Pirates Have Stingers? Probably Not …

20.05.09

Categorie: Africa, Ballistic Missiles, David Axe, Kyle Mizokami, Naval, Piracy |

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by KYLE MIZOKAMI and DAVID AXE

The South Korean destroyer Munmu the Great has done excellent work in warding off attacks on merchant shipping by Somali pirates, even helping capture a few. The destroyer’s Lynx helicopters have played an important role in the vessel’s operations. Now, according to The Korean Times, Al Qaeda has given pirates Stinger missiles to shoot down these choppers.

If true — and that’s a big, big “if” — are these real, American-made Stinger missiles? Not likely. Washington sent Stingers to Afghanistan and Angola in the 1980s to shoot down Soviet-made aircraft. Not all the unused missiles were recovered, but any still in circulation are likely no longer an active threat, due to maintenance issues. The name “Stinger” is probably on the way to becoming a ubiquitous moniker for man-portable surface-to-air missiles, like “AK-47″ for Russian-style assault rifles or “Coke” for syrupy soft drinks.

There are earlier reports of “Stingers” in Somalia. In March 2007, SA-18 missiles were used to shoot down a Belorussian Il-76 cargo plane as it departed Mogadishu’s international airport, killing all 11 people on board. According to the Federation of American Scientists, the missiles were traced back to Eritrea. There are reports that the Islamic Courts Union, which was believed responsible for the airport attack, has received hundreds of SAMs that way.

But missiles from Al Qaeda? Unlikely. Today the Islamic Courts Union has split in half. The more moderate half has allied with the U.S.-backed “Transitional Federal Government” and now represents the legit, albeit weak, ruling regime in Mogadishu. The hard-line Al-Shabab armed wing forms the core of an Islamic insurgency and has publicly aligned itself with Al Qaeda. But neither the government nor Al Shabab is a friend of pirates, whose crimes are considered un-Islamic. Both parties have sworn to eliminate pirates. If Al Shabab is Al Qaeda’s front in Somalia, and Al Shabab hates pirates, how would pirates get access to Al-Qaeda weaponry. It doesn’t add up.

Also, Somali pirates, more interested in self-preservation and making money than being killed, have generally avoided confrontations with the anti-pirate armada. Shooting down a chopper would mean a big firefight that isn’t in profit-seeking pirates’ interest.

(Photo: via Daylife)

Related:
Ethiopians Re-Invade Somalia?
Ethiopian Prez: Somali Insurgents “Desperate”
Alleged American Jihadist in Somalia = CIA Drone?
Offiziere.ch: Fresh Fighting Deepens Somali Islamist Schism
Fighting Resumes in Mogadishu
Somali-American Jihadist Has “Change of Heart”
Islamists, New Somali President Sign Peace Deal
Somali Was First American Suicide Bomber
Fact vs. Fantasy in Somalia
Verified: kidnapping an inside job

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5 Responses to “Pirates Have Stingers? Probably Not …”

  1. [...] Related: Pirates Have Stingers? Probably Not … NATO Frigate’s Pirate Catch-and-Release Video: Navy, Coast Guard Grab Pirates NATO Back in the Pirate-Fighting Business Somali Insurgent’s Tips for Fighting Pirates Coast Guard Issues Counter-Piracy Rules A Negotiated End to Somali Piracy? Navy Prison Ship Dodges Pirate Revenge World Politics Review: Amateurish Foot Soldiers Belie Sophisticated Piracy Networks Piracy War’s Unusual Friends, Tragic 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> [...]

  2. ajay says:

    You know, it’s almost as though there are people who are willing to make up a lot of nonsense about Muslim countries with non-existent advanced weapons and non-existent links with Al Qaeda, in order to justify some sort of US intervention. Weird how that happens.

  3. fooman says:

    now lest we destined to repeat history again it was two of an estimated over 30 RPG’s that hit the blackhawks that put a pair of them down during that ill-fated (and planned) Ranger attack. I have seen more than one or two pics of RPG’s in Pirate boats, so that someone would take a shot (or two) at a helo wouldn’t surprise me at all. I do know that most British frigate heli’s have the door guns mounted. I will bet real money that the first smoke trail that the helo see gets an extreme reaction from the anti-pirate forces.
    Foo

  4. Onlso says:

    Piracy un-islamic? Remember that the Prophet was a caravan robber (a desert pirate).

  5. [...] Related: French Propose “Stupidity Tax” for Pirate Victims After Rain Break, Somali Piracy Set to Return Dilbert Does Somali Pirates Coast Guard: Secret Weapon in the War on Piracy Nigerian Crew Outwits Somali Pirates Sam Jackson to Portray Mysterious Kenyan Piracy Expert Somali Pirates Trained in the Soviet Union? You Betcha Pirates Have Stingers? Probably Not … NATO Frigate’s Pirate Catch-and-Release Video: Navy, Coast Guard Grab Pirates NATO Back in the Pirate-Fighting Business Somali Insurgent’s Tips for Fighting Pirates 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> [...]

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