Pirates and Islamists: Enemies or Allies?

21.11.08

Categorie: Africa, Naval, Piracy |

web_081117-n-1082z-040.jpg

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 is a suspicion, since some of the hijacked ships have moored of the southern coast of Somalia, which is largely controlled by [Islamic group] Al Shabab,” said Jana Shakarian. “If you have control over these parts of the country, you also control the ports — who’s getting in and who’s not. It nurtures suspicion of some kind of cooperation.”

But Al Shabab has promised to fight the pirates who this week seized a Saudi oil tanker carrying $100 million in crude.

I for one suspect wider Islamic control in Somalia will actually decrease piracy, as it did during the previous Islamic rule two years ago. Piracy thrives in the absence of law and order, and law and order happen to be exactly what Islamists are good at.

As for Shakarian’s suspicions: no one group yet has unchallenged, total control anywhere in Somalia. Everywhere the situation is fluid. So the presence of pirates at a given port is not evidence of collusion with the groups most likely to emerge as local leadership.

(Photo: U.S. Navy)

Related:
Somalis welcome Islamists’ return
Port fall might help piracy problem
Is secret sea lane working against pirates?
Puntland raids pirates
No easy solutions to piracy problem
What I learned from a Somali warlord
Secret sea lane for piracy protection
Peacekeepers, insurgents swap mortar fire
U.S. planes terrify Somalis
Somalia series
Ethiopians withdraw? Peace talks break down
Ship rescues Somalis
Who are Al Shabab?
Abducted journos’ vulnerability
Journos kidnapped!
Problems retrieving journos
Kidnapping: inside job?
Ransom pending?
Developments in kidnapping case
Ignored victims

|

17 Responses to “Pirates and Islamists: Enemies or Allies?”

  1. Om says:

    I agree with your conclusion – that the Islamists are very good at law and order, and if they manage to bring the entire country under their rule, I guarantee you piracy in Somalia will be a history. But I’m not holding my breath for that to happen because like in 2006, America’s great wisdom will lead us back to more chaos in Somalia in pursue of the ideologically-driven ‘war on terror’ crap that the Union of Islamic Courts are accused of and deposed just like in 2006. Somalia’s only hope is on the UIC, not warlords like Abdillahi Yusuf and his thugs.

  2. Hurm says:

    Islamist bring order to Somalia, hooray! Free stonings and female circumsicions for everyone.

  3. Gump says:

    For the record, more pirate attacks occurred off the coast of Yemen than Somalia.

  4. Om says:

    Hurm, Somalia has tried your wonderful Western liberal democracy for the past 2 yrs. and look where we are….I just love the daily death, rapes, and looting now going there compare to peace and stability where people give up some “civil liberties” in exchange for law & order as they had under the UIC. For the record, female circumcision is a cultural practice, which only shows your ethnocentric views rather than a concern for Somalis. As for your sarcastic ‘free stoning’ quip, at least get your facts in order before you expose you’re lack of knowledge of what is going on in Somalia.

  5. madtom says:

    True, but the fact that they can cash a $25 million check does seem to point to an organization of some kind behind the guys pointing the RPG’s. In direct control, or in a collusion of opportunity I don’t know.

    Hopefully you’ll go and find out. Just open the lens and close your eyes.

  6. .... says:

    History Channels: Shadow Force
    http://www.history.com/genericContent.do?id=60702

    While it’s not about an SF team. It is an interesting show, that highlights some of the craziness in African waters.

  7. [...] Related: Pirates and Islamists: Enemies or Allies? Somalis welcome Islamists’ return Port fall might help piracy problem Is secret sea lane working against pirates? Puntland raids pirates No easy solutions to piracy problem What I learned from a Somali warlord Secret sea lane for piracy protection Peacekeepers, insurgents swap mortar fire U.S. planes terrify Somalis Somalia series Ethiopians withdraw? Peace talks break down Ship rescues Somalis Who are Al Shabab? Abducted journos’ vulnerability Journos kidnapped! Problems retrieving journos Kidnapping: inside job? Ransom pending? Developments in kidnapping case Ignored victims No Comments so far Leave a comment RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI Leave a comment Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong> [...]

  8. [...] Related: Good news, bad news, in Islamists’ return Invading Somalia a bad idea Pirates and Islamists: Enemies or Allies? Somalis welcome Islamists’ return Port fall might help piracy problem Is secret sea lane working against pirates? Puntland raids pirates No easy solutions to piracy problem What I learned from a Somali warlord Secret sea lane for piracy protection Peacekeepers, insurgents swap mortar fire U.S. planes terrify Somalis Somalia series Ethiopians withdraw? Peace talks break down Ship rescues Somalis Who are Al Shabab? Abducted journos’ vulnerability Journos kidnapped! Problems retrieving journos Kidnapping: inside job? Ransom pending? Developments in kidnapping case Ignored victims No Comments so far Leave a comment RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI Leave a comment Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong> [...]

