss.) called to order a meeting of the Seapower and Expeditionary Forces subcommittee. “This may very well be the most important hearing this subcommittee has held since our hearing last January on the procurement of Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected vehicles,” Taylor [...]


MRAPs on Ships = Tight Squeeze

For the Marines, a big lesson from Iraq has been the need for more armor to counter powerful roadside bombs. Problem is, the Marines are traditionally a ship-borne force, traveling in three-ship groups comprising a big-deck assault ship plus two smaller “landing ship docks” (LSDs) or “landing platform docks” (LPDs). To survive in Iraq, the [...]