Wednesday, November 19, 2008

More on Piracy

Forbes' Jonathan Stevenson:
Given their range of targets, one might think that they are suicidally determined to antagonize as many major powers as possible, perhaps obscurely motivated by jihadism or nationalistic pride. But that would be wrong. Although 97% of Somalis are Sunni Muslim, they are traditionally secular and socially oriented more toward their extended family networks--their clans--than their state, which is in any case dysfunctional.

Prevailing ransom payments range from $500,000 to $2 million, up from only tens of thousands of dollars five years ago. While they may deal for profit with some Islamist militias, they're probably into piracy mainly for the money.
If money is the motivation, it is predictable how pirates will attack, those ships that likely carry the most significant cargo, worth as much money as possible with as small a crew as possible. The solution would be to make it not worth the personal risk to the pirates--arm the crews and hold them large free from liability if they harm or kill pirates.

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