The Unofficial Coast Guard Blog made a great catch, pointing out a new study from the Council on Foreign Relations proposing an internationally funded coast guard for Somalia, aimed at deterring piracy, pictured:
Chatham House’s [analyst Roger] Middleton recommends creating an internationally administered coast guard for Somalia, run by the African Union or the United Nations. … Such a project would present tremendous challenges, however, from finding qualified individuals within Somalia to determining when and how to hand over such a body to the Somalian government. [Analyst Martin] Murphy suggests the coast guard could be funded by the shipping industry “under U.N. mandate as a more honorable cost of doing business than ransom.”
It’s been my experience that anyone who uses the modifier “Somalian,” as opposed to “Somali,” has never talked to an actual Somali or been anywhere near Somalia, and therefore is in no position to propose anything for the troubled East African country.
Still, CFR and its analysts have a point: a capable coast guard indeed would be a lasting solution to the piracy problem. But coast guards are high-order functions of stable states. As of Monday, south and central Somalia doesn’t even have a government, much less any law enforcement agencies. The country has gotten less stable since the U.S.-Ethiopian invasion two years ago.
You can talk about coast guards all day long, but at this point the only thing that can begin to solve Somalia’s problems, piracy included, is political reconciliation on land. To that end, the U.S. and Ethiopia must embrace Somalia’s emerging hardline Islamic regime, encourage that regime to open up ties to the outside world, and be prepared to provide significant aid to slowly elevate the regime to the level of a truly functional government.
Somali government falls
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
Peace talks break down
Ship rescues Somalis
Who are Al Shabab?