  9. [...] Related: Elders put squeeze on Somali pirates Good news, bad news, in Islamists’ return Invading Somalia a bad idea Pirates and Islamists: Enemies or Allies? Somalis welcome Islamists’ return Port fall might help piracy problem Is secret sea lane working against pirates? Puntland raids pirates No easy solutions to piracy problem What I learned from a Somali warlord Secret sea lane for piracy protection Peacekeepers, insurgents swap mortar fire U.S. planes terrify Somalis Somalia series Ethiopians withdraw? Peace talks break down Ship rescues Somalis Who are Al Shabab? 2 Comments so far Leave a comment [...]

  10. [...] Related: Islamists occupy Mogadishu police stations Fighting threatens Somalia food shipments Somali president out Don’t go to Somalia Americans join Somali insurgency Ethiopians change mind about withdrawal Kenyan fighters in Somalia Good news, bad news, in Islamists’ return Invading Somalia a bad idea Pirates and Islamists: enemies or allies? Somalis welcome Islamists’ return Port fall might help piracy problem Is secret sea lane working against pirates? Puntland raids pirates No easy solutions to piracy problem What I learned from a Somali warlord Secret sea lane for piracy protection Peacekeepers, insurgents swap mortar fire U.S. planes terrify Somalis Ethiopians withdraw? Peace talks break down Ship rescues Somalis Who are Al Shabab? No Comments so far Leave a comment RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI Leave a comment Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong> [...]

  11. [...] Related: Peacekeepers attacked Islamists occupy Mogadishu police stations Fighting threatens Somalia food shipments Somali president out Don’t go to Somalia Americans join Somali insurgency Ethiopians change mind about withdrawal Kenyan fighters in Somalia Good news, bad news, in Islamists’ return Invading Somalia a bad idea Pirates and Islamists: enemies or allies? Somalis welcome Islamists’ return Port fall might help piracy problem Is secret sea lane working against pirates? Puntland raids pirates No easy solutions to piracy problem What I learned from a Somali warlord Secret sea lane for piracy protection Peacekeepers, insurgents swap mortar fire U.S. planes terrify Somalis Ethiopians withdraw? Peace talks break down Ship rescues Somalis Who are Al Shabab? No Comments so far Leave a comment RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI Leave a comment Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong> [...]

  12. [...] Related: A.U. rescues Somali lawmakers Building a Somali coast guard? Somali government falls Peacekeepers attacked Islamists occupy Mogadishu police stations Fighting threatens Somalia food shipments Somali president out Don’t go to Somalia Americans join Somali insurgency Ethiopians change mind about withdrawal Kenyan fighters in Somalia Good news, bad news, in Islamists’ return Invading Somalia a bad idea Pirates and Islamists: enemies or allies? Somalis welcome Islamists’ return Port fall might help piracy problem Is secret sea lane working against pirates? Puntland raids pirates No easy solutions to piracy problem What I learned from a Somali warlord Secret sea lane for piracy protection Peacekeepers, insurgents swap mortar fire U.S. planes terrify Somalis Ethiopians withdraw? Peace talks break down Ship rescues Somalis Who are Al Shabab? 1 Comment so far Leave a comment [...]

  13. [...] Related: Fact vs. Fantasy in Somalia Verified: kidnapping an inside job Somali journo released Inside job rumors persist Hope for kidnapped journos Who are Al Shabab? Abducted journos’ vulnerability Journos kidnapped! Problems retrieving journos Kidnapping: inside job? Ransom pending? Developments in kidnapping case Ignored victims New prez = hope for Somalia A.U. rescues Somali lawmakers Building a Somali coast guard? Somali government falls Peacekeepers attacked Islamists occupy Mogadishu police stations Fighting threatens Somalia food shipments Somali president out Don’t go to Somalia Americans join Somali insurgency Ethiopians change mind about withdrawal Kenyan fighters in Somalia Good news, bad news, in Islamists’ return Invading Somalia a bad idea Pirates and Islamists: enemies or allies? Somalis welcome Islamists’ return Port fall might help piracy problem Is secret sea lane working against pirates? Puntland raids pirates No easy solutions to piracy problem What I learned from a Somali warlord Secret sea lane for piracy protection Peacekeepers, insurgents swap mortar fire U.S. planes terrify Somalis Ethiopians withdraw? Peace talks break down Ship rescues Somalis Who are Al Shabab? No Comments so far Leave a comment RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI Leave a comment Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong> [...]

  14. [...] It’s been a popular refrain in recent months: Somali pirates are Islamic terrorists, or at least friends of Islamic terrorists, funneling the ransoms they’re paid into the coffers of Al Qaeda and other terror groups. “It is a suspicion, since some of the hijacked ships have moored of the southern coast of Somalia, which is largely controlled by [Islamic group] Al Shabab,” said Jana Shakarian, a University of Maryland researcher. “If you have control over these parts of the country, you also control the ports — who’s getting in and who’s not. It nurtures suspicion of some kind of cooperation.” [...]

  15. [...] Shabab and pirates are separate, even conflicting, entities. Shabab even promised to fight pirates who last year seized a Saudi oil tanker carrying [...]

  16. […] for all their violence, pirates are not terrorists, despite the U.S. Navy’s occasional confusion. “At the moment, I still think […]

Leave a Reply