Sec. State Clinton proclaims that we should go after Somali Pirates like they’re drug cartels, by freezing assets.
Clinton said the State Department will “explore ways to track and freeze pirate assets,” similar to measures used against drug traffickers and terrorists.
Noting that the pirates have been buying more sophisticated vessels with the ransom money they have been collecting, Clinton said it could be possible to stop boat-building companies from doing business with pirates.
“These pirates are criminals. They are armed gangs on the sea. And those plotting attacks must be stopped, and those who have carried them out must be brought to justice,” she told reporters after a meeting with Haitian Prime Minister Michele Duvivier Pierre-Louis.
Now, call me cynical, but I’m going to guess this is not going to work. Why?
a) Regardless of the number of emails I receive from various “African” sources asking for my assistance in moving $39,000,000,000 from their bank to mine, I’m pretty sure the National Bank of Somalia looks more like a goat trading farm than an actual BANK right now. And unless you’re going to ice down the livestock, good luck freezing any assets there.
b) Last I looked, the pirates weren’t necessarily BUYING boats, so much as stealing nice ones as they move up the piracy food ladder. That and I’m sure the companies that build boats don’t have a check-in-the-box for “Are you a pirate??” That’s like telling GM not to sell cars to drug dealers. How are they supposed to know who the hell is buying their product? And, to be honest, from the pics I’ve seen, they still aren’t rolling in Miami Vice cigarette boats, if you know what I mean.
Then there’s this little piece of contradiction…
Clinton said the United States also will seek to beef up the capacity of Somali’s fragile Transitional Federal Government by participating in a donor’s conference on Somalia next week in Brussels, Belgium. The State Department also will urge Somali officials and tribal leaders to take action against pirates operating from bases within their territory.
“We have a pretty good idea where the land bases are and we want to know what the Somali government, what tribal leaders who perhaps would not like to have the international community bearing down on them, would be willing to do to rid their territory of these pirate bases,” she said.
If it’s a fragile little government, do you think it’s capable of *doing* anything against pirates? And tribal leaders? Do you think they give a crap what the “international community” does? No, they just want to eat for goodness sakes.
I’m sorry if this is a rant, but this whole article speaks to our little understanding of the true problem in Somalia. It’s not piracy, it’s the lawlessness on shore that allows piracy to thrive out at sea.
It’s an idea that’s been spoken many times already by many military and civilian leaders. Until Somalia is stabilized and recognizes the rule of law, piracy will continue. Unfortunately, someone apparently forgot to put that idea into Sec. Clinton’s pre-brief.
They were probably busy trying to log into Somalia’s online banking system and wondering who forgot the tin cans with string tied to them.